PLEASE HELP! 18 foot wood freighter canoe restoration newbie

Heff

Curious about Wooden Canoes
hey guys I just bought this 18 foot wood boat but I have lots of questions that I hope some of you can help me out with.
the gunwales need replacing, which it came with the new gunwales, and all the brass hardware to do so.
the guy told me it has fiberglass on it but I don't see the fiberglass fibers at all, I just see the wood and maybe its just epoxy over the wood?
also, does this wood look like it is large cedar planks or is it another type of wood used?
any comments would be appreciated thank you!
 

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It's been a few days since you posted....ideally someone that uses/works on these types of boats might respond but pending that, a few observations that are hopefully correct;
Most all boats of this type are planked in cedar...it would be odd to find one that was not. Assume that your boat is planked in white cedar.
It is very rare for someone to apply resin directly to the wood without cloth...the cloth provides strength and abrasion resistance that is necessary in a working boat such as yours. It is very hard to see in the photos that you provided, but it appears (to my eye) that there is cloth on the hull. It should be easy to see if you look at a place where there are planking joints, like the gore. If there is cloth the resin will be supported over the joints. If there isn't then the resin should be soaked into the gaps and not standing proud... If you could take a close up picture it would be easier to see..... keep in mind that the cloth becomes somewhat clear when it is filled with resin.
You don't mention what your plans are....are you planning to remove the resin?cloth and canvas or are you planning to paint etc?
Rails always rot out on this type of boat..it's common repair.... they should be easy to replace.
 
It's been a few days since you posted....ideally someone that uses/works on these types of boats might respond but pending that, a few observations that are hopefully correct;
Most all boats of this type are planked in cedar...it would be odd to find one that was not. Assume that your boat is planked in white cedar.
It is very rare for someone to apply resin directly to the wood without cloth...the cloth provides strength and abrasion resistance that is necessary in a working boat such as yours. It is very hard to see in the photos that you provided, but it appears (to my eye) that there is cloth on the hull. It should be easy to see if you look at a place where there are planking joints, like the gore. If there is cloth the resin will be supported over the joints. If there isn't then the resin should be soaked into the gaps and not standing proud... If you could take a close up picture it would be easier to see..... keep in mind that the cloth becomes somewhat clear when it is filled with resin.
You don't mention what your plans are....are you planning to remove the resin?cloth and canvas or are you planning to paint etc?
Rails always rot out on this type of boat..it's common repair.... they should be easy to replace.


thank you MGC for your reply!
sorry it took me so long to reply, I didn't have the boat at my house so It took me awhile to take the close up pictures.
I am planning to restore the boat and get a lot of great years fishing in the Canadian rockies! Here in Jasper national park in Canada we are not aloud to use gas motors, we are only aloud electric trolling motors, and some of our lakes are big and deep, Maligne lake is 22km long, a kilometer wide and 215 feet deep. This type of boat can handle all the conditions the big water will throw at us and i cant wait to get it in the water! I am going to redo the gunnels, when I purchased the boat the previous owner had already bought and cut the wood to replace them. he managed to find a solid plank of white pine , and he has already cut the inwales and outwales, I just need to install them with the brass hardware he also supplied. I am a little hesitant because I cant find much information on people using white pine for this application, I read a lot of people using ash.
There appears to be some cracks in the fiberglass, I'm not sure if this means it should all be removed completely and then I put a couple of new sheets of fiberglass on the hull . any advice would be appreciated!
 

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Heff, thanks for a follow-up post.
Your boat does have cloth on it...that is as expected. The cracks are not significant...don't worry about them.
It looks like someone may have applied varnish over the resin on the boat. That is what appears to be peeling. You can carefully sand the hull and reaply varnish if your plan is to keep fiberglass on it. Presumably you will not attempt to remove the glass and canvas it? These boats tend to be built with glass..a canvassed hull is far less likely.
WRT to using pine for the rails....no...for the effort required to replace them it is time well spent to source and use a more appropriate material. Ash or spruce would be better...be sure to seal and varnish before installation.
If pine was used in the original build (or a subsequent repair) that might explain the heavy rot. These boats are prone to rot outside rails....the inside rails don't normally fail as badly.
 
