Plank repair - What's the consensus?


Curious about Wooden Canoes
Howdy folks!

Long time no speak.

I've got another project on the go. A 16 foot Chestnut... something. But that's another story.

My question has to do with plank repairs. I have some that are broken on the ends. Previous owner loaned it to his son who "knew what he was doing." The Southwest Miramichi knew more it seems! A shame too since it had been stored inside, properly for most of it's life and "had seen water only a dozen times or so." Judging from the lack of rot (NONE!) I'd tend to agree. Just the mechanical trauma. But I digress.

It seems like a shame to replace all six or seven feet of plank with a new one for six inches of damage. On the other hand, I don't want to put a bunch of "patchwork planks" in.

What's the general idea? Do you replace the whole plank in this case, cut it back a reasonable amount ( a couple feet or so) or just "patchwork" it.

By the way, the canoe will NOT be a "factory restoration" but a floater. I have crazy ideas of using it for some river tripping. Of course my canoe buddies already think I'm nuts anyway for not owning a Tupperware boat, especially when I show up with the 18 foot Ogilvy Dave! Oh, and when I stand to pole it as well... Actually I'm considered insane anyway so...

Cheers all!

Hi Craig,

This is a good question.

I suspect that answer will be "it depends".

I like to retain as much old planking as possible, as do many others, on the other hand, I also am not fond of short pieces either.

So each piece will become a judgement on your part as to how much plank to replace, which is no help to you in deciding, but on the other hand, you only have to keep yourself happy. :)

If it was me, I'd bias the decisions to keep the old planking if it is in good to fair condition, and try to find natural places to make the 'breaks".

Also, don't be afraid to just replace a very small piece of the planking, ie, if there is say a clean punchure in a section, just cut out a piece as wide as the hole and from 1 rib to the next. If you can save some of the old planking for reuse in places like this, this repair can be almost invisable.

I am in the same camp as Dan on this. I try to retain as much of the originial as possible. Short pieces of planking to replace a puncture are fine. If the old plank is mearly split lengthwise I just add some more tacks each side of the split and keep it. If the plank is a little cupped lay a hot wet towel over it for a few minutes and add some tacks to smooth it out. If it's badly cupped you might have to replace that section. Every plank is a separate decision. Good luck, have fun.

Jim C.