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Mystery canoe, what does it need?

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Someone on FB marketplace listed a free 17 gallon (edit: foot…no sleep makes for errors) canoe and I had it in my truck before the end of the night.

The family was listing all sorts of items which they inherited from a recently deceased father. They had two canoes, this one was a bit of a project. They said the father had built this canoe but he never finished it or used it.

I cleaned it and inspected it. I don’t know much about it. I feel like it might have been a kit, just a whim. There are no rubs or scratches to indicate any landing in the water or signs of license stickers. There are signs that they didn’t store it carefully. Sitting upside down without proper support, for example, led to some small cracks that will need to be repaired. I need to replace the yoke and thwarts, as they seemed to have had the most exposure to water and soil. I also need to redo the seat webbing but the wood is solid and just needs refinishing. The exterior finish on the fiberglass has superficial checking from weather, lichens and maybe hail, so it will need refinishing. All really good so far.

Otherwise the keel is sort of a sandwiched thing with each half of the canoe rivetted together. There is a small gap on the underside where the two halves meet. It looks like it was once packed with body filler. This might need work but not sure what kind. What is this kind of keel even called? I would love to be able to search comparable designs.

Also, the gunwales have no metal, vinyl or wood, just a right angled lip in the fiberglass. Do I need more? If so, what style is recommended? The design doesn’t seem too compatible with the tutorials and commercial gunwales I have found as those seem to be for completely vertical gunwales.

What work do you see? What do you think they didn’t “finish”? Does anyone know who may have made this canoe?
 

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Well, first time I've heard of a canoe being classified by gallons, lol. Anything free is always a good thing, but sometimes things are free for a reason. I wouldn't put much money into that hull if you decide to improve it. Maybe put it in some water the way it is now and put two people in it and see if the hull stays together, or if it seems overly "flexy". Looks like a good candidate as a loaner for the in laws.
 
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Oh holy crap, can you tell I was running on two nights no sleep? Haha. I think I will have to put some makeshift thwarts and a yoke in to do that teat but good suggestion to start.
 
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They said the father had built this canoe but he never finished it or used it

I’m going to guess it was a kit boat, possibly sold as left & right halves to be joined together and outfitted by the purchaser.

Despite a predilection for refurbishing dumpster ready canoes I’d be hesitant to sink a lot of expense or effort into it.

What does it need?

A thorough scrubbing; it is hard to tell what you have to work with when dirt encrusted.

If the seats are salvageable new lacing.

A new thwart.

Some epoxy work on the gel coat cracks and breaks.

I gotta ask, what is the (wood?) strip with the moss growing from it. Is that a stem keel where the halves were joined together? Whatever it is, it’s a gonner. If it is a keel joint you are going to need to go all the way back to separated left and right halves.
 
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They said the father had built this canoe but he never finished it or used it

I’m going to guess it was a kit boat, possibly sold as left & right halves to be joined together and outfitted by the purchaser.

Despite a predilection for refurbishing dumpster ready canoes I’d be hesitant to sink a lot of expense or effort into it.

What does it need?

A thorough scrubbing; it is hard to tell what you have to work with when dirt encrusted.

If the seats are salvageable new lacing.

A new thwart.

Some epoxy work on the gel coat cracks and breaks.

I gotta ask, what is the (wood?) strip with the moss growing from it. Is that a stem keel where the halves were joined together? Whatever it is, it’s a gonner. If it is a keel joint you are going to need to go all the way back to separated left and right halves.

I was thinking the exact same about it being a kit. I can’t find anything like it online so if you have suggestions let me know.

This is after the scrubbing, haha, I’ll attach a photo from the listing.

The seats are sturdy and even functioned as my attachment point for strapping it into my truck bed. They do need sanding and refinishing in addition to new webbing.

You saw exactly what my biggest concern is, that is the keel in the center of the boat. It’s not wood though, just two sections of fiber sandwiched together with what looks like a little body filler inside. If I were able to redo that seam, would it stay bare or would there usually be a anything covering it?

I understand that a lot of folks would probably be worried about this being a lost cause and I will definitely take that into consideration, but even if you would consider it a waste, please humor me and tell me what a person without enough sense might do to “finish” this boat.

I may or may not be the type of person who likes lost causes simply for the sake of learning new skills. I have an aluminum jon boat which, in the next couple of weeks, will have some splits braised and have 110 solid rivets replaced. If I don't paint it, that restoration will only cost around $80 though, so I understand with wood work that this canoe might prove even more expensive, I would still like to know my options so that I can weigh it all out.

Thanks for the info so far guys, it is very helpful. I probably won’t get to test it in the lake to see how much it flexes until the weekend (with temporary thwarts).
 

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They said the father had built this canoe but he never finished it or used it

I’m going to guess it was a kit boat, possibly sold as left & right halves to be joined together and outfitted by the purchaser.

Despite a predilection for refurbishing dumpster ready canoes I’d be hesitant to sink a lot of expense or effort into it.

What does it need?

A thorough scrubbing; it is hard to tell what you have to work with when dirt encrusted.

If the seats are salvageable new lacing.

A new thwart.

Some epoxy work on the gel coat cracks and breaks.

I gotta ask, what is the (wood?) strip with the moss growing from it. Is that a stem keel where the halves were joined together? Whatever it is, it’s a gonner. If it is a keel joint you are going to need to go all the way back to separated left and right halves.
Oh, the keel photo was also before I finished scrubbing it, so that’s why that looks so rough.
 
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There were a lot of weird kit boats sold back in the sixties, often in Popular Mechanics and the like.

We had a Trailcraft frame, intended to be a fabric colored skeleton that was started by a Boy Scout troop and left abandoned in a church basement for 20 years. And a pair of similar framed-but-never-skinned “Water Shoes”, small pontoons meant to be worn on your feet for “walking” across water.