Heff, thanks for a follow-up post.
Your boat does have cloth on it...that is as expected. The cracks are not significant...don't worry about them.
It looks like someone may have applied varnish over the resin on the boat. That is what appears to be peeling. You can carefully sand the hull and reaply varnish if your plan is to keep fiberglass on it. Presumably you will not attempt to remove the glass and canvas it? These boats tend to be built with glass..a canvassed hull is far less likely.
WRT to using pine for the rails....no...for the effort required to replace them it is time well spent to source and use a more appropriate material. Ash or spruce would be better...be sure to seal and varnish before installation.
If pine was used in the original build (or a subsequent repair) that might explain the heavy rot. These boats are prone to rot outside rails....the inside rails don't normally fail as badly.

thank you for your response again MGC.
question, what is the advantage of putting varnish over glass/epoxy? the plan is to keep it as a wood/fiberglass boat, and I will take the old glass off and put new glass on if need be. I will not be putting vanvas on it
the previous owner used drywall screws for the hardware to fasten the gunnels , so that is why there is some heavy rot. there is some wear and tear where the gas tank was, the black on the inside of the boat is a truck bed liner, and the gas ate away at it a bit, I wonder what I should do there.
 

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There's no advantage to putting varnish on it other than that it will offer some UV protection and look better.
Unless there are some really bad sections that you haven't posted pictures of the glass ought to be fine as is.
WRT to canvas...you posted under maintenance/construction/wood and canvas..that's why I was asking about your plans... sometimes folks want to remove the glass.
Dry wall screws and pine....... yup.
You might try TSP.......
 
The "advantage" of varnishing over the fiberglass is that it will prevent the sun's UV rays FROM DESTROYING THE FIBERGLASS - which can begin to happen in as little as 200 hours of exposure, which isn't really very much time. The primary criteria for selecting the varnish is its content of UV blockers - some have a lot more than others and you want as much as you can get. It will also need to be refreshed from time to time with a new coat of varnish because the UV absorbers get worn out or used up as they do their job.

Painting the hull would be an even better option by a longshot. It's really not great looking, clean wood or a planking pattern designed to be on display, so it really doesn't call for a clear finish. More importantly, paint stops UV at the surface. It may eventually chalk a bit but the fiberglass resin under the paint will be protected from UV deterioration for the duration.

If you did decide to strip and re-cover it (and don't underestimate the amount of hard work needed to do that) you would probably be better off putting canvas back on than trying to re-fiberglass it. Fiberglassing the outside of a rib and plank canoe and doing it well is a pretty tricky job, not well suited to those who don't already have some pretty serious fiberglassing experience.
 
The "advantage" of varnishing over the fiberglass is that it will prevent the sun's UV rays FROM DESTROYING THE FIBERGLASS - which can begin to happen in as little as 200 hours of exposure, which isn't really very much time. The primary criteria for selecting the varnish is its content of UV blockers - some have a lot more than others and you want as much as you can get. It will also need to be refreshed from time to time with a new coat of varnish because the UV absorbers get worn out or used up as they do their job.

Painting the hull would be an even better option by a longshot. It's really not great looking, clean wood or a planking pattern designed to be on display, so it really doesn't call for a clear finish. More importantly, paint stops UV at the surface. It may eventually chalk a bit but the fiberglass resin under the paint will be protected from UV deterioration for the duration.

If you did decide to strip and re-cover it (and don't underestimate the amount of hard work needed to do that) you would probably be better off putting canvas back on than trying to re-fiberglass it. Fiberglassing the outside of a rib and plank canoe and doing it well is a pretty tricky job, not well suited to those who don't already have some pretty serious fiberglassing experience.




hey thanks Todd for your reply. all the fiberglass work ive done on boats I have been painted afterwards so I have never used varnish, that definitely makes sense!
I live in Canada , why is it so damn hard to find paint for below the waterline?

I have found interlux Brightside polyurethane paint , but I believe its supposed to be used above the waterline. also, I would LOVE to paint this boat orange on the hull , and paint the splash rails, gunnels and inside the boat dark grey.
the interlux Brightside is fairly limited on color choice, however, they do have a yellow, and a red, if mixed that obviously would make orange, could I just buy both of them and mix to make my own orange?
 
Brightside, Easypoxy, Kirby's enamels, Rustoleum Marine paint and most of the hardware store floor enamels will work fine for typical canoe day tripping. It is when you leave the boat in the water 24/7 for several days that you can sometimes run into nasty paint peeling problems. It doesn't happen all the time, but extended immersion for these topside enamels is pretty risky.

