Penn Yan Rainbow Canoe Restoration

Randy Hunt

Curious about Wooden Canoes
Hello, I am new to the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association, but in two short months I have new friend, Dave Wermuth and we are half way through my Penn Yan Rainbow canoe restoration. Attached is a link to the Picasa web site that I am trying to keep updated on the progress of our restoration.

My canoe (RCS 264) has been in my family for 50 years. My dad, brother and I canoed two 3 day trips down the Ausauble River in upper Michigan. Several trips down the Rifle River and even a disastrous trip down the Clinton River where the canoe got away from me and I chased it down the river bank for about a mile and a half before I found it lodged under a sunken tree. The canoe was a community canoe that was in desperate need of repair. My Dad took the canoe home removed the canvas and fiberglassed it. He had to fiberglassed it again after the mishap on the Clinton River. The canoe hung in my garage for 20+ years until this last fall when I sold my house and was forced to do something with it. It was always my goal to restore the canoe once I retired, which I now am. I am not new to wooden boats. I have restored my 19’ Lyman twice over the last 20 years but canoe restoration is nothing like restoring a lapstrake runabout.

First I need to mention that I could not have even attempted this project without the help of Dave Wermuth. I was ready to scrap the canoe but Dave's love of the canoe restoration process pulled me through. Dave encouraged me to continue with the project after I had removed the fiberglass and found 11 broken ribs, rotten stems and deck tips and planking that came off with the glass removal. Dave is a true craftsman of the trade but doesn’t give himself enough credit.

We are currently waiting for the canvas to arrive so we can continue with the process. I will keep you posted on our progress.

Thank you WCHA Forum for hooking me up with Dave and making this restoration possible.

Here is the link to the photos:
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Looking Beautiful!

Hi Randy--

Great story... more than just a canoe restoration, it's about memories of family fun, and of new friends... you should consider writing the story for Wooden Canoe, once you've paddled the Rainbow again!

Hi Randy,

Very nice, you are making great progress under Dave's guidance.
And the canoe is looking very nice.


It is coming along nicely with no big surprises other than the number of broken ribs. We are using Bill Clements filler as soon as the canvas arrives. It has been fun. Now I am inspired to get to the old Old Town HW, but it will be a big project.
Update on Penn Yan Rainbow Canoe Restoration

The restoration of my Penn Yann Rainbow Canoe is really moving along. The canvas is on and the filler has been applied. We are now on hold until the filler cures. According to Dave, 3 to 4 weeks based on weather. I can't wait to add the primer and paint. Thanks again Dave for all you help. Please review my updated picture album of our progress.
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Penn Yann Rainbow canoe restoration

The waiting for the filler to cure is over and we are making great progress. We have applied two coats of primer and two coats of "lobster buoy blue" to the canvas. We are thinking one or two more coats, then we will be ready to put the keel and stem bands on. Thanks again to Dave for all his help with this project. I couldn't of done it without him. I have new pictures of our progress, please review my updated picture album of our progress.
This is my 3rd installment on the restoration of my Penn Yan Rainbow. In my first narrative I stated that the canoe was a community canoe. I have since learned from my older brother that my Dad just outright stole it from a small lake that we had relatives living on. Anyway the restoration is almost done!!! Dave is on vacation (again??) visiting his daughter in Florida. I think more fishing than visiting!! Since my last update, I brought the canoe home while Dave is on vacation. I sanded the third coat and painted the 4th coat (all by myself!) and it looks like it may need a 5th coat. I will be sanding and varnishing the inside while Dave is gone. Next steps are to cane the seats and take the canoe back to Dave’s to add the stem bands. I will be updating the forum once again when we have completed the restoration.

Please review ouir updated picture album of our progress.
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Great stuff ...wonderful boat and the color is drop dead gorgeous, thanks for taking the trouble to document your work so well.

Nice work Randy. I have wi fi here for a minute while waitning for the crude oil to hit the beach. Might alter my fly fishing in the ocean. When is the varnish going on? Waiting here for more photos. How's the keel comiing along? I think Fred and Dan need credit for their input/encouragement/advice. Don't take time off just because I'm in florida.
Hey Randy,

Very nice! I realy like the blue too.
That's one sweet canoe and you are doing a great job.
Just be sure to get her back on the water and not just sit in your garage as you admire her. :) (like I do)

And Dave, I need to get back up to check out your new project, looks fun.


I guess you mean the IG. Should be a challenge. I may have a line on long clear Cherry. I'll be home mid May. Waiting for the oil to wash ashore here in Navarre Beach at the moment. The fly fishing has been good. The wind made it possible to roll cast 50-60 feet. Now that the wind has died down the rain is falling.

All things in life are good- to-go with the wind at one's back, no ? ....especially with the big swirls just out of reach ! Dave
Dave and Randy,

I'm flattered that you included me in the photos of your restoration. And it was a real treat to meet you both. I always learn something when i visit other builders.
Your canoe looks awesome, and I'm sure you will get lots of "kudos".
The neat thing about it is that you did it , and only you can appreciate the true reward. Be proud of yourself.

See Ya around the bend, Fred
Penn Yan Restoration Update

This is my 4th installment on the restoration of my Penn Yan Rainbow. The final coat of blue (5 coats) has been applied. I may apply more coats later when I have more time. My next steps are to finish sanding the interior, gunwals, seats and thwarts and new keel. I will then seal and varnish these pieces. Then I will return the canoe to Dave's for his help installing the stem bands. Again I want to thank Dave Wurmuth for his guiding me through this process. It it wasn't for Dave's encouragment, this canoe would of been put out for junk. Thanks Dave.

Please review my new pictures at: