Bell Magic gunwale replacement

I will be replacing the ash gunwales on my Black Gold Magic this spring. The original wood suffered “end cap rot” due to many days living on top of my car, and now I have to store my boats under wrap outdoors so I an leaning toward aluminum stock.

Yes, yes I know that ash is warmer and classier looking, but I am an old fart and am less inclined to fiddle with Watco than I used to be.

Northwest Canoe has a few gold-anodized two piece gunwale sets as used by Bell (don’t look on the website - their new version is one piece). Very attractive IMO. As far as I can see, there should be no issue with covering the old ash gunwale holes with the new aluminum sets.

Anyone ever go this route? Opinions? Pitfalls I have not anticipated?


Ask Dennis at Northwest
Ask Dennis at Northwest, he will give you the straight skinny on what it takes. He used to work with Ted Bell back in the Bell Days before ORC

Aluminum Rails

– Last Updated: Feb-08-15 9:31 AM EST –

Aluminum rails generally flatter shear and push the stems down, reducing rocker. Also, as they arc from amidships to the stems the inside vertical compresses and the outer is in tension, causing the hull to be loose between rivets. Bell's old and Swift's current two piece rails minimize the inside compression the inner L capturing the laminate pretty well when we start at the center, with a spreader bar and move outwards towards the stems. It is still desirable to prebend the rail outers through a three roller system to reduce the tendency of straight alu sections to bend the skittle down at the stems.

I have a protocol on re-railing that may be helpful; email to receive an electronic copy.

Thanks Charlie
And yes, Dennis at Northwest is who I spoke with. Good to know that the two piece rails are less of a problem than one piece.