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Dreamboat Rebuild Rebuild

Jul 6, 2021
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The Hereford Zone along the Mason-Dixon Line
The Dreamboat is a flat bottomed Royalex tandem that I originally rebuilt years ago and gave to needed-a-boat Tom. Tom really needed his own canoe. First paddling trip with Tom in his wife’s Mohawk Rogue - high sided deep and well rockered for serious whitewater, with a Perception saddle – we were tidal marsh tripping and I saw a most peculiar sight.

There was the distinctive thump-boom-splash sound of a canoe capsizing when, suddenly, shooting skyward into view, above the tall waving Spartina grass, there briefly appeared the red Royalex bow of a Mohawk Rogue. A Rogue canoe, the other rogue was enjoying the pluff mud bottom of the Transquaking Marsh loop. Both were eventually recovered, the canoe none the worse for wear. Tom, IIRC, had lost one shoe to the marsh mud bottom, and considerable of his remaining dignity.

Not just witnessed by me, with the advance warning of the thump-boom-splash everyone else had time to turn and watch that canoe projectile. I haven’t seen a rocket launch from my canoe yet, still on my bucket list, and that was probably my only opportunity to witness such a flatwater canoe launch.

Tom called the Dreamboat “Das Uberbot” because it weighs as much as a German submarine. While it made a better marsh canoe than the WW Rogue it had some submarine qualities in other paddling uses; going over drops the bow had a tendency to take on a wee bit of water.

EK_0023 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Methinks float bags would have been a good thing in the Uberbot on that Yellow Breeches trip.

The Uberbot, borrowing from ALSG’s esprit de escalier considerations, henceforth to be named “Yet Another Rebuild Rebuild”, or YARR for short

Yar: agile, quick, easily maneuvered, nimble

I expect the re-rebuild will possess none of those nimble qualities. Produced by Dreamboat Company in Indianapolis in 1984, YARR is 16’ 2” long, 14” deep and, originally, around 33” wide. “Around” because I drew the gunwales in a touch on the original rebuild, and it is now 31 ½” wide. Maybe an original Warsaw Rocket? Anyone know the “Rocket” dimensions?

The original rebuild shows many early rebuild touches. New vinyl gunwales replacing rotted wood; doesn’t everyone install vinyl gunwales using 3” pop rivet spacing? What was I thinking? (WWIT)

P5210028 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Both stems were badly worn over a large area, so massive 5 foot long x 2 foot wide kevlar felt skid plates. At the time I had never heard of Dynel, or peel ply, or even beveling down the abrupt edges of kevlar felt with a tongue depressor as the epoxy set up. The uncompressed and un-edge beveled kev felt stands tall still today. “Pretty work”, as my old mentor would mutter in semi-disgust.

P5210015 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Tom’s artistic lettering of “Das Uber Bot” has faded to near illegibility, and I wish I could make out what the subtitle beneath reads; I should ask him, there is subtext there.

P5210029 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Wilhelm, properly pronounced with a harsh lip-spittle V, is a great Undersea Bot captain’s name. Recipient of the Saturated Cross with Watercress Custers, responsible for multiple sinking’s.

P5210016 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Mostly sinkings of himself. The Uber Bot, without Captain Vilhelm aboard, proved capable of running WW, high and dry, all on its own, and would often nose over next to me, sans Tom, like a faithful dog as I waited in some eddy below a drop.

I would praise it “Good boy, good boat”. Once, on a peculiar lining escape when Tom’s “Nots-no-K” let loose, I admittedly shouted “This is the best day ever!” as Uber Bot floated the run out to nuzzle empty alongside my canoe.

For all that crudity of repair my brightwork was, even then, reasonably well done, and is still solidly intact and refurbishable. Garishly webbed seats, as typical of the plaid madness era; the webbing is still solid and largely unfaded. The finished weight not presenting an issue with a YARR rebuild I’ll remove the dreaded peg drops and install truss or half truss seat hangers for some extra rigidity along the sheerline of a 38 year old RX hull.

P5210024 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

YARR currently has a (wing nutted) removable yoke and a kneeling thwart. No permanent knee cushioning, BYO kneeling pad, but I did thoughtfully include ankle blocks.

P5210025 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

The kneeling thwart is coming out, and the yoke will be replaced with a custom rod holder yoke, as on OOSOBO.

P2110010 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

The too-seat-close front thwart needs to come out as well, so YARR can be solo paddled bow backwards, and may get a custom rod holder thwart within bow backwards arms reach as well. I have some rod holder improvement ideas in that regard as well, and may ask fisherman friend Eddie and likely YARR paddler for suggestions and opinions when it comes time to ponder custom angling outfitting. Year 2 with a fishing license, I still haven’t cast a line.

P1070058 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

YARR will definitely get a DIY aluminum L foot brace for the bow backwards position; again the same as OOSOBO.

P1160010 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

In fact, in replicating (or improving) OOSOBO’s reservoir fishing outfitting, I’ll probably replicate the distinct and decorative green hull, white stripe and diamond trim paint job as well. YARR, like OOSOBO is, or once was, green, and I’ll want another can of inexpensive green Rustoleum Topside to recoat the scrapes on the bottom of OOSOBO from slide-launching it this winter when it comes off the reservoir and back into the shop.

