Need wooden gunwale info

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I recently purchase a mad river canoe that needs some repairs. Although the hull is in good shape, the wood gunwales are gone along with the seats, etc. I am going to make my own, however, I would like to know if someone could give me the measurements of the wooden gunwales on their canoe? Pictures would help also. Thanks a lot!!
 
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Good luck with the gunwales. I'll bet you could get some good info from Mad River.

Another option is to buy new ones from Mad River. A set for a 16 foot boat runs about $200. If you have Mad River ship them to a deal along with an order of boats (bought by the dealer) they won't charge for shipping. Or so I was told two years ago when I was considering something similar.
 
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Buy some kind of hardwood, as long as you can get it. Buy it 3/4 inch dressed. Then get access to a table saw and rip it into 3/4 inch width as well. Cut a scarf joint and glue the pieces together to fit your canoe. Then, if you have access to a router, run the full length pieces through, using a half inch moulding bit for the outside gunwales. This will round off one side. Run the other corner through 1/4 inch. For your inside gunwales, just run both outside edges through a 1/4 inch. Sand them up and replace.

If you don't have any of those tools, just sand them with an orbital sander.

You can get real fancy with your gunwales, or you can slap them on, it's basically whatever you can live with.
 
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I'm a fan of mahogany, it's light, strong and rot resistant, important after you rub away all the varnish that you don't replace.
mem's descriptions are just about right.
 
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I actually epoxy my gunwales first, usually with system three clearcoat, then three coats of varnish. Bomb proof!
 
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I would use ash, and varnish (Epifanes, if you can afford it).

A couple of questions,
Where do you live?
What size and model canoe?
Do you have enough information as to where the seat(s) and thwart(s) go? I bought a rotted out MR canoe with all the drilled seat and thwart holes rotted out and it took a while finding the correct spots for the seats and thwarts.
Did you save the hardware? I have some ss seat bolts I will never use, free.
Do you need inner (inwales) and outer gunnels, or just the outside rails (gunnels)

Some smaller lumber mills will cut long length hardwoods. Others stock it or might know of a source. Also, if you research over at the Wooden Canoe Heritage Assc. (wcha.org) there is a builders section with links to builders through out US and Canada where you might be able to find long gunnel material, avoiding the need to splice.
 
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Originals were ash. It is possible to refinish them even if they are in very rough shape.
 
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I live in southern Indiana. My buddy has a sawmill, and I plan on using ash. The old gunwales are completely gone, no seats, no thwarts. I'm starting from scratch, still trying to find out what model it is. I have done some wood working and feel like it can do this with ease. I am just looking for some ideas. I'd like to see some more measurements and pictures. Thanks for all the info so far. I do hope I can figure out seat placement. I'm wanting to lap my gunwales over the hull body so it's not exposed
 
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What's the hull made of? The length alone should tell you what model it is. I have an old (mid-'90s) Mad River catalogue that might be of use here. Once we know the model someone with one of them can tell you where the seats are placed. If in doubt, there's a method using torque calculations that will get the seats pretty close. I'll explain if needed, but let's first find out what it is.
 
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I'm not exactly sure what the hull is made from. It is 3/8" thick and appears to have a red skin over the outside. It measures almost 15'-9" tip to tip. From what I've read, it is suppose to have a number under the gunwale but I am unable to find anything. Thanks for any information. I'm hoping to be canoeing in a few weeks
 
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Does it have a V bottom, which means the bottom slopes down towards the middle from both sides or is the bottom flat.
 
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It has a slight V bottom. From what I've read, I believe the hull is Royalex
 
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Not sure, could it be a Malicite? 15'9" sounds like the right length. Hold something arcoss the top of the sides mid canoe and measure to the floor, that might help id it.
 
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Royalex is 3/8" thick so you're right about the material.

The Malecite is 16'6" and it was not made in Royalex. The vinyl version of the Malecite was the Eclipse (made of lightweight Royalex called Royalite), and it measured 16'2". I know, I had one.

My 1996 MR catalog shows two 16' Rx boats, the Explorer (also its identical twin the Duck Hunter) and the Freedom. They were similar except the Freedom had a slightly different hull shape and a 2-inch higher bow. These boats are the closest the catalog has to a 15'9" boat.

I imagine the hull has relaxed and is wider than it was originally. It's possible that it started out at or very close to 16'. See if you can pull the sides in until they're 36" apart (just wrap a strap or a piece of rope around it). Then measure the length again. While the sides are pulled in, also measure the height of the bow, center and stern. That might help.

The hull ID number should be an inch or two below the top edge of the hull on the left side, a foot or less in front of the stern. Look for a metal plate or tag. All three of my MR canoes (Explorer, Eclipse and Independence) had metal plates riveted to the hull with the ID on them. Yours might, too.
 
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Got the canoe up on some sawhorses tonight in the garage. It measures 36" center at the gunwales and 15'-11" tip to tip. Not sure what the best way to measure bow, center and stern height may be. Holding a tape from the bow and stern, measuring down on outside of hull and eyeballing back to bottom of hull, my best guess is 20" high on each. Still no ID tag to be found or evidence that it ever had one.
Another question I have, is can the outer skin be painted over? It is faded and lacks luster. I thought I may do a camo paint job over it since it will primarily be bused for hunting and fishing.
 
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I'd guess you have a Royalex Explorer. The specs for that boat indicate 22-inch high bow and stern height with a 15-inch center height, and a 35" beam. I wonder if it's possible you have an Endurall, which was the Explorer's predecessor, built 1974-1980. I don't have a catalogue that old so can't be sure. I'll bet Mad River could help you out.
 
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I agree it sounds like an Explorer model. Keep in mind when making gunwales if the canoe has tumble home you will get better results if you put a bevel on the side of the gunwale that connects to the hull. The bevel is greatest at the center thwart usually. Many people will measure the bevel at the center and at the ends and then average it out.
 
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Thanks for info. Does that catalog show seat and thwart placement?
 
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