Gunnels and Screws

G

Guest

Guest
I also don't do a lot of things I have read in this thread others do, like fill in the old screw holes on the hull, varnish the inside of bolt and screw holes on wood work (how do you get varnish into a 16th inch pre drilled hole on a new ash gunnel?).

I don’t always run a piece of glass tape over the old screw holes. But, on a composite hull had previously been regunwaled once before, there are already 60 or 70 holes existent along each often thin FRP sheerline.

Holes either spaced close together (sometimes so close together that the old holes overlap in weakly fashion), or even when spaced every three inches apart from the OEM holes, then I do lay 2” glass tape at the sheerline. There is a clean easy trick to doing laying down that epoxy saturated tape.

I’m going to drill another 30 holes just below each sheerline when installing new gunwales. On a canoe that has been regunwaled once before, ending up with 100 unreinforced holes on each side seems suspect.

I have enough math trouble calculating evenly spaced horizontal gunwale holes that don’t end up too close to vertical machine screw holes for seat drops, thwart and yoke hardware. Finagling how to miss a Swiss cheese of old holes with new gunwale screws is beyond me. What I really want to avoid is my new holes overlapping/intersecting with old holes, or worse, intersecting a pair of old holes already too close together, making three married weaklings.

I don’t try to varnish inside the pilot holes on the outwales, but the pre-drilled holes and countersinks in the inwales do get treatment. That is just drilled raw wood, and another suspect place for decay to form.

The machine screw holes on seats, seat drops, thwarts and yokes get several coats of varnish (or spar urethane), applied inside the holes using a pipe cleaner when I am varnishing. I drill those holes 1/64” larger than the (usually) 3/16” machine screws to accommodate some interior sealant coats.

Perhaps most critically the thirsty butt ends of seat drops, thwarts and yokes get the bejeepers sealed out of them. As many coats of varnish/urethane as I can stand, or sometimes a couple coats of epoxy. The first coat or two of sealant sucks into the butt end raw wood, like the first coat of contact cement vanishing into minicel.

I understand why manufacturers don’t seal those holes very well, if at all. I can manage to get two coats of urethane in those holes/on those ends per day, times threefourfive coats, so two or three days spent just on that.

Said no one ever at Mad River, Wenonah, Old Town, etc “Let’s just stop outfitting work on this hull for a couple days while the varnished holes and ends of the brightwork dries”

I don’t expect that from mass boat builders. Although I kinda hope pricey niche builders, where you order a canoe and they then build it for you, take that extra time. Me, I usually got an couple days to spare when putting a canoe back together, especially if it is a boat for me or a friend.

Lastly, seriously, anyone who has bought a new, or newish, canoe with wood brightwork - unscrew the yoke or a thwart and have a look at the butt end sealant application. Hint: If you take that stuff out one piece at a time it goes back in easier.

If you don’t like what you see sealant-wise coatings on the yoke, sand the ends baby’s ass smooth; too often the butt ends of that stuff from big manufacturers looks open-grain never been sanded. Again, I understand where manufacturers are coming from.

That ain't workin' that's the way you do it
Money for nothin' and chicks for free
Now that ain't workin' that's the way you do it
Lemme tell ya them guys ain't dumb



Drill out the machine screw holes 1/64” larger, or even 1/32” larger than the hardware. Multi-coat the crap outa the now smooth brightwork butt ends, and pipe-cleaner some sealant inside the hardware holes at least a few times

Put the yoke back in, take out a thwart and repeat. If you want to save time and do everything at once you can put a couple of long bar clamps across the gunwales to hold the yoke-less, thwart-less floppy canoe in relative sheerline shape.

I would definitely do wood seat drops and frames separately; that stuff is a little trickier to get re-installed if the hull has thwart-less/yoke-less lost shape.

Lastly, lastly, 800 words later, if the ends of your yoke or thwarts are showing any hint of creeping bacterial rot black the time is now, before a minor pin or wayward bump busts out those rotting end cross pieces.
 
Joined
Feb 14, 2015
Messages
3,866
Reaction score
625
Location
Iowa
Robin Yes They don't make them like they used to ! Not many anyway.

An old Wood Canvas canoe freshly redone is a thing of Beauty ! My hat is off to those that can build or rebuild one ! Now days Anyone that can portage one, has my envy !

I don't expect any of my Glassed Strippers to last a hundred years. Neither will I.

I want my strippers to fill my paddling needs, with as little maintenance as possible, and last as long as I can paddle ! From what I've witnessed ? Screws are not the answer !
After replacing gunnels for others ? Glad mine held up better than those, and the gunnels don't Need replacing !

Mike McCrea asked how to replace glued on gunnels ! I've seen enough of Mikes posts to know ! He Knows !

My Outwales are glued Solid to the hull ! A simple block plane would make short work of them ! Especially IF they were rotten !