P3190001 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Tom’s less artistic painting flourishes have also (thankfully) faded. There may have been some late in the day shop beers involved, but somehow, when the Uber Bot was finished, Tom was cajoled into graffito-ing the stems, using up near dead cans of old shop spray paint. FWIW the sliver spray paint lasted the longest, there are traces of blue left, and the red has vanished entirely

The worst of YARR’s needed repairs are from a trip it did last year, the first time it had seen water in a decade. Tom lent it to a novice couple, who paddled it on Mallows Bay. Mallows Bay is ship graveyard, a collection of 200+ steamship and other vessels.


Mallows Bay is historic, and peculiar, and can be tidal shallow. If there are 200 “Ghostfleet” shipwrecks there are 100,000 barely submerged pieces of rusty bolts and sharp metal. I’ve long wanted to go there, but not in a plastic boat. Incautious novices, paddling amongst 100,000 tidal sharps in a plastic canoe; the bottom of YARR is now suffering from death by a thousand slices.

P5210019 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

P5210018 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Easily fixed once YARR is clean and sanded. For now YARR can live on back deck near the hose. I need to give it a vigorous scrub with DougD’s magic mix of vinegar and Dawn. And after that it can continue to live on the deck until I have room in the shop; I need to RO sand the entire paint crusty hull bottom, and I’d rather make that colorful dust outside as well.

Once it comes into the shop it isn’t leaving for quite a while; I do need to have it done by March 1st, 2023. First thing, once in the shop, I’ll weigh it. I’m guess 86lbs. Maybe 85lbs post sanding.

And, of course, there is the Why Bother?

Next Spring YARR will get a reservoir permit, and be chained up (same padlock key) at Liberty Reservoir. The fishing at Liberty is better than at Prettyboy, the launch is closer than Prettyboy for most metro-area friends, and it would be nice to have a boat at water’s edge on both reservoirs.


I believe I can make YARR look and paddle agood as new with less than $100 in parts, pieces, epoxy, varnish and paint. And 100 very slow and enjoyable hours on the deck and in the shop. Mostly I really like the idea of having heavy, old-school vintage Royalex canoes, both green with identical broad white stripes and green accent diamonds, left at both reservoirs.

If nothing else I’m sure it would puzzle the reservoir cops; “Wait, didn’t I just see that canoe chained up this morning at Prettyboy?

The only thing better, fishing or just reservoir exploring, would be a side motor mount for an electric motor. I’m not providing the motor, but I got the serious clamps with which to DIY a side motor mount.

P5170006 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Of course now I wish I hadn’t given away the manufactured side motor mounts, plural, that came, and later left, with some used canoes. Long, multi-armed reservoirs like Prettyboy and Liberty would be a joy to sit and electric motor buzz about.

P3100011 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

heck, I’ll sit in the back and acknowledge how fast, how far offshore, here-there-where instructions from a fisher-person bowman. With 80 some miles of shoreline there is a lot of reservoir edge I’ve never seen, and likely won’t without deep cycle assist.
YARR is at least clean

At least, and at last. I suspect that the last time YARR was washed was sometime shortly before it left my shop many moons ago. Scrubbed clean it reveals additional Mallows Bay slice and dice damage to the outer skin, nothing some epoxy and some cloth work won’t cure, and the encrustation is gone.

P5220001 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Tom may be too generous with canoe loans. His pristine composite Malecite was offered to a boatless tandem pair for a trip down the Juniata. The very low water Juniata; the Malecite was pristine no longer. On the forgive them side I think the Malecite is was a now another rotted and falling off wood gunwaled backyard hulk.

Fortunately it is forecast to rain for the next few days, which will help dissipate the canoe –shaped outline of dirt and crud spattered on the deck. On the plus side YARR is probably a pound lighter.

With the years of exterior dirt removed I can tell that I had repainted the bottom, from the water line down, with green paint. Probably, given my than less than state of the art efforts at the time, using enamel spray paint. Which, for spray paint, has held up remarkably well, much better than the similar vintage spray paint job on OOSOBO, which was flaking and peeling like canoe leprosy.

PC190009 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

UV exposure on paint, any paint, especially spray paint, matters, and Yarr’s home for many years was in Tom’s backyard. While his under-engineered canoe storage racks may occasionally have collapsed under snow loads, his yard is at least densely shady. Pluses and minuses; all of his shaded but never quite sun dried wood gunwaled canoes are now Mulch Gunwaled, feeding the lawn with the recommended daily allowance of trace element oils or varnishes.

The inside, once de-grimed, proved to in remarkably good condition, with scant wear on the vinyl skin. Perhaps it was protected from years of boot heel scuffs by the layer of accumulated filth.

P5220003 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

I counted the plethora of 3” spacing pop rivets in the gunwale, sixty five. On each side. 130 pop rivets holding the vinyl gunwales in place. WWIT?

I checked the right stern stem for a HIN. Nope. Then I checked the other side and bow stems. Twice, the second time with an LED flashlight and a magnifying glass. Nope. I know it had a visible HIN back in the day, but never recorded any more than “DRM” for Dreamboat.

With the inside scrubbed the HIN popped out clear as day. Amidships, under the inwale; DRM 1684 110.

