Wm English Canoe very dry and leaky!


Curious about Wooden Canoes
Hi all, I have a post in the research section about the Wm English Canoe I inherited recently and I'd like some advice about restoring/resealing it so it's usable.

I'm new to wooden canoes (used to a 14 ft fiberglass) but have some woodworking experience and my father has over 40 yrs experience with woodworking and cabinetmaking/construction. We are anxious to get the canoe floating again but don't want to mess it up.

He and my uncle suggested duct tape and jb weld to fix it up but that was met with an icy stare and an adamant "You will NOT redneck my canoe!!" Obviously he was kidding but we really have no idea what kind of varnish and sealants would work best.

The canoe is a 16 ft cedar strip (possibly racing canoe) missing the sailing rig. It has been stored in a garage in Utah for the last 10yrs or so. It has been in a lake once in that time but it's so dried out that it leaks like crazy. My cousins bailed it back to shore, dumped it out and then conscripted a younger cousin to be the official bailer and went back out lol. It's new home is in western Colorado which is also very dry.

So here are some of my questions:

1. Should I soak it up and see what seams close up naturally? Is that something I'll have to do every time I want to use it?

2. Do I need to totally sand it down and re-varnish it?

3. Some of the screws and metal fittings are corroding, do all of those need to be replaced?

4. Some of the nails and rivets are coming out, what's the best way to re-seat those?

5. What kind of maintenance do I need to do on it every year to keep it watertight and in good condition?

I'm sure to have more questions as I go along, right now I don't even know enough to know what to ask. I'm reading as much as I can on these forums and there is tons of helpful stuff here and in the history sections. I don't know if I have the skills to restore it to 'as new' condition. I think I'd be satisfied with usable while still maintaining it's original beauty, but I also want to halt as much further deterioration as possible.

I'm posting a bunch of photos but if there are any other angles or close ups that would help just let me know. Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!


  • IMG_2172.jpg
    128.9 KB · Views: 482
  • IMG_2233.jpg
    149.8 KB · Views: 517
  • IMG_2232.jpg
    141.4 KB · Views: 480
  • IMG_2234.jpg
    142.9 KB · Views: 483
  • IMG_2235.jpg
    86.1 KB · Views: 491
  • IMG_2236.jpg
    88.1 KB · Views: 478


Curious about Wooden Canoes
Here are a few more close ups. I'm curious about the seats as well. I haven't found photos or descriptions of any other canoes with seats like this. Anyone know what they are called? Thanks so much for any help and info!


  • IMG_2247.jpg
    114.4 KB · Views: 430
  • IMG_2241.jpg
    118.2 KB · Views: 438
  • IMG_2239.jpg
    116.4 KB · Views: 427
  • IMG_2238.jpg
    100.8 KB · Views: 443
  • IMG_2237.jpg
    98.7 KB · Views: 425
  • IMG_2251.jpg
    103.3 KB · Views: 437

Paul Miller

Canoe Nut
Hi Blue,

I replied to your other post and have sent you a private message.

Look forward to a conversation.


David Darwin

Canoeist and sailor
I would be most interested in reading the answers to the questions posed. They are similar to what I have on my mind for a cica 1915 canoe that has not touched water since 1976.