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Thwart and yoke plates

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I picked up a used Old Town Discovery 164 it has these support plates on the ends of the thwart and carry yoke. I’ve never seen them on an Old Town canoe any else? They look like they were factory installed.

thanks
ruttrowe
 

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Glenn MacGrady

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I don't recall seeing such plates before, but I'm not that familiar with the OT Discovery line. I guess the general idea is to add strength, but I don't know why that would be needed. Is it a very heavy canoe? It also looks like an opportunity for water to creep under those plates and collect in a hard to dry area, perhaps increasing rot potential. Probably not worth removing, though, as you'd then have thwarts with screw holes in them.
 
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I have seen probably a thousand Discovery canoes in various models but most have been Disco 164s and 169s. These canoes have been extremely popular models with outfitters and canoe liveries. I have never seen anything like that on a Discovery canoe. Nor do they serve any purpose that I can see.

Possibly the thwarts and yokes suffered some end rot, a very common problem, and a prior owner resorted to that arrangement when the existing machine screw holes rotted along the end grain and were no longer sound.
 
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Googled the # on the plate it’s a Simpson strong tie plate that someone had to have had bent to go around the thwart.
Hard to imagine why that person felt they were necessary. Thwarts usually fail because they rot at the ends due to moisture entering the end grain and machine screw holes, or they break. When they break they usually do so near the center. In synthetic gunwales without metal inserts the machine screws will sometimes break through the top of the weak inwales, but those braces would not be of help in preventing either of those occurrences.

Apart from adding unnecessary weight those devices may actually increase the potential for wet rot of the wood by introducing seven additional screw holes into which water can gain entry into the wood, and by creating a water trap under which moisture can accumulate between the metal and the wood.
 
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Maybe there was some mishap and the bolt got pulled out the end grain of the thwart. That’s the only explanation I can think of. Of course you would have to take it all apart to verify that theory.
Jim
 
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