P5220005 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

That does not equate to a modern (post-1972?) HIN; DRM is the Dreamboat Company, but the middle four numbers indicating the company serial number should be 5 digits long, and the last four (not three) characters indicate the year of manufacturer (aside from the weird not-a-calendar year business).

I have forgotten how to read more vintage HINs; it sure as heck isn’t a canoe from January of 2010, or even “110” November of 2000; I had replaced the rotted wood gunwales before then. I need to figure out how the interpret the HIN’s year of manufacturer.

YARR is definitely not a “Warsaw Rocket”. Looking at some old Warsaw Rocket photos those Uniroyal-molded canoes had recurved stems, and I remember that recurve from the two Shenanndoah/Warsaw Rockets I rebuilt. YARR has noticeable layout at both ends.

P5220004 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

The Dreamboat Company manufactured pontoon boats in Indianapolis. I seriously doubt they had their own molds and oven for Royalex canoe manufacture, so my best guess is that, like the original Warsaw Rockets, Dreamboat bought naked hulled from someone, and outfitted them for resale in their spare time in (pontoon boat) shop.

Starting in the early-to-mid ‘70’s various companies were buying naked hulls, “Warsaw Rockets” molded by Uniroyal, and trimming/outfitting them for resale. Royalex Blue Holes, Shenandoahs, Perception’s Chatooga and Nantahala, Mad River’s Endurall, not to mention any paddling club that could buy the minimum (dozen?) raw hulls to haul home and finish on their own.

Paddlers with club outfitted newfangled Royalex canoes were the bees freaking knees next to their Grumman companions. The weight was near the same, but they didn’t stick to rocks.

YARR is a mystery begging to be solved, and I’d love to ID the maker of the hull. Symmetrical, flat bottomed, moderate rocker, 16’ 2” long, 14” deep, (originally) something like 34 to 35 inches gunwale width, 19 ½” deep at the stems, with some layout at both ends.

What company was molding that shape/size of RX canoe back in the heavyweight day? Or do the middle digits “1684” date it as hull manufactured in the sixteenth month of 1984. . . . .no, wait, that can’t be right. . . .WTF, who hull dat?

It lacks the stem recurve of a vintage, flat bottomed Old Town Camper (nee Chipewyan). Flat bottomed I doubt it is some (love the shallow vee) early Mad River hull. 16’ 2” is longer than any of the early Blue Hole OCA/Prowler/Starbursts, IIRC those were mostly in the 15’ range.

Maybe some early flat bottomed RX Mohawk? The Intrepid 16 was 16’ 2”, 33 ½” waterline (but 36” sheerline; I don’t remember how much I drew in the gunwales), 14” deep and speced, before massive kevlar felt skid plates, at 73lbs. That all fits well enough, but YARR’s stems are 19 ½” deep, not even mis-measured close to the Intrepid’s 21 ½”.

Dreamboat was in Indianapolis. I wonder where the most convenient RX canoe manufacturer was to go fetch a load of naked canoe hulls to resell?
Yarr is in the house

Or at least in the shop

First thing, once in the shop, I’ll weigh it. I’m guess 86lbs. Maybe 85lbs post sanding

I was pretty close; 84 lbs suspended from the hanging shop scale, maybe I scrubbed off more than a pound of dirt

Oops, I neglected to take a photo of YARR hanging on the scale.

but YARR’s stems are 19 ½” deep, not even mis-measured close to the Intrepid’s 21 ½”.

Eh, I was not close, but I did mis-measure. I had attempted that measurement with the canoe upside down on sawhorses, measured down from a plank set on the bottom. Not accurate in any way; when I put it on the shop floor, whadda ya know, 21 ½” exactly.

P5240003 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

OK, I measured the max width at the ( ), for a slab sided width without the rebuild drawn-in gunwales. 36”.

I am now convinced this is a vintage Mohawk Intrepid. It is identical in every dimension, length, original width, depth, stem height and lay out.

Mohawk started building canoes in the mid-sixties, were fairly early into the Royalex game and I think the Intrepid was being built by the early 80’s.

Hey Chip, who was that famous local paddler or guidebook author who paddled an Intrepid? Sadly this wasn’t one of his, my records show that it was given to me, in need of a major rebuild, by Shelia Chapelle. She also gave me her father’s early 80’s OT Chipewyan, which I repaired, as best I then crudely could, and gave back to keep as a family heirloom.

The Chapelle’s were a paddling family, and their kids all started young. Seth started paddling WW that would have made me pee my pants at a young age, and became a dedicated (if I suspect dizzy) single blader at a young age.

Back on topic, I may know more about a plausible Mohawk backstory soon, I’ve e-mailed Mohawk. That vintage canoe was a couple company ownerships ago, so I’m not holding my breath.

With YARR upright on horses in the shop it was time to cogitate an outfitting plan. Once it goes gunwales down for sanding and epoxy/cloth work it won’t be back upright for a while, so this is a chance to think about the brightwork parts and pieces I’ll want.

Starting with losing the wing nutted yoke and kneeling thwart

P5250008 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Pretty work; I had pencil scribed that kneeling thwart wood to cut out curvaceous seat drops, and never bothered to sand off the lines. Or maybe I did, the “clean” side is on the bottom.

Lose that frou-frou and install a “center seat”. OOSOBO is fine paddled bow backwards. Provided it had 40-50lbs of trim counter weight in the bow. YARR will be carried twice a year, on and off the racks as it is chained up at the reservoir in March and retrieved in December.

