Remove decks before stripping?


Trout Bum
Hi All,

I'm planning to replace the decks on a 16' OT I'm stripping tomorrow anyway, should I take them out now to enhance access to the stern and bow?

I was also planning to take the thwarts off after I wrap some plastic rope (saran-wrap like strapping) around the boat in a couple places. Out wale is off, keel is off.

Sound like a plan or a problem?



Ref.: wraps where thwarts are...

Perhaps others will differ, but I find that there's no need to put in the wraps to maintain shape while finishing, etc. the canoe. Less stuff in the way of the work.

When you're ready to reinstall the thwarts, just use a cargo strap with ratchet to bring the hull back to its original shape. The twarts will control where to tighten to and the rest will follow.

Were you installing new thwarts, just make sure to take a good measurement before removing the old ones and bring in the gunwales to that dimension with the strap.
Only caveat to Frank's advice is on a boat that has a lot of tumblehome. Using straps to coax it to shape tends to want to round the profile. You can use wooden blocks to add more pressure to the tops, or bar clamps across the shear line to put pressure where it belongs.
Hi Brian,

I usually replace the thwarts with pieces of strapping attached with sheet rock screws though the existing holes, removing and reinstalling them as necessary for stripping and refinishing; and leaving them in through canvassing, filling and painting. The strapping holds things together and gives you sturdy handles to move the canoe about.

The thwarts are refinished separately and installed near the end of the restoration.

Remove the decks for easier stripping but keep them to use as guides if you have to replace inwale tips or the stem tips.

Thanks Dan! The strap idea is a good tip. I recently saw a roll of seatbelt material at a place like a Dollar Store / Harbor Freight hybred. 50' for $5 or something close to that.

I have to replace stem tips for certain, but I'm leaning toward replacing the entire in-wale and and out-wale. I don't think a splice would be very aesthetically appealing, the wood is so old and "characterised" that I'll never match it.

Oops... The strapping that I mentioned is the wood, appox. 2 1/2" wide by 3/4" thick used as backing for sheet rock installation. Any scrap wood will probably do.

There are threads in this forum concerning whether it is better to repair or replace canoe parts - decks, inwales etc. As it is usually said, "it is your canoe, you can do what you please". Some prefer to maintain as much of the original canoe as possible.

When talking about how much to replace, Benson sometimes uses the old saw - "This is my grandfather's axe. It's had three new handles and two new heads, but it's still my grandfather's axe."

For my two cents, I'd probably try to replace only the inwale ends.....

Up here in the middle west we call it either lath or furring strips.

Nice to know we all aren't homogenized just yet.

But I can't see any reason the nylon webbing wouldn't keep the boat from spreading. Wouldn't be solid, but that might be a good thing.
Decks Off

Well, the decks came off without much fanfare. And I used 1x2 stock and some wood screws to make temporary thwarts, thanks for the tip once again!

It became obvious why the tips of the decks and the wales rotted though. The area under both decks was PACKED FULL of white oak leaves and maple (whirligig) seeds. (And no, I din't think to take a picture before I cleaned them out. :( )Somebody from the squirrel family was living in there at one time, and as the canoe sat outside upside down covered with a tarp for five years with no one using it (except aforementioned squirrel) any wet that got up there never came out.

Too late to strip tonight, but it looks like the factory applied the last coat of varnish to the inside. Shouldn't be too bad tomorrow.
Stripping breaks ribs

I do not know how this happens, but the act of stripping multiplies broken ribs by some factor I am still calculating. I had 2 broken ribs. Stripped the canoe and had 8. This is a gol-darned X-Files episode, this is.
You aren't the first, nor will you be the last, person to discover that cracks hide under varnish. I'd suggest that after you strip and wash out the boat, let it dry outdoors for a day or so, then look for hairline cracks in the ribs. Push from the outside to see if they move - if so add it to you list of broken ribs - bet you find another couple.:(
Yeah, I just keep hoping that maybe, someday, a special someone.....

What were we talking about?

Oh yeah! And even though there was little varnish, it still takes just as long to strip. Not as bad as an 80 year old freighter with a quarter inch of porch paint on the inside, but still not fun.

Is there a best way to get the last inch or so under the inwale nice and clean?
Is there a best way to get the last inch or so under the inwale nice and clean?

I have used "L" shaped brackets made from 2x4s on the sawhorses to prop the boat on it's side - makes the goo stay in place and makes it easier to get into the stems and under the wales. Do one side, flip the boat and do the other.