Thoughts and opinions on old wood.


Rolf Warncke
While in the process of cleaning out the garage I came across some old pieces of outwale that ultimately went into the wood stove because they were just pieces and quite dried out. It got me to thinking about the projects I have waiting for me. What criteria should I use to determine wether or not the boat is worth saving in terms of the soundness of the wood itself? As an example I have one boat in line that has stems that are quite soft and clearly need to be replaced. The rest of the wood seems to be sound enough so the boat will be saved. I also recently got two halves that could be put back together but the partial rib that came off at the break point seemed brittle and if thats what the rest of the ribs are like, do I take the time on this one? Does the oil treatment restore enough elasticity to the wood to make it useable?

I'm interested in any thoughts folks might have on this as I'm not one to send anything to the "burn pile", although I think if it's done with respect to the history of that canoe it may be a fitting end.

Just looking for some thoughts.


Andre' would encourage you to put the match to it. That's why I call him Andre' the Pyro. Others would encourage you to fix it. (That's why they call me Derelict Dave).

I guess you have to decide on a boat by boat basis where you will draw the line.

I think it was Rollin who said he could restore a canoe given just one rib, and I believe him.

Boiled linseed oil with turpentine isn't a bad idea to put back some oils, and maybe some life. But oil won't make up for bad wood.
It depends upon the value of the canoe. I once replaced every rib between the stems , all of the planking , and scarphed new stems into a 15' Morris. The only original wood was the center thwart, the splayed parts of the stems, and a few ribs and cant ribs. I have also burnt a canoe after doing lots of work on it, because of disgust caused by the rot from being fiberglassed.
These were my canoes. If the canoe belongs to a customer, I'll do whatever they want as long as they are willing to pay for it.