My inwhales are glued and screwed on. I use small #6 stainless screws, one per spacer block. They serve more, to ease the installation, when the Inwhale is slathered in Filled epoxy, than for strength.

If the inwhale needs removing, the screws are easy to back out !. #6 stainless Spax screws have a small #1 square drive head. This makes them easy to back out. Since the outwhale is planed off. All I'd need to do is chisel the blocks, not whole length of the inwhale. Not as tough a task as some would have you believe.

I have Repaired a few outwhales, that were damaged by careless lashing ( Mine) a good Jap pull saw facilitated cutting a scarf in the outwhale. A new piece was shaped and epoxied back on.

The Old adage ? If you Build them ? You can fix them, comes into play here. Much like a Wood Canvas canoe, I suspect.

Wondering how many Replacement wooden gunnels manufacturers like Bell, Mad River, Wenonah, and Old Town sell ?

It has to be a lot because they are available from a lot of suppliers, other than the Manufacturers.

A common malady, that I'm glad mine haven't fallen victim to.

In my experience ? Screws don't cut the mustard .

Jim
 
Joined
Feb 14, 2015
Messages
3,866
Reaction score
625
Location
Iowa
Also my boats sleep outside all year around!!

Most of mine are stored in an airy old Stone Carriage house. They are Dry. Moisture is the enemy as far as rot.

So yours are stored outside, Any cover ?

That is amazing !

Jim
 
Joined
Aug 1, 2011
Messages
516
Reaction score
143
Location
Ontario
I'm agreeing with Mem, I see a rot problem, not a screw problem. Of course it broke at the screw because that appears to be where the rot started. Gluing is an abomination- it's hard as he** to remove, stops the wood from drying properly, and will rot just as fast if the glue doesn't completely fill the gap, at least with screws there's a little bit of space that allows the moisture between the hull and gunwale to escape. as for sealing I use a stepped countersink bit and squirt varnish in with an old oilcan, that protects the wood and acts like a thread sealer to lock the screws in place
 
Joined
Feb 14, 2015
Messages
3,866
Reaction score
625
Location
Iowa
I agree ! It IS a rot problem, and use of screws made it even worse.

I based what I'm saying by what I observed in the gunnels I removed. Plain and simple !

It's the space between the hull and the gunnel that holds the moisture ! That is why it rots there ! If that space was filled with epoxy ? It would not have rotted .....

Drilling holes weakens the wood ! As the pic shows the location of the break.

The screws split the outwhale, either during installation, or from the stress of use..

None of this exists in gunnels Glued on .

Jim
 
G

Guest

Guest
Wondering how many Replacement wooden gunnels manufacturers like Bell, Mad River, Wenonah, and Old Town sell ?

It has to be a lot because they are available from a lot of suppliers, other than the Manufacturers.

A common malady, that I'm glad mine haven't fallen victim to.

No question it is a common malady with folks who do not store or maintain wood gunwaled canoes properly. I too would be curious how many replacement wood rails a manufacturer like Mad River sells, and what a full set of “genuine” MRC replacement wood gunwales costs.

FWIW Mad River once glued and screwed their wood gunwales on select canoes, although some sources indicate that they, like Mihun, only glued the inwales.

“On older model Kevlar/Airex models with foam core, the rails were glued to the hull as well as screwed and this can make complete removal more challenging. Use caution in breaking the glue joint as damage to the hull laminate can result.”

That has me wondering what the “niche” builders like Placid, Hemclock, Colden etc currently do; glue or screw or some combination.

Manufactured replacement wood gunwale can run from reasonable to yowza. Ed’s Canoe Parts MSRP on their “Knock-down” 18’ scarf jointed gunwale kits runs around $190 with shipping. Hemlock’s one piece wood gunwale run $200 for four 18’ square blanks and $300 for machined ash gunwales, with slotted inwales running $300 a pair. Plus shipping if that is even length feasible.

Oversized shipping charges on one piece gunwales is the real killer. The work around of course is to pick them up from a manufacturer if one is relatively close, or to have them delivered to a friendly outfitter with the next load of boats and strap an extension latter to the roof racks to transport them home.

My guess is that a lot of casual paddlers, or folks with minimal boatworking experience, look at replacement wood gunwale cost with shipping and installation efforts and decide it is not their thing, and folks with a modicum of shop skills and tools mill their own. If they can find a source for suitable 18’ lengths of clear wood.

Hence a lot of used canoes for sale with toasty wood gunwales.
 
Joined
Feb 14, 2015
Messages
3,866
Reaction score
625
Location
Iowa
Thanks Mike for researching gunnel prices ! I'm thinking I would have a good start on another canoe build having saved that money.

Lets put the Blame of not caring for gunnels, on the Aluminum canoes !!!