Screw the yoke and kneeling thwart, gimme a solo center seat.

Like OOSOBO my intention is to rebuild YARR with minimal effort, expense or new parts. Tinkering time spent yes, expense no.

The existing seats and peg drops are still impressively solid, and the pegs are the proper length for the sheerline rise. Those can stay in, or at least get re-urethaned and go back in. The stern seat stays.

P5250004 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

As does the bow seat.

P5250006 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

I am amazed that the webbing is still sound, and drum tight. I guess I did do some things right back in the day.

With the installation of a center seat even that thwart behind the bow can stay.

Just need a center seat. Thank goodness I drew the gunwales in a touch; I have the near perfect size center seat, already tautly webbed, with pad keeper straps, just a little dusty from storage.

P5250010 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Behind that seat, for some lateral regidity, a thwart. That thwart would be within arm’s reach of a stern paddler in tandem guise, so maybe something wide enough for a minimalist no-sail-mount utility thwart. I’ll just cut down and repurpose that kneeling thwart.

YARR is getting heavier. And heavier; the front seat, as originally rebuilt, is more than five feet back of the bow. Plenty of leg room, and plenty of stem depth. I’ll want to provide the bow paddler with a utility thwart to call their own.

P5250012 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Eh, needs to be a little wider, enough to install a cup holder. No worries; I’ve plenty of shortie brightwork pieces that need only be cut to size and lightly refinished.

Three seats, two minimalist utility thwarts, bottom repairs, paint job. . . . .I’m calling the finished weight in the low 90lb range when I’m all done. Thank goodness that, as a permitted reservoir canoe, it needs only be overturned and slid into the lake.

90 freaking pound canoe. Dammit, now I really wish I hadn’t given away all of the side motor mounts I got with used canoes.
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but YARR’s stems are 19 ½” deep, not even mis-measured close to the Intrepid’s 21 ½”.

Eh, I was not close, but I did mis-measure. I had attempted that measurement with the canoe upside down on sawhorses, measured down from a plank set on the bottom. Not accurate in any way; when I put it on the shop floor, whadda ya know, 21 ½” exactly.

P5240003 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

I've always wondered this, when you measure the bow/stern height of a canoe with rocker, do you measure from the floor, even though the stem is really floating above the floor by approximately the amount of rocker?
I’d never given it any thought, but I might have wondered if the measurement was from a waterline datum 🤷‍♂️ I’d only used bow/mid-ships/stern measurements to get an idea of what the shear line looked like and it looks like it was pure luck that that works out if the boat on the flat slab is the measuring datum.
Just dropping a line to say thanks for the excellent writeups. I really appreciate the effort that goes into these threads!
Canoe measurements are a can of worms. Most manufacturers never say how they measure so even something as simple as width isn't so simple. Is it measured from outwale-to-outwale? Inwale-to-inwale? If you measure hull-to-hull do you measure inside-to-inside or outside-to-outside)? Likewise depth. If the gunnels are canted, do you measure from hull or the gunnel and if the gunnel is canted from the highest or lowest point? And is the other reference point for depth the hull exterior or interior? If interior, and hull has ribs, is it to the top of the rib or to the plank below the rib? Rocker is another one where there is total confusion. And now stems.
Canoe measurements are a can of worms. Most manufacturers never say how they measure so even something as simple as width isn't so simple. Is it measured from outwale-to-outwale? Inwale-to-inwale? If you measure hull-to-hull do you measure inside-to-inside or outside-to-outside)? Likewise depth. If the gunnels are canted, do you measure from hull or the gunnel and if the gunnel is canted from the highest or lowest point? And is the other reference point for depth the hull exterior or interior? If interior, and hull has ribs, is it to the top of the rib or to the plank below the rib? Rocker is another one where there is total confusion. And now stems.
That is confusing. Seems a standard would be beneficial.

In my little corner of the core and water well drilling world, diameter measurements are “nominal”. Pipe diameters are a nominal ID measurement, and everything is sized to go inside the next size up pipe. This is true of both steel and PVC pipes and drill rods. We discuss the boreholes as nominal diameters too. An “N” sized drill string will cut a nominal 3” hole, drill through “NW” or 3” casing, and the NW 3” casing will pass “HW” or 4” casing. The NW casing actually cuts a ~3.5” hole and the HW casing cuts a ~4.5” hole. Exact measurements may vary based on bit spec and wear.
It would be nice if there was a publicized manufacturer’s standard way of measuring canoe dimensions, but I doubt that will ever come to pass.

My mixed-bag method of measuring dimensions:

For width I measure hull edge to hull edge at the widest part of the canoe, not counting the outwale, so it is sheerline width, not gunwale width. That actually bit me once; I needed a canoe no more than 29 ½” wide and the manufacturer measurement was akin to the way I do it, not counting the added gunwale width. It didn’t quite fit.

For max width I measure straight up from the widest part of the hull sides. On a canoe with tumblehome I brace verticals on either side |( )| and measure that distance, so it is exterior dimension, not interior.

For length I measure end of deck plate to end of deck plate, so it does include some thickness of deck plate or cap, which with a thick deck plate or a bit of stem gap could be as much as an inch.

