Easy Rider modifications

Joined
Aug 14, 2013
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I've got a 17' Easy Rider Raven with a Roylex hull.I'm considering a couple of modifications.I welcome your advise.
It has alum. gunnels and thwarts I'd like to replace them with ash or some combo. of ash and a contrasting wood.But I read in one of Cliff Jacobson's book that Roylex tends to crack when coupled with wood.It sounded like cracks usually started around screws.I was planning to epoxy my gunnels on,I don't know if that makes any difference
Second ,I'd like to replace the seats with nice ash wood and cane seats but I think I would like to move at least the rear seat further back. But I don't want to ruin the trim of the boat.
I would appreciate any input
Thanks
Tim
 
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Don't worry about the Royalex cracking. Just be sure to loosen the screws if temps in your area are likely to dip below -10*F during the winter (-20 according to some people). The cracking happens only when it gets so cold the Royalex's contraction exceeds the wood's by enough to cause cracks. Epoxy seems like a bad idea, partly because it may not stick to the Royalex, and partly because the Rx's contraction in cold weather could cause even worse damage than with screws (just speculating here). Also, do you really want to make it so you can't remove the gunwales?

Definitely do your mods. Be careful about seat placement. You can estimate trim by calculating torque values. Measure from the center of the boat to a point 3" in front of the seat rail. That value in inches times the weight of the paddler at that position gives you the torque that person creates on the boat. Ditto for the other position. Factor in other weight that you will usually have in the boat and then you can adjust the position of the seat(s) and the load.

Pls share pictures when you're finished.
 
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trim calculations are a little more complicated if your boat is swedeform. But the above method is a good guesstimate. Seats are easy to move around and nothing in the seat department is forever.

You can store a RX boat with wood gunwales in below zero temps. Its the RATE of temperature change that may lead to differential expansion between wood and Rx, not the absolute temp. If you have to store outdoors, with rapid rates of temp change, definitely loosen the screws at the gunwale ends. Inside, if you forget , not a big deal. Do NOT expoxy the gunwales to the hull.. if you ever have to remove them you may have a mess.
 
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Do you have a source for long ash, a 17' boat would need at least 18' pieces to give it one piece inwales and gunnels. There are wooden canoe builders in the area, they would be able to help. (check this site for builders www.wcha.org)
Try to avoid scarfs, but sometimes it's necessary.

If you install wood gunnels, the canoe should be kept indoors when stored, or at least covered from the rain and dew as the water will seep into the space between the boat and wood and quickly rot. Normal use is not a big factor, just the time spent upside down on a rack between usage gives the water plenty of opportunity to seep into the space where it never seems to dry.

Use screws, brass or stainless steel. Brass is soft and might require a pre drilled hole and a steel screw to pre thread the hole.

You will need quite a few clamps to install gunnels and after the gunnels are on, you can use the clamps to clamp a seat in for test placements. You don't want to drill unnecessary holes in those new inwales.

Some folks use webbing rather than cane for seats. Matched with a easy to build wood frame, they are an easy build and look nice in plastic canoes. (some folks in the "wood canvas" world call them "lawn chairs", but I heard that around a fire with four Chestnuts parked lakeside so maybe it was the company at the time that made it funny to me). I still like "webbed wooden seats" in plastic canoes, just MHO though.

If you like the look, can do the work and don't mind the extra maintenance, wood added to a canoe is a nice way to change the look of your canoe. Then again, that's just my opinion and not a hard fact.
 
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I've kept a couple of royalex canoes outside for over 15 years, and our temperatures can drop to -40 in the winter. Haven't seen any cracks. Glueing gunwales on is a bad idea. There are a couple of reasons you might have to remove them - if they rot at some point, or if you break or crack them.

I have never used full length gunwales, can't find wood that long. A simple scarf joint, glued with either epoxy or gorilla glue will do the trick.

I just use regular wood screws for my gunwales, but my cedarstrips are always stored inside.

Looks like the Easy Rider is a symmetrical canoe. I remember reading Ted Moore's mathematical formula for the placement of seats in symmetrical canoes, and wondering why people had to mix letters and numbers together. It's like trying to breed cats and dogs. I go by a simple formula for a symmetrical canoe. I place the stern seat as far back as me arse will fit in it, and I place the bow seat where the woman will be comfortable, which is often a little further back than the formulas predict.

When putting thwarts behind the bow seat and one in the stern compartment, I also make sure there is 27 inches between the center thwart and the bow and stern thwart, so I can place barrels in either the bow or stern areas.
 
Joined
Aug 14, 2013
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The canoe spends winters in a heated shop with me so huge temp. drops are not an issue.I figured I would need to scarf joint to get the length I needed and be sure to stagger scarfs between inside and outside.I'm pretty familiar with woodworking in general(I build wooden staircases for a living)and I have allot of clamps.With regard to screws my concern is that in tightening the screws enough to keep the gunnels from slipping could crush the Royalex.
As to the seat I'm trying to figure out a way to make the rear seat adjustable,light weight and maybe even elegant .So we will see how that works out
Thanks for all the advise.Thinking this may be my winter project
Tim
 
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Sep 2, 2011
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The canoe spends winters in a heated shop with me so huge temp. drops are not an issue.I figured I would need to scarf joint to get the length I needed and be sure to stagger scarfs between inside and outside.I'm pretty familiar with woodworking in general(I build wooden staircases for a living)and I have allot of clamps.With regard to screws my concern is that in tightening the screws enough to keep the gunnels from slipping could crush the Royalex.
As to the seat I'm trying to figure out a way to make the rear seat adjustable,light weight and maybe even elegant .So we will see how that works out
Thanks for all the advise.Thinking this may be my winter project
Tim

the gunwales I have are not two identical pieces. One has a lip and is wider..the inwale fits under the lip. On the boo boo side, one of the years we did remember to loosen the screws we forgot to tighten them up come spring and managed to lose a few on a trip. Moral.. now take all the screws out at the stems. Put in bag. Tape bag to yoke. Its just a reminder device.
 
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Do you have a source for long ash, a 17' boat would need at least 18' pieces to give it one piece inwales and gunnels. There are wooden canoe builders in the area, they would be able to help. (check this site for builders www.wcha.org)
Try to avoid scarfs, but sometimes it's necessary.

Mad River Canoe will ship gunwales, though I'm not sure how long. If there's a Mad River dealer close enough to you, they can ship to the dealer along with their next order of boats and you can avoid shipping charges.

edscanoe.com (http://www.edscanoe.com/14kndogusy.html) has knock-down gunwales. For a 17' boat you'd get 18' gunwales which would cost about $168. The gunwales come in two pieces (4 pieces total) and look to have a nicely formed joint.
 
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With regard to screws my concern is that in tightening the screws enough to keep the gunnels from slipping could crush the Royalex.

You will not crush the Royalex. That's the least of your concerns.
 
Joined
Aug 14, 2013
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I would think that rot would be less of an issue because where the wood meets the hull it would be bedded (with thickened epoxy)completely so water could not be trapped there.
I need to spend some time working out the best seat configuration.
Tim
 
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Feb 1, 2013
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If you store the canoe indoors, rot will not be an issue. Someone convinced me to glue the gunwales on the first three canoes I built. I regret it now. Tried to remove one about two weeks ago. Involved a hammer, a metal putty knife and a lot of swearing.
 
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