30 year old Mad River

I just brought home from my parents house their old Mad River Canoe that is at least 30 years old. My mom bought some new gunwales for my dad about 8 years ago and he has never put them on. I thought I would put them on then say thanks for the canoe :slight_smile: Can anyone give me some advise on what is the best way to put the wooden gunwales on. The old gunwales have been off for a few years now so I really don’t have a way to make a good jig.

Lots of questions
I sent you and email.

There are a number of things we/you need to know about the canoe before we can recommend the best plan of action for the your repair.


Start by reading this

Think, plan, ask questions here. The people here are very knowelegeable and willing to help.

I’m also doing the same thing, follow along;


Re-Rail Job

– Last Updated: May-19-09 9:03 AM EST –

Initially, You want to preserve the data you have; swinging arcs from a stem to relocate seats and thwarts. Write those numbers down.

After that, prep the rails, including predrilling the inwales on 6" centers.

After that, follow the Bell / Placid rail install protocol using the center thwart to spread the hull and rails; eliminating screw torque/stress.

As I can't attach that protocol to an email through P Nets system, you'll have to email me at charliewilson610@roadrunner.com to get it.

Mad River Canoe gunwale repair
All good info. Here’s another aid to your project:


Paddle on!

I tried to send you some pics in e-mail but it kept rejecting the emails…you have another address I can send it to?


looked at the vid. , a picture is worth
… a thousand words they say .

I have but one question … why weren’t the inners and outers prefinished before installation ??

Shouldn’t they be sealed well , at least on the mating sides first … or put another way , here is the first and last chance to seal them , after the fact only seals 3 of the 4 edges (same with drilled holes, seal before bolt) .

penetrating oil

– Last Updated: May-27-09 9:23 AM EST –

I would treat the insides of your outwales and the outside of your inwales with multiple applications of a good penetrating oil such as Watco's, Teak Oil, or Deks Olje.

It is quite possible to remove your gunwales every few years or so to re oil these areas.

I know there are not any markings the thwart and the chairs were already taken out when I went to pick up the canoe…

The holes are there, right?

– Last Updated: May-20-09 5:34 PM EST –

That's what you need to get the locations

Or are the old gunnels long gone?

old gunwale
The old gunwales are LONGGGGG gone so I have no markings at all for placement

What Model
Do you know what model Mad River it is? Is there a label on the boat? Is the little metal badge with serial number still on the boat?

He sent pictures
It’s an older RX Explorer.

some specs
MRC 16’ Royalex Explorer:

Length 16’ Gunwale width 35" 4" waterline width 33"

Center depth 15" bow and stern height 22"

Hull shape symmetrical

MRC 17’ Royalex Explorer:

Length 17’ 2" Gunwale width 37" waterline width 34"

Center depth 15" bow and stern height 22"

Hull shape symmetrical

The 17’ Royalex Explorer dissapeared from the MRC catalog between 1991 and 1992. It was pictured in catalogs prior to 1992 as having one center thwart/portage yoke, one thwart sternward of center about midway between the center and the leading edge of the stern seat, and a short carry handle/thwart about 4 or 5 inches from each deck plate.

The 16’ Royalex Explorer had and has a single center thwart/portage yoke and a short carry handle/thwart within 6 inches of the deck plate on each end, no other thwarts.

It should be easy to determine which Rx Explorer it is. Seat position can be estimated from overhead views of the boat from old MRC catalogs (which I have). If the original deckplates are available, they can serve as a guide for the gunwale shape at the stems.

Boat Numbers
I found some numbers on the boat it was marked 3340 don’t know if that will help you to see when it was built or anything like that.

I have got one side of the inner and outter gunwale complete. How do you make the nose of the outter gunwale make a nice and round piece I was thinking of cutting 2 45’s then wood glue a tradazoid shape piece between the 2 then sand down the edges.

Deck plates
Do you have the original deck plates for this canoe? If so, are they the flat type that screw down onto the top of the gunwales? If you don’t have them, do you plan to make deck plates that fit inside the inwales and are flush with the tops? If so you can buy blanks for this purpose.

I have the orginal deck plates and yes they are the type the screw down on top of the gunwales, I think they are held on by 6 screws or something like that… speaking of screws man SS screws suck .20 each screw I got 100 #8 1.5inch

I don’t know what MRC did

– Last Updated: May-27-09 2:26 PM EST –

when that boat was made. Many canoes with wood gunwales had the inwale continue beyond the stem of the hull. A notch is cut in the bottom of the inwale to accomodate the hull, then the inwales are trimmed so that they meet at the midline of the boat, and continue forward to fill in the space between the outwales.

If you have already cut the inwale on one side so that it stops at the inside of the hull, you obviously won't be able to do this, but you can shape a piece of wood to butt against the stem of the hull and fill in the space between the outwales. Your last screws on each side of the outwale should be staggered enough so that they don't run into each other.

The deck plate will cover up the ends of the inwales and some of the ends of the outwales so the cosmetics are not as critical as if you had a flush-fit deck plate. You will need a dozen or so smaller SS screws to secure the deck plates.