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    Thoughts on shortening a canoe

    I have a second old (really old) fiberglass canoe. From what I can tell, it is a Bee Craft built in the mid-70s. Construction is the thick fiberglass woven matting with chop glass blown on top to smooth it out. It lived a hard life at a canoe rental company until I liberated it in '98. The bow had hit several boulders and was cracked through. The hull both sides had taken some serious direct hits and cracked through. The rental company just goobered some glass matting over the cracks and kept using it until the gunwales finally pulled off. I ripped off their crap repair, ground down to good firm boat, and repaired the canoe properly. It has sat on my barn for years because I really can't get my wife to go canoeing and it is a huge 17' canoe; just too much for me to handle by myself on the river.

    I am debating cutting a 4-foot chunk out of the middle of the canoe. I think it would make it a lot more manageable as a solo canoe to be shorter and lighter. Thoughts???

    #2
    Pictures?

    I'm going to come right out and say you've colored me skeptical.

    It's going to be hard to tell without looking, but most every canoe that I've ever seen would have issues with this type of modification. Some probable pain points:

    - Fair curve. Unless your canoe has a large chunk of the middle with bottom and sides running straight fore/aft, (Would be very rare, if such a thing ever existed at all) you will end up with a hard line right around the middle. This is a weak point if you ever bump anything, and also messes up the hydrodynamics.
    - Strength at the joint. You're going to want to reinforce your seam line up to the standards of the rest of the hull, which will likely take a lot of glass and resin. To the point that you may put back in a good deal of the weight that you remove by cutting the middle out in the first place.

    What are your actual skills and time resources? Not trying to stop you from stretching into new territory, but knowing where you're starting from can help us give practical and sensible suggestions.

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      #3
      It should probably be retired. Not well built, old, damaged. It will never look like any thing with several feet missing. It will never be structurally sound.
      Forester

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        #4
        I’m with PPine and Sailsman.

        Although, if you are of the mind, you might easier cut two or three feet off the stern, leaving the rest of the hull streamline intact, install a flat back transom and stick a small motor on it.

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          #5
          Save your time and effort...sell it and buy a smaller one if that is what you want...or just sell it and be done with it if you dont need another one

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            #6
            At 17' it going to be wide for a solo .... shortening it is only going to make length:width ratio worse .... ask yourself " Do I really want to paddle a sandbox?"

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              #7
              yup, mat and chopper gun crap are about the hardest glass to repair properly, with a layered layup you could, using a combination of chiseling and grinding, thin down the individual layers enough to overlap, then add additional layers over the splice, but you'd still have an acute angle change, especially in the bilge, With mat or chopper gun, there are no layers to separate, so forget overlapping, and it's too thick to overlap full thickness without it looking like a swollen mess. don't even think of a buttjoint- one hit and you'll have 2 halves going in different directions.
              Not to mention that a Mid 70's mat and chopper boat is worth a couple of $hundred if that, and the alterations would cost far more than it's worth.
              You'd be better off taking that money and buying a newer boat that meets your specs and turning that one into bookcases in my opinion

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                #8
                I think you should cut the 4 ft off of each end, equally of course.
                It will probably perform about the same as before
                See stripperguy's photos

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                  #9
                  If your canoe is in reasonably good shape from your previous repairs it could be a good time to sell it so you can reinvest the money into something better for you. For example here's a solo that you could probably get for $350. I also see older Sawyer 16 foot tandems pop up fairly regularly for $300 or sometimes less.

                  https://rockford.craigslist.org/boa/...127137938.html

                  On the other hand if you really want to try shortening it I suppose the worst that could happen is that you'd end up with a unique flower planter.

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                    #10
                    You only need to take out two feet to make a solo.

                    What do have to lose? Right now you have a canoe you don't paddle that isn't worth much. After surgery, the worst that can happen is that you have a canoe you don't paddle that isn't worth much.

                    Yeah . . . give it a try and post lots of pictures. Folks here will be very interested in the experiment.

                    If it doesn't work, buy a used canoe that fits your tush, muscle strength and wallet. Then paddle it.

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                      #11
                      I'm with Mike, cut a couple of feet off the end, fabricate a transom, get a little motor and have two tons of fun.

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                        #12
                        I’ve been thinking more about the idea of making it a square stern and sticking a little motor on it.

                        If you opt to go in that direction perhaps someone here can offer suggestions for adding a sturdy transom to a mat and chopper gun canoe. I think I would at least add some diagonal braces from the transom to the hull, and maybe install a kinda sideways or L shaped seat, so when you have your hand on the tiller/throttle the engine is more comfortably adjacent.

                        One possible advantage of motoring with a heavily built mat/chopper gun glass layup, the bottom probably won’t oil can in minor waves as with Royalex or composite canoes.

                        The other advantage – with effortless motor travel maybe you can convince your wife to come along.

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                          #13
                          Maybe motors are the new "mother's little helper".

                          I've often thought of going the other way -- finding an old beat up fiberglass tandem with decent entry lines and adding 6-8 feet to the center to make a nice C4 in the 25' range. I would think an inside keel (say a 2" square aluminum tube under a couple layers of glass) would make it strong enough. Kinda like the overbuilt center-rib option on 80's Wenonah kevlar hulls.

                          Back to the OP, I'm sure you could, but it's very unlikely you'd end up with something better than what $300 and a tank of gas would find on craigslist.

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                            #14
                            Originally posted by scoutergriz View Post
                            you'd still have an acute angle change, especially in the bilge
                            Can you explain what you mean by this please?

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                              #15
                              Originally posted by Cruiser View Post
                              At 17' it going to be wide for a solo ...."
                              At it's widest, it is narrower than the fishing kayak I was debating earlier this year. What are the general measurements for a decent solo canoe?

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