I have mixed different shades of Brightside twice. The first was mixing their dark green with some black to get a darker "Loon's Head Green". It worked very well. I can't remember what color I was shooting for the second time, but mixing some yellow and green I got a perfectly awful, light pea green. I still have it somewhere in the garage because it never made it to the boat. Moral of story: Mix small batches for testing and keep track of the ratios to avoid owning very expensive cans full of ugly paint.

The last two canoes I painted used hardware store floor enamels. My Guide got Ace Hardware polyurethane floor enamel mixed in a custom light-ish yellow. I'm not a huge yellow canoe fan, but yellow really makes the wood look warm and nice. I rolled and tipped the paint. It has a bit more orange peel texture than Brightside would, but it is very even and not bad. It cost about 25% of what a can of Brightside would have and I had hundreds of custom colors to choose from.

guide2-a01.jpg


The base coats of my big "birchbark" stripper North Canoe are Home Depot "Epoxy Garage Floor Enamel" also a custom color (actually two) and rolled and tipped. It's hard and went on very smoothly. It then got some highlights sprayed on it and the little grain lines rolled on with a different shade of the same paint. Then it got a sprayed satin clearcoat and the pitch lines are stiff black calk, applied with a chisel-shaped stick.

lau3_zpstuxoqg4d.jpg


Considering that the floor enamels are often drastically cheaper, similarly tough and available in lots of custom shades I have no problems justifying them as topside paints. If I do intend on leaving boats in the water for long periods, they get normal marine antifouling paint below the waterline.
 
Here's a Grand Laker I just put new glass on and a new transom in. I don't enjoy working with glass but it wasn't to bad. Took the old glass of with a heat gun and then lots of sanding . Overlapped the bottom. It got a new keel and outwales out of ash. It got primed and painted in green. If the old glass is on there good just sand. Or you could always put one layer of 6 oz. cloth over it. 028.JPG 028.JPG 027.JPG
 
Those are 2 great looking boats Todd! the Yellow really does make the wood very warm. great job.
I will be using this boat for fishing/camping trips, and the boat could potentially be in the water for 4 days once a year, with lots of day trips. in your opinion, is that to long of a time for the boat to be in the water for using a floor enamel or the topside paint?
 
Here's a Grand Laker I just put new glass on and a new transom in. I don't enjoy working with glass but it wasn't to bad. Took the old glass of with a heat gun and then lots of sanding . Overlapped the bottom. It got a new keel and outwales out of ash. It got primed and painted in green. If the old glass is on there good just sand. Or you could always put one layer of 6 oz. cloth over it. View attachment 37137 View attachment 37137 View attachment 37138

thanks David Satter, nice grand laker!
question for ya, the orange boat in your profile photo, did you paint it? what paint was used? that's EXACTLY what color id like to paint the hull.
 
"....the boat could potentially be in the water for 4 days once a year, with lots of day trips. in your opinion, is that to long of a time for the boat to be in the water for using a floor enamel or the topside paint?"
It's impossible to predict, but there is one way to find out, I suppose. Given any possible option to get it out of the water at night or when not in use though, I would take advantage of it if I could.
 
thanks David for the information about the paint.

Todd, haha ya I guess there is one way to find out! haha but ya the boat is pretty darn heavy so pulling it up on shore out of the water by myself is definitely out of the question.
I am still looking to try and find where the heck I even go about getting a plank of ash, and what the cost would be, I went to homehardware (that's the only lumber yard we have in our very small town) and they don't carry it.
 
In Maine folks will run the boat up on a log or a piece of plank to get it partly out of the water. I've seen guys that carry a plank in the boat. They also will carry a couple boulders to trim it when they run empty solo.
The log and boulder are usually left behind at campsites used by folks that fish/camp with these boats.
Spruce would also be a better choice than pine..
 
hey guys heres a question for ya. I am going to scrap the pine, and I'm ordering in ash. the dimensions that I can get it are 2x4 and 10 feet in length. its $85 a piece. so heres my dilemma: my inwales are an inch wide by an inch I believe, cant remember off the top of my head, and my outwales are 3/4 of an inch thick by 1 1/2 inches , so if I stick with those dimensions, I would have to order another $85 piece of wood. however , if I make the outwales 3/4 inch by an inch, I could do all the inwales and outwales with the one board. do you think that would be ok?
 
ahh I wish! I live in jasper , alberta , Canada, and that is what my local hardware store quoted me, $8.77 a per foot of the 2x4.
 
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