My first Aluminum still sits outside all year round, no cover, I bought it New in 1975. That makes it 45 yrs old. Gunnels are fine ! of course they are Aluminum.

People think All canoes can be treated that way ! Pretty soon a $2,000 wood trimmed canoe, turns into a $200 canoe when stored like an Aluminum in the elements.

I'm happy to let those screw lovers spend their time, and money replacing gunnels ! Me I'll build something, or go paddling !

Jim
 
G

Guest

Guest
Thanks Mike for researching gunnel prices ! I'm thinking I would have a good start on another canoe build having saved that money.

Lets put the Blame of not caring for gunnels, on the Aluminum canoes !!!

My first Aluminum still sits outside all year round, no cover, I bought it New in 1975. That makes it 45 yrs old. Gunnels are fine ! of course they are Aluminum.

People think All canoes can be treated that way ! Pretty soon a $2,000 wood trimmed canoe, turns into a $200 canoe when stored like an Aluminum in the elements.

I'm happy to let those screw lovers spend their time, and money replacing gunnels ! Me I'll build something, or go paddling !

Jim, I will admit a soft spot in my heart for folks who store wood gunwaled canoe on (or close to) the ground. Resting raised on a couple of 4x4’s won’t cut it with rain splashed dirt.

Most folks, including me, would be clueless about building a stripper from scratch for what manufactured replacement gunwales would cost. I think that critical bit falls by the wayside with experienced builder-folk considerations.

I still hope to find our stolen aluminum Monkey ward’s Sea King someday; I would recognize the dents and dings on that canoe in a heartbeat. Specifically, I hope I find it in the middle of a big lake, ‘cause someone better be wearing their PFD and know how to swim.

Turn a 2K wood trimmed composite canoe into a damaged $200 deal? Bless the idiots amongst us; I won’t even dicker, here’s two Benjamins and no I don’t need help loading it.

I love paddling. And I love refurnishing abused canoes in the shop. And simple screw-off rotted wood gunwales are my friend.
 
Joined
Dec 9, 2014
Messages
1,238
Reaction score
458
Location
Penacook, NH on a back road
I am old school and do screws for gunwales. As stated by many to each their own methods. For me this works best and having stored my boats inside for years now they have held up well. I am currently rebuilding a MR Malecite that the gunwales after almost 20 years needed attention. As also mentioned gunwales are too expensive to ship and are hard to be found around here so I mill my own.

The thought of gluing/epoxying them on to the hull does not bode well with me as someday I may have to take them off and that in my minds eye will damage the hull, again in my minds eye cause I've never done it, beyond belief. I also rebuild canoes and do not build them as so many of you gifted with that do, totally different story. So I guess I am screwed!
 
Joined
Feb 14, 2015
Messages
3,866
Reaction score
625
Location
Iowa
I dunno, I'm not much of a math guy, but seems like the screwers are in the lead!

Ha I guess I should post a Survey !

Being a majority on something that's wrong, doesn't make it right ! That's what my Mom told us kids ! :)

How many people thought the world was Flat at one time ??

I'm confident you will see the light !
 
Joined
Apr 21, 2015
Messages
731
Reaction score
284
Location
Livingston, Montana
Just a few thoughts. I recently replaced my epoxied gunwales on my strip kite. Mostly because they were overbuilt out of ash. The new gunwales are spruce and I used screws. There’s a thread on that somewhere on here. This canoe has been used hard and got banged up on a few rough portages. As a result the outwales delaminated at both ends and in the center where the seat hangs, the inwales too. I used screws to repair those problems at the time. On closer look I realized it wasn’t the gunwale delaminating but instead it was the underlying glass on the cedar. The delamination extends below the gunwales too, so maybe there will be a long term issue there.

I know jim uses an outwale wiyh a rabit to seal the top of the strips, which might prevent the problem I had. Either way, I’m doing screws for now on. I weighed 70 1 1/4” ss acres at 6 ounces, so not much of a weight penalty compared to epoxy. For comparison, the original spruce gunwales on my 1928 old town lasted all those 90 years until the guy started keeping it outside on the ground which started to rot the one side. Aside from the rot on the tips, I could have used the other side.

edit: I have been varnishing the back side of the gunwales prior to installing.

Mark
 
Last edited:
Joined
Mar 20, 2013
Messages
3,356
Reaction score
460
Most of mine are stored in an airy old Stone Carriage house. They are Dry. Moisture is the enemy as far as rot.

So yours are stored outside, Any cover ?

That is amazing !

Jim

No cover, but we live in a semi arid area... They are well of the ground! Most of them composite boats, with the few Royalex. One day when I have the money I will own a WC and then it will sleep under cover but not inside the house above the couch hahaha
 
Joined
Mar 20, 2013
Messages
3,356
Reaction score
460
Ha I guess I should post a Survey !