For depth I lay a straight edge across the top of the gunwales at center and measure from the floor up, so hull interior depth.

For stem rise I sit the canoe on a level floor and measure up to the tip of each stem. With vee bottoms or some floppier bottomed hulls I need to put some foam under the hull back from the stems so the bottom is level and just barely touching the floor, without compression. With YARR I got lazy and tried using a plank across the bottom while the canoe was upside down on saw horses, which got me 19 ½” stems instead of the actual 21 ½”.

For rocker I likewise rest the hull on the level floor, look at the stems an say “Almost no rocker” or “Moderate rocker”, or etc, and even then is most of the rocker more stem rise at the ends, or does it extend further back along the hull bottom.

So yeah, I don’t see a roundtable of canoe manufacturers ever coming to agreement on dimensional measurements.
Let the stripping commence

Old kneeling thwart & drops, ankle blocks, thwart and deck bungees, stem painter loops, old decals, etc. All gone.

P5270001 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

The wing nutted removable yoke can stay in for now to provide some lateral stability. I’m not a fan of wing nutted removable stuff, and this one show an example of why; the flange washer on one side went missing, so it is just a naked machine screw head atop the outwale.

P5270003 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

I’m guessing Tom dropped in the drink at some point and never got a replacement. If only he knew someone with a well stocked shop.

Old parts out, new parts temporally in. Despite my general aversion to peg style drops I had some 3 ¼” walnut peg drops already drilled for machine screws. They will do for now. And perhaps for always.

P5270005 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Those pegs are held in place with a small rubber washer on the machine screw ends under the drops; it would be hard to hold them all four of them in place while fitting the seat with only two hands.

Dang, I never get this lucky. The rails on the seat, which I removed from some canoe when installing a Conk seat, are exactly the correct length, even the hole locations. No cutting, no drilling, simply spin the nuts on. I may run out and buy a lotto ticket.

P5270008 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

I should keep going before my lucky streak runs dry. That center seat, on peg drops, needs some lateral support, a thwart some at least few inches behind the seat. I was going to use the old kneeling thwart, but it is 4” wide and I only have 24” between the middle and stern seats. That stern thwart needs to be at least a few inches behind the center seat, so it would behoove me to use something skinnier.

I didn’t want to cut a virgin 36” thwart down to 27” in length, but had nothing else slender shapely and long enough on the used thwart rack.

P5270009 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Not much of a “utility” thwart, it will at least get drilled for an over/under/over run of bungee.

Now for a piece I don’t have readymade, a more spacious utility thwart for the bowman’s use. Cut some hull matching end angles on a 5” board, drill some holes and a test fit.

P5280014 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Perfect, but isn’t close to finished. The bowman’s utility thwart needs to come out, as does all of the other new brightwork, so I can lay a few coats of spar urethane. And before the bow utility thwart gets urethaned it needs a bunch more holes drilled. And before anything else gets started, egads my workbench! It’s almost like Tom was here.

P5270012 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

It took all of five minutes to put it all away properly. Much better, room to work without clutter. I am admittedly anal about shop organization, but I do not understand how folks can work with a cluttered bench.

I may say “I don’t care about the bow paddler, I’m never paddling up front”, but the bow position has some issues. Yes, it has an unobstructed view ahead, yes it should be scouting and calling out “Rock!” (or at Mallows Bay “Razor sharp metal”) with enough time to react, but there isn’t much space in the bow to put anything other than underfoot on the floor.

The bow needs, at least, a place to hang a water bottle (or other beverage) without having it roll away out of reach in the dirty bilge. From the miscellaneous box to the rescue, a bunch of defunct camp chair arm beverage holders.

P5280015 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Yeah, that’ll do nicely once glued and screwed into place. I’ll run a couple of crisscrossed + webbing straps across the bottom to add additional support to the mesh bottom

P5280017 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

That bowman’s thwart needs the usual bungee for miscellaneous keepage. Holes of course beveled in the direction of bungee stretch.

P5280020 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

That will get a cord lock at one end for tension adjustability. Probably some other geegwaws eventually, pad eyes or mini SS D-rings, but those can come later. Almost done with the bowman’s utility thwart, I just need to run the right angle edges across the router table, and then do some sanding.

As always, bless the 1” belt sander for perfectly smoothing routed edges, and the RO sander for smoothing out the flats.

All of the new brightwork hardware is in labeled plastic bins, ready for the reinstall, and that is enough for today.

P5280022 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Tomorrow, more dust making; hand sanding the new brightwork, and RO sanding some of the fugly off the hull.
Minimalist Dreamboat rebuild; two seats, one yoke Explorer-style.

P5290007 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Dream on. I’m not weighing it; I don’t care, it isn’t staying that way. Once the newly urethaned brightwork goes back in the old bow and stern seats and drops can come out to be refinished and re-installed.

I won’t see YARR upright for a while; need to order some green Rustoleum Topside, patch Mallows Bay slices, and maybe add a thickened epoxy fillet to the standing-tall edges of the (less than skillfully installed) kevlar mega skid pads.

Seriously, I didn’t even bother to take a tongue depressor and hand-bevel down the kevlar felt edges as the epoxy set up? Da fug? So many early mistakes and lessons learned; that little bevel touch would have taken a whopping 5 minutes. And why, why oh why, did I encourage Tom to grab old cans of spray paint and dazzle the stems before he departed with Uber Bot?

