One Option for rebuilding the midsection of a damaged canoe

Steve Ambrose

Nut in a Canoe
Thought I'd share a solution I came up with when faced with a badly deformed Otca. Prior repairs to substantial damage in the middle of this particular canoe left me with little to use. The normal method of replacing every other rib to maintain hull shape wouldn't work since the replacement ribs had pushed the hull so far away from its original lines. I braced the bottom with battens and started bending in new ribs. Predictably they weren't cooperating well at the turn of the hull so I radiused the edges of some additional battens and tied/clamped two pairs along each side to sandwich everything into line. Narrow strips of planking scrap were used on the outside battens to keep everything lined up correctly. Once everything was tight and in place I covered the turns with towels and repeatedly soaked them with boiling water over a 30-45 minute period and left the wet towels in place over night. I removed the towels the next morning and will leave the boat in its cast for a week to help set the shape. Next week I'll plank the boat and then replace the few remaining bad ribs in the conventional manner. I doubt she'll be perfect but at least her lumpy midsection will be fair again! Using another Otca as a form would have certainly been easier but I didn't have access to one.


  • 1202_ribs_005.jpg
    214.5 KB · Views: 273
  • 1202_ribs_004.jpg
    188.3 KB · Views: 256
  • 1202_ribs_006.jpg
    245.1 KB · Views: 259