Ed's Canoe Knock-down gunwales?

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And Canoe Tripping Invitations to the Board

When I receive canoe repair queries one of my first recommendations is to provide a Canoe Tripping link for factual done-that, here’s how advice and photos and, if my refurbishment work, an admission that there are skilled craftsmen on the site who put my shadetree tinkering to shame.

I recently heard from Dan, a memorable Duckhead friend of olden days, with a question about re-gunwaling a 17’ Royalex Mad River Explorer. After some back and forth regarding the relative merits, and availability, of wood vs vinyl he opted, for simplicity sake, to go with Ed’s Canoe Knock-down gunwales.

https://www.edscanoe.com/14kndogusy.html

A month later a friend of a friend also ordered Ed’s Knock-down gunwales, and had questions.

I’ve DIYed and installed wood gunwales, but never used Ed’s. I know various folks have done so, but do not remember ever seeing or reading a post about the trials, tribulations, tips and tricks to doing so.

I invited Dan to join Canoe Tripping and, I hope, perhaps let us follow along with his Ed’s re-gunwaling work.

If anyone on CT has installed Ed’s Knock-down gunwales please share the experience. I’m sure Dan in VA and Ed in TN would appreciate your wisdom.

Or, if you know of a write-up or video about installing Ed’s scarfed gunwale system, please post a link. There are a lot of wood gunwale replacement tutorials, but I’ve not seen one specific to Ed’s.
 
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Ed's knockdown gunwale system uses modified shiplap joints, not scarf joints. I have not used them or even seen them outside of photos but I have come across a few comments from those who have and there have been positive and negative comments but I can't recall the specifics.
 
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Ed's knockdown gunwale system uses modified shiplap joints, not scarf joints. I have not used them or even seen them outside of photos but I have come across a few comments from those who have and there have been positive and negative comments but I can't recall the specifics.”

Pete, I noted the “modified shiplap” in the Ed’s description. I guess it is easier to properly align and glue, then screw & clamp, than a straight scarf joint.

From the photos of Ed’s “knock down” gunwales it appears that they are square, which would make clamping the gunwales to the hull for screwing in place easier, but I’d want to shave down the right angle edges for hand comfort and possible splinter action. That, I think, would be best done before oiling. I’ve had square gunwales on some ancient Shenandoah canoes and didn’t much like them.

I’ve heard a bit from Dan in VA about his Ed’s gunwale prep work. He bought 20’ gunwales for his 17’ Explorer, and finding a flat 20’ long surface, other than the floor, for gluing the shiplap joints and oiling was a challenge.

Dan also mentioned that the Devcon epoxy provided with the gunwales was insufficient to glue all four joints together, and recommended buying at least one extra.

I’d really like to hear more from anyone who has used the Ed’s Canoe gunwale system.
 
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knock-down-gunwale-system-7.gif
I like this joint a lot better than a standard scarf with a feathered edge. I've seen those let go and the idea of catching a sharp edge while paddling makes my hands itch, like my ankles when there's a short handled axe around....
 
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This is the scarf I make. No feather edge, it’s called a hook scarf and doesn’t slide apart when clamped and glued. With a little forethought scarfs Zanzibar be
Locate so a screw further secures the outboard edge of the joint.
I did a post about how I make it with a trim router, I’ll see if I can find it.
Jim

87522555-1E07-4674-9E8A-9A05CA9A255E.jpeg
 
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Obviously people can improperly mix adhesives and improperly cut/glue/clamp a scarf joint. But even a plain scarf joint, if properly made, and glued up with epoxy is inherently stronger than the solid wood itself. If a scarfed gunnel breaks at the scarf joint, it would have broken if the gunnel was a solid piece of wood. Moreover the falure will be in the wood fibers themselves not at the epoxy line. Heck, even regular old yellow glue is stronger than wood fibers by a significant degree.
 
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This is the scarf I make. No feather edge, it’s called a hook scarf and doesn’t slide apart when clamped and glued. With a little forethought scarfs Zanzibar be
Locate so a screw further secures the outboard edge of the joint.
I did a post about how I make it with a trim router, I’ll see if I can find it.
Jim

View attachment 130594
This is the the kind of scarf I would try and make on a bench. The Eds canoe scarf looks like it would be do-able on the boat for splicing in a repair. The short bevels would let you cut the joint a little "long" and sneak up on the fit.
 
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Finally found the tread on the jig for a hooked scarf.
Jim
 
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I used Ed's knockdowns on a 1978 Explorer 16ft rebuild, three years ago. The canoe has done some class II-III whitewater and several BWCA trips with long portages which I think are fairly stressful for the gunnels. So far so good..

The gunwales are square on the inner edges, rounded on the outside, quite comfortable. The shiplap was glued with G-flex since I had it already for repairing cold cracks. Used the basement floor and a clean tarp, for the gluing up. It was straightforward, the screws made it simple. The 24 clamps I had to buy for installing the gunwales weren't needed for this step ;-)

Oiled with Watco Teak before installing, then again after install. After the install and bending, there's a slight edge of epoxy on one of the joints which I notice only when paddling solo, in reverse from the front seat. I haven't been able to sand this down to my satisfaction yet as the relative hardness of the epoxy and wood are so different..
Don't remember how long the gunwales were as supplied, I think 18 feet ? Anyway long enough to have a bit of flexibility in where the joints are located, next time I'll pay more attention to hand position relative to joint location for both solo and tandem paddling.

The install itself is I guess the same as any other wood gunwale. This was my first attempt so I learned a lot.. ha. Reused the decks as they were still sound, unlike the old gunwales which were rotted, split and crumbling. One of the old thwarts was still OK, looked like it had been replaced at some point. The original had no carry yoke just a center thwart in poor condition, so installed a new yoke there. Reused the cane seats which were a bit crumbly, did a yellow web weave over the cane.

On the Colorado river, below Black Rocks rapid,
black rocks explorer.jpg

the last of the old gunwales, immolated in a pyre in Rocky Mt National Park,

gunnels rmnp.jpg
 

Glenn MacGrady

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I used Ed's knockdowns on a 1978 Explorer 16ft rebuild, three years ago.
Welcome to site membership, Doug, and a greatly informative first post. Feel free to ask any questions and to post messages, photos and videos in our many forums. We look forward to your continued participation in our canoe community.
 
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