P5210022 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

I had encouragement help; the Squatter Sisters were in the shop that day, having finished adding gold glitter to the newly installed skid plates on their canoes.

That bit of comedic “Tom, here’s another beer, and some old cans of spray paint” finally came back to bite me.

I don’t want the open side to go upside down just yet. While the bungee cord was out, some new painter-keeper deck bungee. Bless a big arsed vinyl deck plate, allowing me the preferred over/under/over sideways Z pattern.

The rabbit, trailing a stopper knot, comes out the hole, goes back in the hole, doubles back diagonally underneath before reemerging topside and heading aft.

P5280001 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Topside looks like this

P5280002 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Under-deck looks like this; with a hidden deck plate recess and diagonal bungee for your stash.

P5280006 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

I don’t much care for the OEM ¾” wide stem loop holes, and may try to sleeve those with something less hawser sized; I don’t foresee a future where YARR Z-dragged off a lot of WW pins.

P5290010 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

I also don’t foresee a future where I will ever again want a kneeling thwart, or even want to install another . Should anyone care to try paddling in prayerful posture I have gobs of kneeling thwart drops, angle cut and shaped, some ready to go ¼” hole drilled.

P5290012 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Just bolt on a 3 ½” to 5 ½” piece of dimensional lumber. Eh, maybe shave off the right angle edges first. WWIT? I’m pretty certain that omission wasn’t subconscious desire to pinch Tom’s thighs

Bye bye topside. I’ll be back later.

Ayiee, what fun, the bottom. RO sander and dust extractor cart to wheel alongside. But first, I’ve only had to learn this lesson thrice, four gunwale chalks screwed into the sawhorse.

Intently RO sanding, not noticing the canoe jiggling ever closer to the edge. When one gunwale slips off a sawhorse the rest of the canoe follows quickly, and loudly, usually with a half-twist to land upright. That’ll knock some dirt outa the gunwales.

P5290015 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

All of the Mallows Bay slices need to be sanded and cleaned before any cloth and epoxy work, and the old have-another-beer wild-hair dazzle spray paint needs to vanish. The original green scumline bottom could not have been spray paint, I must have rolled some. . . . .thing; the green scumline bottom is unflakey intact, but it too needs at least a light scruff for future painting.

Bye bye Uber Bot artwork, ya gots to go. It took some elbow grease, and a couple different RO pads, but Uber Bot and all traces of old dazzle spray paint are gone.

P5290014 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Eh, that enough sanding; it’s a decades old beater boat, not fine furniture.

By rough count there are. . . . . .lordy, 25 slices from losing the Mallow Bay swordfight. After the hull is clean, to make certain I don’t omit any minor cuts, I’ll mark the slices with a blue Sharpie. All of those linear wounds can be covered with 2” or 3” E-glass tape and epoxy, and I can probably cover some with a single longer or wider run of glass tape.

Accidents happen, but novice loaner use“Oh, you seem to have run aground on a sharp metal object? Maybe just scootch the rest of the hull across the knife edge” didn’t help. There is one Z slice that would perhaps have been fun to witness, if only to return me to my childhood.

Mohawk responded to my “Is it an Intrepid?” query. Twice; after a preliminary e-mail with Intrepid matching dimensions the Production Manager, and a follow up with photo, he asked the current owner.

I was able to share your photo and canoe info with our owner, and here's what he had to say:

Mohawk would sometimes sell unfinished hulls to other companies, but most of the ones that he can think of are international companies in England and Japan. He said that the Intrepid was similar in design to the Mohawk "ABS" model. The ABS model was made using a preformed Royalex hull that the manufacturer (Uniroyal) sold to several companies who then simply put their markings on it and assign it an HIN. So it is possible that Dreamboat purchased some of these Intrepid-esque preformed hulls from Uniroyal and then simply put their logo and HIN on it

So while the mystery still is an open case, there at least is a good idea of what might have happened.”

Being a couple owners, and a couple relocations, along Mohawk’s travels that history may be incomplete, but it is something to go on.

If the “Mohawk ABS” model was, as I suspect, a Warsaw Rocket from Uniroyal, YARR is not that; the Warsaw Rocket had classic recurved stems. That does leave open the question “Did Uniroyal ever make a different model RX canoe?”

I’m pretty sure the answer is no, but can’t swear to it; I was paddling aluminum at the time, and for a decade after.

It does answer the question “Did Mohawk sell unfinished hulls to other companies?

Inquiring minds want to know the cost of a Japanese-trimmed Mohawk Intrepid. I’m calling YARR a Dreamboat trimmed Intrepid unless convinced otherwise. Provided your dream is a 90+ lb three seater.

I will say that Mohawk’s customer service and timely response to even weirdo questions remains, as always, top notch. I miss their line of canoes.
Slice and dice Mallows Bay patching.

The good news is that I had some 2” fiberglass tape, and some 6” peel ply in rolls.

P5310002 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

The OK news is that I can cover all of the slices with a strategic dozen longish strips of 2” glass tape, and a dozen strips of 6” rolled peel ply. 3” or 4” glass tape would have been easier still, but I’m committed to using what materials I have on hand. The last thing I ordered boat-working wise had a three week delivery date.