Being a majority on something that's wrong, doesn't make it right ! That's what my Mom told us kids ! :)

How many people thought the world was Flat at one time ??

I'm confident you will see the light !

Maybe on a lake boat, but on a river runner, tripping boat, I want to be able to replace broken gunnels easily. On multi day, multi weeks trips, the boats are not on a rack and don't sleep inside, gunnels get rash, dings and sometimes they break, I want to be able to fix them easily and not have to rebuilt half the boat cause I damaged the hull trying to remove some glued on gunnels!!
 
Joined
Feb 14, 2015
Messages
3,866
Reaction score
625
Location
Iowa
Maybe on a lake boat, but on a river runner, tripping boat, I want to be able to replace broken gunnels easily. On multi day, multi weeks trips, the boats are not on a rack and don't sleep inside, gunnels get rash, dings and sometimes they break, I want to be able to fix them easily and not have to rebuilt half the boat cause I damaged the hull trying to remove some glued on gunnels!!

I suppose while out on a multi week trip, you carry enough supplies to fix gunnels ??? Screws ????

You do Whitewater ! Are most of your hulls trimmed with wood Gunnels ? All the White water hulls I've been around are trimmed in plastic.

I have a Bell Nexus Royalex, Originally designed for tandem use. It's one of the last to come out of the mold. A group of us from Iowa bought 5 or 6 of them. They came without gunnels. We all put plastic gunnels on them. Mine hasn't seen water yet,

One guy in the group wanted a lighter one for his Wife. So I used mine as a Female mold , for a Kevlar/carbon copy.

First pic is my Nexus before using as a mold.

IMG_3013_zpshv7ddaul.jpg
IMG_3013_zpshv7ddaul.jpg

IMG_3013_zpshv7ddaul.jpg

OH ! Pop rivets were used on all of the White Water canoes. Sorry ! I couldn't Glue them on ! :rolleyes:
 
Joined
Mar 20, 2013
Messages
3,356
Reaction score
460
I suppose while out on a multi week trip, you carry enough supplies to fix gunnels ??? Screws ????

You do Whitewater ! Are most of your hulls trimmed with wood Gunnels ? All the White water hulls I've been around are trimmed in plastic.

I have a Bell Nexus Royalex, Originally designed for tandem use. It's one of the last to come out of the mold. A group of us from Iowa bought 5 or 6 of them. They came without gunnels. We all put plastic gunnels on them. Mine hasn't seen water yet,

One guy in the group wanted a lighter one for his Wife. So I used mine as a Female mold , for a Kevlar/carbon copy.

First pic is my Nexus before using as a mold.






OH ! Pop rivets were used on all of the White Water canoes. Sorry ! I couldn't Glue them on ! :rolleyes:

Pretty much all my boats are wood gunnels, even 2 out of 3 royalex boat are wood gunnels, the only one that have vinyl is our Bell Nexus... Our old Dagger Caption is in wood gunnels and since we have nice cold weather I had to fixe about 9 cold crabs into it but that is an other story!! Most commercial composite boats come with aluminum gunnels, most Royalex boats are in vinyl, and most PE boats are in wood or no gunnels at all(integrated gunnels if we can say so, the hull is folded on it self to form a gunnel) I've never had to deal with glued on gunnels and to be honest I don't want to!

As for repair on trip just willow, snare wire and duct tape, but when back home then the gunnels can be easily removed, fixed or replaced and put back on...
 
Last edited:
Joined
Mar 20, 2013
Messages
3,356
Reaction score
460
Ho and that composite nexus must be real nice, cause the RX one is a real tub and heavy, the heaviest boat in our fleet!!
 
Joined
Feb 14, 2015
Messages
3,866
Reaction score
625
Location
Iowa
Ho and that composite nexus must be real nice, cause the RX one is a real tub and heavy, the heaviest boat in our fleet!!

Yes ! The Nexus is a Beast to portage ! One of the reasons I've not been too excited about paddling it.
 
G

Guest

Guest

Hey Jim, do you want deck caps for those vinyl rails?

I may have one (saddly, just one). In this photo

P5130009 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Happy to trace around the lip and mail you the tracing, and if it fits mail you the deck cap.

I also have a pair of Mohawk deck plates for a blunt stemmed WW canoe. Those are ugly brown and a little scraped on the tips, but could be cut down to deck cap size and painted black
 
Joined
Jun 30, 2014
Messages
1,550
Reaction score
278
Mehhh this whole smozzle is naught but sound and fury. We epoxy the inners on strippers and screw the outers. Its just easier that way and there is rarely an issue either way. If there is,we are quite capable of dealing with it. Plastic boats are mostly screwed or riveted on aluminum or plastic T rail so who cares. And Wood canvas are and have always been done with the inners nailed in and the outers screwed on. Each application has its own merits and traditional uses.
 
Top