It was a time of crazy kits ideas; I wouldn’t expect many of those oddities to still have a presence on the net.

Well, I stand corrected; here the Trailcraft skin on frame thing:

http://www.wcha.org/forums/index.php?threads/trailcraft-dimensions.2731/
 
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There were a lot of weird kit boats sold back in the sixties, often in Popular Mechanics and the like.

We had a Trailcraft frame, intended to be a fabric colored skeleton that was started by a Boy Scout troop and left abandoned in a church basement for 20 years. And a pair of similar framed-but-never-skinned “Water Shoes”, small pontoons meant to be worn on your feet for “walking” across water.

It was a time of crazy kits ideas; I wouldn’t expect many of those oddities to still have a presence on the net.

Well, I stand corrected; here the Trailcraft skin on frame thing:

http://www.wcha.org/forums/index.php?threads/trailcraft-dimensions.2731/
Thank you, that was an interesting dive, haha.

You have any thoughts how this keel was meant to be finished? I really can’t find anything like it, kit or otherwise. Haha, I don’t even know what words to search to find it.
 
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Just enlarged the picture of the canoe. So if you sand the edge of the keel, do the two sides look like they are mated? Are there any gaps? I wonder what would happen if you knocked one of those keel rivets out. Without seeing it first hand, my instinct would be to lay a six inch wide strip of s glass in the hollow on the inside and epoxy it in, and do something similar along the outer keel, although the sharp edge will make it difficult.
 
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Just enlarged the picture of the canoe. So if you sand the edge of the keel, do the two sides look like they are mated? Are there any gaps? I wonder what would happen if you knocked one of those keel rivets out. Without seeing it first hand, my instinct would be to lay a six inch wide strip of s glass in the hollow on the inside and epoxy it in, and do something similar along the outer keel, although the sharp edge will make it difficult.
I have kind of used a pick to clean out the moss and there is somewhat of a gap, not large and not sure if it goes all the way, but the keel is sealed on the inside of the canoe to make a solid floor, so a hole here won’t leak. It might hold liquid and cause deterioration though.

I was contemplating sanding it to make an even keel, removing all the rivets, roughing it up inside and then clamping it with some fresh epoxy. That seems similar to what you were describing unless I misunderstand.
 
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I was thinking the along the same lines......remove the keel completely, sand it down with a belt sander to be flat with the hull, fill any gaps with thickened epoxy, and then run a strip of glass, say 12 inches wide, along the length of the keel. I would be tempted to do something similar to the "gunwales" as well, remove the extruding fiberglass and maybe slap a set of wooden gunwales on.....you could possibly win the pigs ear/silk purse transformation award.
 
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I was thinking the along the same lines......remove the keel completely, sand it down with a belt sander to be flat with the hull, fill any gaps with thickened epoxy, and then run a strip of glass, say 12 inches wide, along the length of the keel. I would be tempted to do something similar to the "gunwales" as well, remove the extruding fiberglass and maybe slap a set of wooden gunwales on.....you could possibly win the pigs ear/silk purse transformation award.
I was contemplating putting either wood or even metal conduit under that bend in the gunwales to just add a bit of rigidity. Any thoughts on that?
 
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I'm with Mem, grind that abomination of a keel off completely, re-glass the keel line on the inside, build up enough layers on the outside to reinforce it, stiffen it, and build up proper stems(one 10", one 8", one 6", and so on), slice off the rim completely and fit ash or cherry gunwales and decks, and replace the seats and thwarts with new...
or fill it with dirt and add some flowers because whatever you do, I suspect it will be a heavy and ugly beast
 
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“I'm with Mem, grind that abomination of a keel off completely, re-glass the keel line on the inside, build up enough layers on the outside to reinforce it, stiffen it, and build up proper stems(one 10", one 8", one 6", and so on), slice off the rim completely and fit ash or cherry gunwales and decks, and replace the seats and thwarts with new...”

I’m with Mem and Scoutergriz as far as removing the keel goes, and that, some belt sander time, glass tape and epoxy, at least isn’t onerously expensive.

And I’m kinda with Griz about

“or fill it with dirt and add some flowers because whatever you do, I suspect it will be a heavy and ugly beast”

Proper stems, ash or cherry gunwale and decks, new seats and thwarts; it is hard for dumpster diver me to say this, but there are far better beater boats to resurrect using proper materials and technique. The repairs might be worth a shot if you could keep the expense at a minimum. At least it would be a good technique learning experience, until something beater better comes along.

The first canoe “repairs” I did involved things like split garden hose gunwale “covers”, attached with construction adhesive, and later patches made with auto-store fiberglass and poly resin. Ehhh, egads, there may be been some Bondo involved. Spray paint. Lots of kevlar felt.

I have no regrets beyond the then unskilled craftsmanship. They all floated, and saw another life, and often (“Uh, 80lb canoe”) got passed along to someone else.

Tgrim, I don’t know where you are located, but in most of the east coast US decent used canoes, with rotted wood gunwales and brightwork, are not fairy dust unicorns. Not Colemans, Pelicans, or poly “Adventure” canoe common, but not Halley’s comet rare (next visit 2062).

In lieu of a flowerbed maybe chunk that thing together with minimal expense, and keep your eye out for the next, better, rebuild candidate.

If you need to order materials, fiberglass tape and epoxy for sure if the keel is coming off, it makes for less expensive shipping to source it all from one vendor. These guys stock most everything:

https://www.jamestowndistributors.com/home

Hardware, sealants, etc are big-box hardware available. I should note that a liberal caulk gun application of Liquid Nails construction adhesive adds noticeable weight.

Oh, yeah, please weight it, as is, and after you do any “repairs”. I have an as-is guess, but it isn’t a contest. At least yet.
 
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