Even so the simple snip-to-length of those materials was a time saver. Still, the prep time, as expected, and as usual, took longer than actual cloth and epoxy work.

I’m not striving for perfection. A better methodology for the slices along the chine curves would have been to cock the hull sideways at a 45 /, and do one high, held nearer horizontal side with epoxy and cloth at a time. Nah.

Skimping further on the prep I masked only the bottom drip-edges to capture gravity induced epoxy runs, I have faith I can paint epoxy in straight-ish lines on the no-drip uphill sides.

Glass taped, epoxied, peel plied and repeatedly hard rollered, that mess of bandages can sit overnight before the peel ply removal and reveal. Later, a light sanding, and a light top coat of epoxy mix on the patches.

P5310003 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

FWIW, the epoxy required thus far, a mix of 2/3 West 105/206 slow hardener and 1/3 G/flex for better vinyl skin adhesion, amounted to 1 cup, or actually two half cups, one half cup for the bottom coat, one for the top coat, and I was scraping the dregs off the brush to eek out the last of the top coat fabric saturation.

Zero wasted epoxy in laying that heavyweight E-glass tape; I am getting better and better at estimating epoxy quantities needed; I never needed the secondary objects I had prepped and set aside for excess epoxy.

I have some thick bias tape, kevlar tape, Dynel sleeve and etc. Nah, that that 8.7oz E-glass tape needed enough hand-laid saturation and peel ply compression.


Mostly I didn’t want to use up too much epoxy on a reservoir use designated canoe.

The mega kev felt skid plates have chips and crumbles missing, and the bow has a vertical split/crack through the felt. None of the various slices, splits or cracks show on the amazingly un-scuffed inner vinyl, so that’s a plus, they are only “skin deep”.

P5310007 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

That crack felt skid plate rack must have required a head on impact. Perhaps Tom and a hidden (or obvious) rock, or perhaps the Mallows Bay newbies, headlong at speed into the protruding timbers of a Mallows Bay ghost ship. dang the torpedoes, full speed ahead!

I’ll lightly top coat the mega skid plates with the same epoxy mix when I top coat the glass tape bandages. But, before then, I can fill the missing and crumbled felt divots with thickened G/flex.

I wasn’t sold at first on the value of pre-thickened G/flex 655, and was a little put off by the squeeze-tube containers. Well dang, apparently I have found a lot of uses for it, even using it sparingly, with zero waste.

The 655 squeezes out of the tubes with toothpaste consistency; it is even easier to judge equal pea sized dabs swiped off on the side of a medicine cup. Would buy again; it is a good compliment to the less viscous G/flex 650

Time for another coat of urethane.

P5310010 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Note the absence of the center seat hanging to dry. In addition to magically fitting, both rail length and seat drop hole locations, that old seat was already heavily urethaned, and needed no further attentions.

Most of the new and old re-used brightwork needs only sealant coats on the newly cut butt ends, but the virgin-wood bow utility thwart needs at least four or five sealant coats. Which is an opportunity to keep slathering urethane on all of the butt ends.

Baby Got Back; I like thick butt ends and I cannot lie.
I love the feel of compressed release treated peel ply in the morning, it pulls off clean and easy. The glass tape will need just a touch of RO sanding, but the selvage edges are flat instead of standing tall and rough.

Some green pigment to tint the epoxy and color the cloth would have been helpful. A lot of green canoes have been coming through the shop, guess I need to order some for future use.

Eh, I think I said that last time. No more couldashoulda, I just ordered some, guaranteeing that the next canoe will be red, or blue. Or purple.

I have entered the sequence of “An hour’s work a day”; lightly sand the E-glass patches, refinish the mega kevlar felt skid plates with a light coat of epoxy, couple more coats of spar urethane on the new brightwork, sanded in between.

Bunch of sanding, bunch of epoxy and urethane work, and I don’t want to make shop dust with wet epoxy or urethane. I could take YARR outside, but it’s too dang heavy to carry back and forth just to sand. I could take the brightwork outside, but it is 95 freaking degrees and humid as heck. At this suddenly-summer rate I’ll need to put the window AC unit in the shop soon.

And, before much of that sanding and urethane work, I really don’t like the unfeathered edges of the mega kevlar skid plates standing so tall and abrupt. I want to lay a transition bead of thickened epoxy along those edges.

Not G/flex 655, I’ll spare the expense and use something self thickened; West 105/206 with 406 Colloidal Silica added. A bead of that thickened epoxy mix painted along the transition edge with a tiny paintbrush. Something caulk tube thickened, like ALSG’s Six10, would have been easier, but not for $36 with a 3 to 5 week ship time.


Laborious, and time consuming and I don’t care if it’s creeping down a bit where I started when I get to the other end; a flexible squeegee run will fare out that fillet.

And I had just the mini-squeege. We have a couple self-adhesive door sweeps and, when those were cut to length, I had 8” lengths of leftover rubber sweep squeegee. Yes, save everything might-find-a-use. I did, easily cut to mini-squeegee pieces.

P6010015 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Perfect disposable mini squeeges.

That’ll do. At least it won’t be so gurgly as to offend friends in the distant Nutmeg State.

