Peterborough Leaker


New Member
My wife's family has a cottage on Georgian Bay, and many years ago, 1970's, a pulled an old Peterborough Cedar Strip Canoe/Row Boat from under the cottage. It needed repairs like a few ribs replaced and the forward keel replaced. I have stripped and varnished the boat twice. It still has a Peterborough decal on it and research as I recall indicated the boat was built in the 20's or 30's. The boat rows very nice but even after days sitting in the water and swelling it always brings in so much water in a half hour row that it no longer gets used due to the volume of water you wind up rowing around the bay. I have read a few clips on the poor idea that it is to fiberglass/epoxy the bottom, and I assume this comes from the "purests". I will never sell the boat nor will I dump big dollars into to it for a "professional" repair. Can anyone tell me a true down side to fiberglassing this boat, other than keeping it's originality. In my minds eye the boat would be both usable and beautiful if this is done, where as now it sits in a barn at home taking up space.
Regards C

EEKS! What a can of worms you are opening. It isn't really a matter of being a purist though. Glassing one side of a wooden canoe leads to rot issues. What I would do is take the keel off, rebed the keel and stems, rebed the screws with a good bedding compound, and hit all the planking seams with thickened varnish. I am a self admitted traditionalist when it comes to coverings (Canvas or varnish).

If you do a search for "Fiberglassing" or somesuch, as well as "Thickened Varnish", you'll get a few threads to view.

My .02 worth.

PS. If it is a Peterborough rowing skiff like a Burleigh falls, I'd kill for one. Don't glass it!
Thanks, I will do the research. Rebedding keels and such sounds like a lot of work.....thickened varnish,,,,,, Maybe.......

I don't think this is a skiff,,,,,but don;t know for sure,,,,,,,My friend has since passed away,,,,but he had an old catalog and this I believe was listed as a canoe,,,,,but it has two sets of oar locks in the gunales sp?,,,,,,, and fairly long and a wide beam.....
If you can post pictures, you'll get dozens of eyes looking at what you have and may get that many opinions to choose from too.

Scroll down to "manage attachments" and you'll get a browse-box for uploading pictures.


Another thing to ponder--You can do it as you wish BUT, the 'glass won't be compatible with the wood as the wood is not fully encased and it will move and swell and the 'glass will then split and will leak and you're in the same boat as before, except that it will be quite a bit heavier. pun intended.

regards, Dave.
Varnishing Inside as well as outside will help to stop
the leaking. But resetting the keel and stems is very
good luck, Dave
Thanks for all the response......I will post some photos of the Peterborough when I can get out to the shop.

The Thread about swelling wood incompatible with the glass causing cracks and separation makes sense..

I have varnished inside and out, many coats, the results are beautiful but the leaking never has stopped.......

I do not understand the reset keel thing and what that would do to help the problem. The keel and and where it mates to the cedar strips, ribs, etc. looks tight, solid and most importantly waterproof.........the boat leaks visibly from between the cedar strips.....the beam of the boat is so wide that floor flexes and is not rigid, so I would think thickened varish in the cracks would be brittle and not adhere and stay in place........

How about canvas and paint on the bottom to a couple inches above the water line??? Something flexible yet waterproof...

thanks for the help
Well I'm on Georgian Bay and all repairs or restructures to a Peterborough need not be expensive. The choice is yours but an experianced eye can save you a lot of trouble and expense.
John, Prop., Lost in the Woods Boatworks, Nobel Ontario.