Merrimack gunwales

Jim Allenspach

Curious about Wooden Canoes
I'm rehabing a 16' Merrimack and am unsure about the wood in the gunwales. The web site says they use cherry for the decks and gunwales. I agree on the decks. Badly oxidized but sound and cleaned up nicely. But the gunwales seems too light to be cherry. I sanded a chunk...dry-rotted so they mostly fell off...and the wood underneath is pink. Can cherry have so much dry-rot that it feels light, like Doug fir? The decks curved in a nice arc, not like the current grip-style.