Source for materials in PA?


New Member
Working on a Chestnut canoe I picked up at the assembly. I was thinking I would scarf in the gunwale repairs to replace the badly done prier repairs. (In-wales spliced with a 45 deg. cut that has separated)

However after scraping off some of the cloudy varnish i found the gunwales are oak. Is normal or was this a original option for a Chestnut? I can find quarter saw oak easily at the lumber yard because its used as stain grade house trim. The more I think about it I would like to use a lighter wood, especially if the oak is not original. Also the one out-wale is wavy and fastened with deck screws. So I wouldn't mind replacing it completely anyways . Can I use construction grade spruce scarfed together? There is very little rise is the shear at the stems so I'm not to worried about bending the ends with kiln dried wood. Or is there a relatively local to south east PA/ cheap shipping option for better material.

The canoe is sound and I won't be doing any rib or planking work just looking to make functional improvement before re-canvasing and varnishing. I'm looking at the project as repair and paddle, not a restoration. As I'm planning to use this as my every week bum around boat not a show piece. I just don't want to do harm in the name of lazy. Or save $20 in the name of cheap.



Curious about Wooden Canoes
I can understand wanting to switch out the oak, they must add a lot of weight to the boat. The canoe that I am in the process of restoring appears to have ash outwales, which seems like a good choice to me. Ash will stand up to dings and bit of abuse, but is not as heavy as oak. It is unclear to me if you are looking to replace the inwales, outwales or both. Spruce for the inwales is a good chioce especially since you don't really have to steam it (as long as the grain is straight and clear). As for a supplier that will partially depend on whether you want to splice two pieces together or have them be a complete piece. Splicing will allow you to save a lot on lumber, and with a long splice it should not adversly effect the strength of the canoe. I am in NEPA, and live near a small lumber mill (Aldenville Log & Lumber) that specializes in hardwood. Maybe you could find something like that if you are not going to go with the spruce, or are trying to replace the outwales.

Steve Ambrose

Nut in a Canoe
David Satter

Check with David Satter in northern NJ to see if he can help you with the materials you need. (see builder's directory)


Curious about Wooden Canoes
Tauge lumber is a good source for pretty much anything and rittenhouse lumber in the philly area.