What are these things?

Steve Lapey

LOVES Wooden Canoes
We have an Old Town Yankee in the shop for a re-build and I found these Vee shaped brass fittings under the nuts that hold the two quarter thwarts in position. Has anyone else seen these fittings and if so, what is their purpose?



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The section of thwart between the bolt hole and the end is a weak point and can be easily blown out. These bits are probably meant to reinforce that and spread stress away from the bolt hole.


I seem to recall finding those on an Old Town Guide of the same vintage (1920's) and they didn't make much sense to me. All I could come up with was Dan's idea, but it just seemed like a lot of brass for that.

I thought someone added them when the canoe was repaired previously, but now I'm wondering.
Dan is Correct,

I have attached a picture of one of the thwarts from my 1923 Old Town Charles River. Matter of fact its the canoe in my avatar.

They are not that heavy and do seem to work well. These thwarts fared much better than most of the same age.




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Another good pic showing the details. I couldn't imagine how they would work till you posted the pic.

Are these pieces screwed or tacked to the thwart?

Hi Dan,

You can barely see the bumps, but they are tacked to the thwart. The tacks just keep it from moving around.

I have thought about reproducing these to use on my restoration because I have seen many a thwart with bad screw holes that these thing would prevent.

Great canoe weather in the Midwest today. Sunny and in the 70's.

Thanks, Paul. Now we know that these brass plates are original to the canoe. I just went out and looked, the thwarts do have small tack holes where they were originally held in place. This is going to be easy, just tack them back into the existing holes and put it back together.

Steve Lapey
What a great idea... I think I will make some and use on my Nomad! In case someone on something were to fall on the inside side of the canoe, the thwart hole could easily be blown out. In my case, I am going to use an Ama so this would be a good addition for strength...
Thanks again for this post...
CYA, Joe