Brand New Baby Bell

This very day I brought home the canoe I’ve been wanting for years: A Bell Morningstar, black gold, wood trim. Do any of you have any advice for keeping her in tip top shape…yes, there will be owies…this I know. This is a spanking new boat and I want to do the right thing.

Just keep the wood oiled. The English
tend to buy short tandems, and I often recommend the Morningstar as a pocket tandem that’s not a pig in a poke.

Use it
It’s a functional tool, so use it and enjoy it. When performing its natural function it will wear out on the bottom just like an expensive hiking boot or car tire.

That said, store it indoors as much as possible. This will protect both the hull and wood.

Always do wet entries and exits from the canoe while it is afloat. This will avoid grinding the composite hull on the ground or shore.

Oil the gunwales with Watco Teak oil at least twice a year, or coat them with 6 coats of urethane spar varnish every three or four years.

Thankyou…excellent points.

Those are really nice canoes. I concur with the above comments - get out and paddle. Put some “beausage” on that thing!

That is a gem of a boat.

Good points about getting out and using it and accepting the character marks that come with use.

Keeping it indoors would be great if you can.

Wet footing as noted above is great if you can do that. Gently coach friends and family about that. Slow down when approaching shore. Red Rock Store has some nice tutorials on taking care of a composite hull when beaching, launching, etc.

One place hulls can get damaged is when tied to a dock, or resting on the shore. The boats are light and wind and wave action can move them against things, rock them back and forth against a dock or a rock, etc. Learn to watch out for this and take appropriate steps like turning the hull over when beached if its not loaded heavily, tying it down, maybe using your kneeling pad to cushion it when setting it on rocks. Winds and wave action can change dramatically in the time it takes to eat a sandwich or answer nature’s call.

Oiling the gunnels is a pretty quick and easy task and gives you a chance to admire the boat.

Consider making yourself a set of cradles like Ted Moores shows in his book Canoe Craft. They make it very easy to position the canoe at different angles for cleaning and maintenance.


"One place hulls can get damaged is when tied to a dock"

another place ultralight hulls can get damaged is when tieing on the roof rack - just enough tension is what I go for - don’t crank down too tight or you can damage the hull.

Thank you all…
I indeed plan to enjoy the Bell!! I live in an area where I am surrounded by 1,500 lakes and countless streams and rivers…Presque Isle : “almost an island”. I have paddled my faithful Old Town for 15 years and my many kayaks on most of these waters. Tonight we are taking the Morningstar for its baptismal paddle. Thank you for the cheers and good ideas.