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Wenonah vs tree repair

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I had posted looking for advice on how to approach this fiberglass 16.5’ Wenonah Echo a while back and started messing around with reshaping the hull this evening. I drilled out the rivets on the gunnels after marking the thwart locations and taped some battens to the outside. I was happily surprised how the shape came back.
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I need to rip some longer thin strips and will tape or hot glue them to the inside (after scrubbing it out) and start on the outside fiberglass patches. This canoe sits on a rack at a local lake for easy access. It doesn’t need to be pretty, but I am glad it looks like it won’t be a lumpy mess either when it’s done. I’m thinking after the fiberglass some vinyl gunnels, reuse the thwarts, a coat of paint, and I should be in business. I am tempted to make it a solo, but I’ll have to give it some thought.

Advice and suggestions welcome.

Bob
 
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Looks like a candidate for wood gunwales unless you live close enough to a place where you can get aluminum. I’d hate to ship 2 aluminum gunwales!

How much glass damage is there?
 
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Since I keep it outside on a rack, I would prefer something other than wood.
One crease was so bad it tore the fiberglass about 5”s. One of the floatation tanks tore out partially, but that is easy. The other areas seem decent. I will lay some 4oz cloth on the inside where it was out of shape. I have some 6oz tape for the areas that need more attention. I need some bigger pieces of peel ply too.

I hope not to have too much in the repairs when done, but I do like how it paddles and would hate to see it thrown out.
 
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Wow that poor thing got crunched pretty bad. Glad to see it sprung back into shape as well as it did.
 
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Since I keep it outside on a rack, I would prefer something other than wood.
One crease was so bad it tore the fiberglass about 5”s. One of the floatation tanks tore out partially, but that is easy. The other areas seem decent. I will lay some 4oz cloth on the inside where it was out of shape. I have some 6oz tape for the areas that need more attention. I need some bigger pieces of peel ply too.

I hope not to have too much in the repairs when done, but I do like how it paddles and would hate to see it thrown out.
I'd give these folk a call and talk money https://northwestcanoe.com/gunwale-replacement

It is possible that Collinsville Canoe and Kayak in Collisville CT has a way to get ,gunwales. Shipping alu gunwales is a horror story for the individual. If its part of a larger shipment prices may be better. Heck you are almost in their backyard.
 
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I'd give these folk a call and talk money https://northwestcanoe.com/gunwale-replacement

It is possible that Collinsville Canoe and Kayak in Collisville CT has a way to get ,gunwales. Shipping alu gunwales is a horror story for the individual. If its part of a larger shipment prices may be better. Heck you are almost in their backyard.
I was thinking that! I drive near them on the way to work. I was also going to check all the shops on the way to Paul Smiths next month if they can't help me. It is always dangerous walking in those places...
 
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McCrae well remebers the (wrong) aluminum gunwales Mad River sent me for the Fantasy. MR shipped them to a local canoe shop with a load of their canoes, and I imagine Wenonah will do the same. The shipping was free. I ordered through the local shop (Springriver, now defunct). I don’t think Collinsville Canoe is a Wenonah dealer but you can find one closest to you on the Wenonah site:

When you can get the gunwales depends on when the shop gets a shipment of canoes, so it might be worth inquiring at all the shops within driving distance.

I’m with Bob on aluminum or vinyl. Wood gunwales are lovely, but I’d rather spend time paddling than spend time sanding and oiling gunwales. Lazy!
 
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Thanks Chip!

Ash is tempting since I have it on hand, but this will sit out from April-October. I don’t want to do it again!
 
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I have been pricing out my options on gunnels and I don't like them even sans shipping- too expensive for this canoe. I have a fair amount of metal working experience and am thinking of making my own out of aluminum. I can get 6063 locally in the lengths I need for around $30 for everything. I was thinking of a simple 1" square tube on the inside and 1" angle on the outside with the edge rolled.

