Shrunken Planking

With the fiberglass off I now see that there are up to 1/8" spaces between the planks. In the 1980 fiberglass job the spaces were filled with what appears to be wood flour and resin. It has either failed, and falls out, or removes easily when heated.

So what should I do? I see my choices as:
1. Caulk with a similar wood filler;
2. insert splines, filling the gaps with thin strips of wood, held to the adjacent planking with glue; or
3. do nothing.

Also the wood dough was used to fill the dimples around the tacks. I've not read anything that suggests that this is required for a canvas covering. My presumption is that the stretched canvas and the filler give the canoe its outer surface and the imperfections at the planking are not visible.

What say the experts?

Choice #3, Do nothing.

The fiberglass resin is what filled up the spaces in the plank and the dimples at the tack heads. Be happy it all came out.

Just make sure you fair the hull before putting on the canvas. That means sanding the outside with a long sanding board at something like a 45% angle to the plank seams. No need to over do it. Just so the plank seams don't show up once canvased. And some times they show up anyhow on an old canoe.

Good luck,

Yep, do nothing. The filler in the cracks and dimples is far more likely intentional filler than resin that just happened to run in there. These types of small gaps are easily bridged by filled canvas, but fiberglass is a very different story. The resin will actually drain out of the fiberglass cloth when it's suspended over a crack or dimple and leave something that looks like a small spot of fiberglass screen wire. It is quite difficult to get these spots sealed, smooth and water-tight after the glass has been applied, which is why they need some sort of filling before the glassing is done.

With the new canvas skin, the fills are no longer needed. I'd probably leave the filled dimples, but it would be nice to get the cracks cleaned out if you can do it without tearing up the edges of the planks. Older canoes often have some planking gaps and they generally aren't a problem. Calking or splines might cause more problems than they solve if the planking wood happened to re-expand a bit over the time and has no place to go.

Todd, Dave, Mark, Paul,

Thank you all for the reassurance. I've worked with fiberglass before and understand it's idiosyncrasies.