Removable yoke - mahogany stain?

Bo Saxbe

Curious about Wooden Canoes
Many thanks to Jim Clearwater for the idea.

I will be solo portaging my new boat and was distressed about no center thwart. I really didn't want to drill any new holes. Pleased with the way it turned out.

I was able to find some Philippino mahogany at my favorite lumber store. It's got good grain but I'm pretty sure it'll be very different looking from the reddish Honduran wood if I just varnish it. Anyone tried to color match a stain to the old Old Town AA grade trim?

It doesn't necessarily have to match. Perhaps making it obviously different is better - so it doesn't look like I tried to match it and failed...

I'll probably glue a little felt to the contact surfaces after I've gotten the wood finished to protect the gunnels.

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Your helper builds a mean thwart!

Make sure your thwart is heavily sanded and finished. I always seem to get a good splinter when working with various types of philippine mahogany. The mahogany on your canoe is likely honduran, although OT did use philippine mahoganies especially in later years.

It is common to use filler stains on mahogany to fill and even the grain out. There are all kinds on the market. Here is one example.

Enjoy your canoe.

I don't have an answer for you, but I thoroughly enjoyed going through your pictures. Great boat, great truck, and super cute kid!

The yoke looks fantastic as well.

Why did you put the yoke under the rails? With that location, the weight of the canoe is hanging on those 2 screws, and with the clamp is cantilevered out over the rails, it creates a bending moment in the screws. Not good for load transfer.

Also, if you are actually going to portage the canoe, make sure you have some spring in that yoke or your shoulders will be unhappy.
If it's just for getting the canoe to the water it won't matter.
Attached is a picture of the yoke I made. It's made to be removable and used on a variety of canoes of different width. It's intended to mount on top of the gunwales and the clips/clamps moved underneath. I used bronze tailnuts so the clamps can be tightened down hard. If the yoke were to slip while carrying the canoe all manner of things would happen, none good. Bo, your yoke looks nice and ought to work but I have to agree with Dan that I would turn it over. You'll have to give it a try and see how it works. You might try Minwax English Chestnut stain. Try it on scrap first. Good luck.

Thanks guys, good advice. I had noticed a fair bit of 'hair' even after a good 220 sanding. I've never used a fill stain but will look it up.

There isn't much spring in the yoke, I guess I'm nervous about it snapping, but I could certainly thin it some. I would be taking it further than just my car to the water. It felt okay just circling the yard but I could see getting pretty sore after a while.

Pretty easy to flip the whole assembly too - I'd just need to shorten the clamps a little. Makes sense that the weight transfers onto the solid piece. I guess I was just channeling thwart more than yoke as I made it. I've got brass wingnuts currently. They seem pretty solid and easy to finger tighten/loosen.
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I went shopping for filler stain but no where nearby carries any. Had to order a pint online. I'll let you know how it looks after it arrives.

I was able to take everyone's sage advice and rotate the assembly. A smart thing to do - thanks fellas. It's still fairly stiff, but no more so than I remember from some of my Keewaydin wilderness trips. I imagine that I'll whip up a tump if I was going more than a mile. I got it up on my shoulders and marched around a bit. Was even able to take my hands off the gunnels while walking and snap a selfie.

I made a little keyhole in the clamps to fit around the central rib. It looks really loose in the picture, but that's because the rib is really curving in at the top. It fits in nicely just under the inwhale. Probably not necessary as there's no detectable play in the yoke when it's screwed down.