Strip Canoe Teen Project


New Member
Hey Folks - new guy here from MD Looking for a little guidance.

Was given a strip canoe years ago. Used it a couple times but otherwise sat under the deck. Came home one night to find my 16yr old had decided to "restore" it. He had pulled the seat and started sanding damaged areas on the exterior. I did just enough research to find that heat gun is preferred method of fiberglass and resin removal so he went out and picked up some tools (and a respirator) and spent a couple nights in the garage. So now he's pretty much committed. I am going to let him run with this. More concerned that the boat is finished correctly than cosmetics, but obviously if he's going to make the effort we would hope it would look nice. He is 16, spends a lot of time on the rivers, will bounce off some rocks so want this to be as durable as one might expect of a strip boat (I have no idea what durability means in regard to a strip boat).

He has stripped the majority of the exterior glass and resin - leaving behind a lot of burn marks. I assume next step is sanding. Question on the rails - do they need to come off or can he glass the boat with them installed? They are not in bad shape (no rot) - jsut need sanding and finish. They are screwed and glued and not sure best way to pull them without damage. Interior of the boat is in good shape - prob won't do anythign with that.

Right now goal is to complete the prep. Once (if) he gets to fiberglass stage will have a few (lot) more questions and will prob have him register. Very informative site - appreciate a little help getting him started then he can search the site to keep things moving.


New Member
Whew...tough crowd here. Everybody out paddling this time of year?

OK - I'm gonna have him rip the gunnels off and sand the sh#t out of it. We'll go from there. If that's the absolute wrong thing to do - maybe just reply with one of them "uh-oh" type smiley thingees....:confused:

Dan Lindberg

Ex Wood Hoarder
Well, it is Aug.
As for your stripper, most folks here wouldn't bother, believing it's easier to just make a new one.
As for pulling the rails, yes, I would.
Not sure how you're going to get the wood uniformly clean,
so I suspect you should be lowering your expectations as to it's looks.

So we can all learn, post pics as the project progresses.

Good luck,

Andre Cloutier

Firestarter. Wicked Firestarter.
Ive rehabbed a few strippers , mind you they were well built from the get go and not too far gone. Those rails look solid as does the top strip sandwiched, if they have no rot or arent pulling away leave them right where they are. A lot of sanding carefully so as not to make hollows and reglass it. if its too fugly paint it. I did one with ash inners and scuppered, a lot of work originally. sanded and bleached the ash as it was solid and epoxy sealed it. tore the rotted outers off. I prefer them painted, as i think they look like the boating equivalent of a sausage with so many colours of wood. Anyways you also get the uv protection from paint, and you can use 2 part like interlux perfection as they are stable and its much tougher than enamel. This was a ted moores redbird, well built and worth the effort.


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New Member
Thanks Fellas. My concern with the rails was when we get to the fiberglass can we glass up against the rails where they are (or even glass over the rails), or for structural purposes do we have to remove them and glass to the top strip and then reinstall over them? In any event - he has a lot of sanding to do so he can focus on that. I kind of like the idea of paint as well.

Appreciate the feedback. Will keep you posted.

Jim Dodd

LOVES Wooden Canoes
Yes ! Do it !
I've pulled glass off of two over the years. The heat gun worked great ! I could even smell the fish oil from fish long ago, left flopping in the bottoms !
Remove the gunnels . leaving in the deck, until you get to the inside, this will help keep the stems together, while you work on the outside.
Sand the outside, but not through it. Don't worry about making it look NEW again, just remove rotted wood. Patch if you need.
Glass with Epoxy, and I'd double layer the outside bottom.

Share as you go ! I'd love to see before and after pics !

The Quality time you spend with that teen greatly out weighs any cost !!! Even if the canoe sinks !

Good Luck !


Rod Tait (Orca Boats)

Yes I would remove the gunwales. Are they just screwed on or glued on? If glued on, then you will not likely get them off in one piece. You could just carefully glass up to the gunwales but I would not try to wrap glass around as that would cause some messy folds in glass. Best is to glass hull without gunwales.

Todd Bradshaw

Do be aware though that when you remove the gunwales the hull will temporarily lose a whole lot of rigidity. Picking up a non-gunwaled stripper hull the wrong way can actually cause it to fold - which can ruin it. Best bet is usually to go ahead and remove them, but add a couple of temporary thwarts, screwed in through the hull's sides. These can be hunks of 1 x 4 common lumber or similar and can make a pretty drastic difference in hull rigidity while you are working on the boat.