P6010016 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Given that the E-glass patches and thickened epoxy fillet will need a light sanding I guess I can do the same with the utility thwart and brightwork ends; it won’t make that much dust. And then lay another coat of urethane; that’ll be four coats on the U-thwart and butt ends, probably enough, but I may get one more coat on the thwart.

Glass and epoxy patches sanded and lightly top coated with epoxy YARR can sit for a day and finally go back upright.

P6040025 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

P6040026 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

The expanse of mega kevlar skid plates were a considerable expanse, and thirsty. Even using a light 105/206 (no G/flex) epoxy coat, and tipping out with a foam brush, that was another two+ cups of epoxy.

Step away from the hull McCrea, any further epoxy attentions will just make things worse. I only needed to reinforce that lesson a dozen times. Gotta know when to walk away, but it is so hard not to keep screwing with wet epoxy. Be strong, retreat to the fresh-air office and have a well deserved beverage.

Before YARR goes back upright the precious cup holder in the bow utility thwart got affixed in place; bead of G/flex around the traced outline on the U-thwart, old camp chair mesh pocket holder covered with wax paper, and clamped flat under a board for 100% all around seal.

P6030018 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

To dress up the perimeter of the black cup holder ring, a bead G/flex with black pigment

P6030019 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

My lack of tiny paint brush abilities shows in that wobbly black bead, but that cup holder isn’t going anywhere. I may paint it later with black enamel for added UV protection, and another chance at painting unwobbly lines.

Tomorrow I can flip YARR back right side up and start installing the outfitting, some of which has yet to be made.
Per the good folks at Mohawk, they manufactured the Intrepid from the early 1990's until 2015.

I’m ruling out a 1984 HIN date, at least as an ‘80’s Intrepid model, and I still think it is an Intrepid. That Dreamboat HIN is so faulty missing numbers that it could well indicate an early ‘90’s canoe.

I need to get in touch with the original owners (Hi, remember me from 20 years ago?) and ask if they recollect any history.

In any case YARR, once fully rebuilt and painted, is destined to lie about its age. A reservoir permit requires a bunch of personal and boat information, including the HIN. A oopsie ten digit HIN might not pass muster, so YARR’s HIN is now DRM1684OL110. Adding a couple characters to the middle made YARR a 2010 canoe.

Which I doubt; it was beaten near to death when I first rebuilt it 20 years ago.

I’ll take the etching gun and scratch the additional numbers betwixt and between the Dreamboat HIN.

P5220006 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

But, like OOSOBO, which had an actual HIN, albeit faint and on the left bow (previously rebuilt backwards, not by me) , I wanted something more distinctive; a HIN plate attached to the right stern, not scratched inside amidships. A Dreamboat dog collar ID with Hull Identification Number is on the way.

I’ll concentrate really hard and try to pop rivet this one in place right side up.

P2280001 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Mistake were made. Mistakes continue to be made, sometimes in peculiar twenty year cycles.

I noticed an uncomfortable mistake, still in place from the original rebuild. A reassembly mistake made 20 years ago (and, more recently). This is the as-is, as-has-been for two decades stern seat. Notice anything amiss?

P5270009 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

The stern seat is anti-canted. It has been anti-canted for 20 years; the seat frame leans backfreakingwards!

The bow seat was properly installed, with a slight bit of forward cant, so I was batting .500 on that early rebuild. Not bad for a AAA amateur.

I can at least take schadenfreude pleasure in picturing a very uncomfortable stern paddler at Mallows Bay.

Serves you right pal, although maybe that My-aching-thighs is why he wasn’t keeping an eye out for sharp metal shards. Let’s park it here, atop this piece of rebar, I need to stretch my legs.

Now that YARR has various cross member thwarts holding the sheerline together the old bow and stern seats are coming out for inspection and refinishing. I have at least a 50/50 chance of reinstalling the seat drops properly canted.

Ah, wait, that’s two seats. That’s eight drops. Maybe less than a 50/50 chance. But this time I won’t let it leave the shop for the next 20 years.
Anti-cant stern seat.jpg

The stern seat is anti-canted.

I can't believe you made such a mistake 20 years ago.

First, you canonically assured the world in a stern seat picture above that . . .

the pegs are the proper length for the sheerline rise

Hence, the only way you can prove anti-canting is to float the canoe and put a bubble level on the seat. Foreshortened photos in a foreboding shop, where many liquids have been decanned and decanted, can't prove anti-canting.

Second, you or Tom may have positioned the pegs thusly to accommodate a small child paddling "bow" in the stern seat backwards. You are on public record of so-spinning little tykes.

bow paddler.gif

Third, Tom, for himself or for a reclining seat lover, could have set the pegs that way so the stern paddlers could sit with their butts and backs reclined against a BarcaLounger canoe seat back.

reclinig chairs canoe.JPG

Fourth, Tom or someone else over the intervening 20 years could have simply made an optical mistake in reassembling the drop pegs after refinishing them with vertiginous Interlux two-part epoxy varnish. I made a similar mistake in reinstalling drop wedges on my white Hemlock SRT's movable seat, which to my great embarrassment was witnessed by Conk and Harold Deal while paddling identical canoes. (I believe I super-convincingly blamed the mistake on Dave Curtis.)


Finally, YARR™️ is a legally protected utterance belonging to the estate of Long John Silver. I anti-can't arrange for Dewey, Cheatem & Howe to defend you for $400 per hour.