Here's the tricky bit. Aluminum doesn't like to bend (speaking in general terms). Some bends nicely, but would dent easily. You can anneal it to bend more easily, but I don't have a 16' long brake and I need a tight radius. This would be the "correct" approach and be super fast. I could make one with some long lumber and bar stock, but now we are spending money again. What I can do with what I have is after annealing, running it through a bead roller to get the edge going and bending it over with some simple duck bill pliers and a small dowel or round bar that gives me the right radius. Thoughts? Bonkers idea? Just buy the gunnels you frugal Nutmegger?

Here is a crude illustration.

Bob

gunnel.png
 
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McCrae well remebers the (wrong) aluminum gunwales Mad River sent me for the Fantasy. MR shipped them to a local canoe shop with a load of their canoes, and I imagine Wenonah will do the same. The shipping was free. I ordered through the local shop (Springriver, now defunct). I don’t think Collinsville Canoe is a Wenonah dealer but you can find one closest to you on the Wenonah site

Yes Chipe, McCrae does well remember them. Not fondly, but distinctly. Those were the second set of gunwales incorrectly ordered, and we were going to put them on come hell or high water.

Those were MRC aluminum gunwales. Same as Wenonahs, they came as one piece, straight, not pre-bent for the sheerline curve aluminum gunwales.

It took three of us, two metal bladed putty knives, a rubber mallet and a thousand curse words to get them fitted, and I remember deforming the top of one gunwale with a GOD DAMMIT mallet blow.

Never freaking again. The sheerline channel on one piece aluminum gunwales wants to squeeze closed as the un-pre-bent sheerline channel is seated curving along the hull. I still have nightmares.

Wenonah (still) uses a one piece aluminum gunwale system. Other manufactures have gone to two piece aluminum gunwale system; an outwale section that come up, over the composite sheerline, and a simple _I section that backs it up as the inwale. Like this:

https://northwestcanoe.com/shop/ols/products/aluminum-gunwale

FWIW those two piece aluminum gunwale systems won’t work with Royalex hulls; the sheerline material thickness can push the inner L piece out too far exposed.

Also FWIW a friend is right now having a composite Wenonah Rendezvous regunwaled with 2-piece aluminum. That’s not blamable on a falling tree, it’s what happens when you forget to tie off the bow line and drive over it with a front tire; shattered the inwales and outwales one each side at the roof rack.

I would say “Only Tom”, but I know have seen two other people do that ugly trick, although none of them so thoroughly destroyed a canoe. One ripped off a vinyl deck plate where the bow line was tied, one dented their van roof and shattered the windshield (Disco 174, the canoe was fine).

I’m pretty sure Northstar uses a 2-piece aluminum gunwale system, and maybe Swift as well.

If you opt for aluminum a Northstar or Swift dealer might be able to have a set of 2-piece aluminum gunwales delivered with their next load of canoes.

Bring an extension ladder (or a long canoe) on your roof racks when you go to pick them up, whether vinyl or aluminum they will be floppy as hell on the drive home. With a canoe you can slide the new gunwales under the seats and thwarts, even if some sticks out each end.

I recommend Duct taping them in place. Rope or even cam straps do not hold them in place securely enough. Driving down the road and seeing one inwale piece slowly growing in length like Pinocchio’s nose in front of your windshield is not as amusing as the Disney classic.

You can guess how I know.
 
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I have been pricing out my options on gunnels and I don't like them even sans shipping- too expensive for this canoe. I have a fair amount of metal working experience and am thinking of making my own out of aluminum. I can get 6063 locally in the lengths I need for around $30 for everything. I was thinking of a simple 1" square tube on the inside and 1" angle on the outside with the edge rolled.

Here's the tricky bit. Aluminum doesn't like to bend (speaking in general terms). Some bends nicely, but would dent easily. You can anneal it to bend more easily, but I don't have a 16' long brake and I need a tight radius. This would be the "correct" approach and be super fast. I could make one with some long lumber and bar stock, but now we are spending money again. What I can do with what I have is after annealing, running it through a bead roller to get the edge going and bending it over with some simple duck bill pliers and a small dowel or round bar that gives me the right radius. Thoughts? Bonkers idea? Just buy the gunnels you frugal Nutmegger?

