- Hi Dan,
Well, I looked over the pictures. The canoe is in rough shape, but it is certainly repairable. A lot of hours though, as many as building a new one, but saving a good portion of the expense.
The black streaks are caused by mould/mildew on the wood and glue. This is common enough on older canoes and can generally be ignored as long as it is only surface stuff. However, there are areas where it appears to penetrate rather deeply into the wood. If this was cedar originally, likely the wood will be OK, but the glue may have suffered. This is not serious, but where there is also delaminating of the skin/wood, swelling/shrinkage of adjoining areas t, AND, the repair left open to moisture, you are likely looking at a re-skin of the entire boat. I would not plan on re-glueing all the strips, rather use a scratch coat of epoxy to glue them all together, again. It may take a couple.
The gunnels are bad. Single strips of wood or good scarfed joints should be used. A butt joint has little strength right where you really want it.
The seats look good, but, it appears that the frames might be a bit loose. Should have been repaired before the new caning was installed. At any rate, you will have to remove them for sanding (carefully, to avoid damage to the cane) You might be able to apply some ¾" cedar under the frames, but angled back so it isn't really visible. Then remove any sharp corners (a source of "blackness", you want at least a 1/8"R corner, everywhere) seal with three thin coats of epoxy and 2 coats of spar varnish, minimum. The epoxy will *bind* any loosness up to 1/64", maybe to 1/32. Thinned to penetrate into the joints.
The inside appears better. Some little things show this was probably a first boat. The foot area in front of the rear seat (epoxy is worn) looks OK. Just a recoat is needed. Some wrinkles in the glass that can be left, but should be removed and glassed over, ie treated as a patch. Drips and runs of epoxy on the inner hull indicating lack of knowledge about squeegee's, or, lack of knowledge about thinners, or, just skipped in an effort to speed the process. There are some air bubbles that will likely get left. You *might* try to drill a small hole and inject epoxy in them, though. These were left from being missed, or developed from out-gassing on raw wood.
I think I would string the center, then measure the boat widths every 6" from the string to the center of the gunnels. Once you have these numbers you have the basic horizontal alignment. Then you can remove the gunnels. Replacing the gunnels afterwards (after fixing the hull) will allow you to heat and move sections into alignment as you go, before screwing them in solid. One the inner, outer are drilled through the hull core/fiberglass, you probably won't be able to align the boat again!
Start with a form table and 1' stations marked from center, per normal. After setting up your table, including cleats for mushroom forms, cut some forms to almost a hammerhead configuration...cleat down, about 6" tall, the width of the boat as measured, above, and attached by no more than 2 strips. More, and you get into hull problems...you don't want to change the base design. Snap a line on the table, and, set your forms. Attach the boat by drilling through the last strip only, if possible. The screw holes will get covered by the gunnel. Mount a line along the keel center line of the upturned hull. String along the center and drop a couple plumbs from the line, after the hull is mounted roughly. By eye, align the boat as closely as possible to the front/rear plumb lines.
Remove the plumb lines. Pull the center line quite tight. This will show any discrepancies in the rocker. With a 3/4x3/4 strip (likely from ripping offall) you can adjust the rocket till it is smooth, ie no dips where there shouldn't be one. Use only upward pressure! DO NOT use any screws through the hull! Mount them to the hammerhead stations with a couple screws. Note that this is a slow trial and error process, bet necessary to good performance.
You can now start cleaning the fiberglass off. Usually, a slightly dull putty knife works OK, but do not strip large pieces of wood, if you can avoid it. From stem to stern, all the epoxy will come off. Your basic boat alignment will stay pretty much. Once stripped and rough sanded, the boat needs to sit a few weeks to dry out.
Repair, fill, as necessary. The inner skin should hold everything together for now. Stems should be checked for rot damage. Repair as necessary.
Then a layer of glass over the stems. A second wider layer may be used, too. Then a full sheet over the whole boat, stopping ¼-1/2" from the stems. Three or four coats of epoxy, etc. (care should be used on the gunnel strip, to avoid epoxy/glass over the screws...once the hull is re-coated, do not worry much about alignment, it will stay pretty well, but may twist a bit, but it looks pretty good.) A bit of tape over the screw head, where you had to screw through the gunnel strip into each station, will help keep the epoxy out. Once it has set, carefully, sand through the glass over the screw heads, pull the tape and you can remove the screws. No help for it, I am afraid. The boat may twist slightly after all but, just assume the inner coat was done over a *lined up* canoe, you will not do any *worse* than the original.
Most of the inner can stay. But you need to redo the stems. Cut the glass with a sharper chisel. You will likely get a raggedy cut, so sand and feather the edges. Clean out any mould, fillet carefully with epoxy/sawdust, sand and re-glass the stems. Smooth, but a dark line is OK. Black should be gone.
Then add the gunnels, using a heat gun to warp wood, evening any alignment problems from removing the boat from the forms. Go as far as possible without cutting the final length. Then cut to fit the last 12-24". The whole boat should be as good as new at this point. Checking the alignment as you go will insure the boat tracks well in the water. Add trim decks, thwarts, and the seats, making sure ALL holes you drill get a couple coats of epoxy/varnish before assembly. Then varnish with two or three coats of spar varnish. The boat needs to be stored under cover, out of rain, snow, etc. Every spring you should seal any scratches, make sure all the wood is sound, not leaking, etc. Then repair as necessary. This usually takes about 1 day of work. Could take far less if the boat is well maintained, often just a light sanding and coat of varnish, a couple hours. Our cat makes his winter hang-out under one of my boats. He hunts mice, squirrels, etc. around the barn.
Feel free to contact me, though I will be out a large portion of the summer. I would like to see pictures of the completed boat when you get it done. This is a larger project, but will be well worth the effort.
My thoughts only . . .
From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com] On Behalf Of danf
Sent: Thursday, April 25, 2013 4:08 PM
Subject: [Cedar Strip Canoes] Dan's Canoe
I have posted pics of the 37 year old I found out in the country. I would appreciate any advice on repairing the stuff I photographed.
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