Router bit radius for a Seliga. Scratch that...Fixing gunwale splits!


Curious about Wooden Canoes
Hello, Everyone.

It looks like I may end up replacing the outwales on a Seliga canoe from 1974. I've found a few longer splits along the very top, so we'll see how they look once they come off.

Assuming I have to make some new ones, could anyone tell me the radius for the router bit I should use to round them off?


On further inspection, I don't think I'm going to replace the rails. There are a few splits along the grain at the thin area above the rabbet. I'd like to try and reinforce them before I replace rails that are in otherwise excellent shape.

I'm thinking about applying some sort of epoxy or glue to the bottom of the splits/interior of the rabbet to reinforce them in a way that would be hopefully invisible. Is there any specific product I should be considering? I'm thinking about G-flex, but maybe regular epoxy or glue is fine.

If this doesn't work, then I'll revisit the radius question.

Nick, I forget, what kind of wood are your rails?
I checked, it looks like you have spruce inners and I'm not sure about the outers, if dark maybe mahogany? If so, then yes, clean them up, glue them and reuse.

But, I would use a low viscosity epoxy, and let it soak in good, and if possible, open the cracks, clean the wood with a solvent, acetone, lacquer thinner, etc.
Don't use mineral spirits or similar that leave a oily residue behind.

BTW, I've been parting with stuff from the garage and can now get to the Seliga, so if/when you need the radius, just ask.
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Hello, Dan.

I'm pretty sure they're mahogany. I'll follow the procedure you've recommended.

It's kind of weird. It's like the outwales have migrated up over the years on this boat. The outwale is pretty consistently raised about 1/8 of an inch above the inwale, which appears to be the cause of the splits. I'm pretty sure it didn't leave Joe's shop like that. I pulled some of the gunwale off to inspect it, half expecting to see multiple screw holes, but it looked normal. Oh well. I've got it stripped and ready for a light sanding and varnish, and then I can get a better idea of what I'm dealing with.

Thanks again for the response, and I'll keep you posted!