Here is a crude illustration.

Bob

View attachment 131107

You are so a gunwale-ninja if you do this!

I would think a 1" square tube would be more stiffness than you need. Can you get 3/4"?

Have you considered blowing off the outwale bend and just using a simple strip of 1" (or 3/4") aluminum for the outwale (i.e., almost no outwale -- a long washer)? A lot of performance oriented Wenonahs are built inwale only, often with a 3/4" wood inwale made of three laminated strips of spruce. I don't think of the Echo as a boat that would require a lot of gunwale pries.
 
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Have you considered blowing off the outwale bend and just using a simple strip of 1" (or 3/4") aluminum for the outwale (i.e., almost no outwale -- a long washer)?
No…. But I am now. - thank you! They did have 3/4, but the 1” was cheaper. I think they had boat loads of it. I hope to start tinkering with it soon.
 
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I like the color. In the same thrifty vein of the homemade gunnels, this is a mix of Ace Hardware brand “Safety Blue” enamel and white.
I did not spray this one- I rolled and my 6 year old tipped. He’s getting pretty good.
Excuse the messy garage- there are many subtle layers of disorganization.
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I scrapped my original idea after bending some square tube stock I had. The thickness I could get locally would not bend nicely with the available tools. I was able to get some inexpensive 1/8” flat bar (thank you Goonstroke for planting the seed). It is 1 1/2” width which isn’t ideal, but like I said it was cheap. I put the 16’ pieces on a 12’ deck board.
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For what it’s worth, I did call every canoe shop near me and on the way to the Adirondacks and no one was able to get any prefab gunnels till September and they didn’t fill me with confidence. I heard from two shops Wenonah isn’t selling their gunnels at this time- supply issues and they are keeping what they got for new canoes. I got into a few slightly contentious discussions with folks that answered the phones that only a Wenonah brand gunnel would work 🙄. Only one shop was willing to order anything generic.

So, my rivet gun and I got to work-Miserable work. I enjoy woodworking, fiberglassing, painting, and even sanding compared to what was ahead. Every 8 inches I drilled and squished a rivet. Cut the excess squished end off and planished/peened the inside end flat. I have several left to go and the thwarts and grab handles.
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It is working and will be fine for my intended purpose of sitting on a lakeside rack for easy access. I do not recommend going this route unless you are in a bind and/or cannot source replacements. Way too many hours to make this cost effective. I have $50 in the gunnels and probably 4-5 hours and I am using pneumatic tools. After the cross pieces are in, the inside will get a good scrubbing and paint. All complaining aside, it will look nice in my opinion and I’m happy it didn’t get junked.

Bob
 

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Bob, any plans to cap the top edge of the flat bar gunwales with something?

The easiest, though not the least expensive, would be something like cockpit trim edge.

https://topkayaker.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=1606

Any skinny tubing, slit lengthwise, would work. I can say from long ago experience that slit garden hose works, but isn’t especially attractive.

Ideas for other skinny tubing, split-able or pre-split?
 
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I was looking at similar on Amazon. I’m on the fence- the aluminum has no sharp edges and it would slide on and off the rack easier with no cap. I will see how it looks and feels after the thwarts are in.

Is there a benefit I am missing?
 
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Being fiberglass I would want the top edge of the fiberglass “cordoned off” from hands etc. it looks like the aluminum is proud of the glass? Maybe just a bead of caulk?
 
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I wanted to finalize this. I got around to finding edge trim to fit. I found some waterproof 3M double sided tape for some insurance. It fit tight without it. It will serve its purpose and I’m glad it’s back in service. I would avoid this hassle in the future if the two piece aluminum or vinyl gunnels are available local.
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Bob
 

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