Broke inwale on my Malecite

I’m pretty sure I can splice it back together (it made a long split of about 8") and then reinforce it. But It may be easier to replace it. Does anyone know of a good source for such an inwale? If it’s a distance maybe someone could bring one to Raystown … just a thought.

As for how, my first “re-entry” back to the beach from the ocean was not timed very well. It really wasn’t very ugly at all. But when I was carrying it I looked up to see the inwale broke at one of the front seat holes. Goes with the territory I guess.

I was under the impression that they stocked such items.


how about

– Last Updated: Aug-08-09 2:40 PM EST –

just replacing a segment of the inwale? Get a piece of ash a foot or so long of approximate size, shape it to match, scarf the ends of your existing inwale at both ends of the break and make a matching scarf on the new segment. Glue it in with either West System epoxy or DAP 2 part resorcinol adhesive. Screw it tight to the outwale and clamp. Then you could drill a hole for the seat hanger in the new, unbroken segment.

I believe Mad River put the rabbet on the outwale rather than the inwale, but I might be mistaken. If the rabbet is on the inwale then you would have to rabbet the new segment.


Thanks guys
I’ll take it apart, see what it looks like, and try to repair it. Probably the way Pete suggested. If that doesn’t seem feasible (don’t know why it wouldn’t be) I’ll call our friends at BMO.

Lots of folks do not like to do a
complete repair. If you replace the whole gunwale, the record of the story is gone…

I agree with Pete.

Ha. Funny you mention that
I was thinking kind of the same thing. A splice will add yet another beauty mark.

The stupid thing is, the waves weren’t big at all. Probably the next to the smallest I’ve ever done while here. When they are bigger, my mind gets focused like a laser, and I’ll lay back, watch the breakers, and plan my re-entry for a while. But since they were so small, I just charged right in, backwards, and got nailed over the bow.

Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy.

I was thinking Ed’s too.
There were some negative comments re: Eds in another thread pertaining to the quality of the scarf joints of their gunwale replacement system. Buyer beware. But on an inwale the scarf might not be as obvious. And they would probably sell you just one inwale kit. They have sold me wood milled to my specifications and I was quite pleased.


Vermont Canoe
Don’t know how jammed Rob is with production but he does a lot of refurbishment work on canoes other than Vermont Canoe.

Give him a call

Rob Scharges

Vermont Canoe


See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY

I would not recommend Eds
I have a set I bought a year ago, and they are still sitting in my garage glued up and ready to go. In short the wood grain is awful, there are several black splotches that detract from the clean ash color, and for all they make of their “special joint” it sucks. I glued them up and 2 of the joints broke, twice. Plus the way the joint is cut there is a significant difference in the wood height on either side of the joint, so to smooth it out nice you need to plane and sand for a loooooong way on either side. For those ready to jump on my woodworking skills, I’ve built 6 boats and multiple paddles and never had a joint fail.

Now Eds seats…nothing finer.

Just my humble opinion.


If the wood is not rotted
you should be able to repair it with epoxy and end up as strong or stronger than it was before the split.

You didn’t mention the cause of the split. If it occurred due to a sudden impact, or simply a grain defect that gave up the ghost after numerous wettings and dryings it should be fixable. Force open the split as much as you reasonably can and work in the epoxy with whatever tool will force it into the split, then clamp and let it fully cure. You may be able to do this without removing it from the boat. I’ve done this several times over the years and never had one f ail again in the same location. Sometimes its easier to take it out and work on the bench. Each case is different.

If the wood shows signs of rot, don’t bother with a repair except perhaps as a temporary measure. Bite the bullet and order a new gunnel or find someone to mill one for you.

Marc Ornstein

Dogpaddle Canoe Works

Custom Paddles and Cedar Strip Canoes

More info

– Last Updated: Aug-11-09 8:22 PM EST –

It's really pretty much a break, though it didn't go all the way through the inwale. There is no rotting or bad grain. The weakness was the result of a seat drop hole and an inwale-outwale screw hole being within an inch of each other.

I never really noticed before, but it seems like it would be a better practice to keep those two types of screws further apart. But, I'm suspecting the inwale-outwale screws were placed at a fixed distance (probably across all hulls) and the seat drop simply fell where they properly fell for each model. In some cases, like here, you get two holes very close to each other.

As for what caused the break, I was paddling in the ocean for the first time this year. My first landing was not very well timed and I took a breaker over the bow (landing backward). After that there was a little time in the surf. It was a pretty tame spill but something got torqued wrong.

I think it can be pretty easily fixed because of the nature of the break and condition of the wood.

From the sounds of it
I would attempt an in place repair.If the break is such that there is no longer a “fair curve” to the gunnel, you could put a splint across it when clamping. Make sure to coat the splint with wax so that it doesn’t become a permanent part of the gunnel.

If the in place repair doesn’t work, there’s not much lost. You can still go back to plan A which was to replace the gunnel.

Marc Ornstein

Dogpaddle Canoe Works

Custom Paddles and Cedar Strip Canoes

Splice before you replace
Mad River had Gunwale replacement instructions on their website for a while. They recommended splicing inwales at both ends to the deck plates rather than trying to refit an inwale. The inwales are glued to the deck plate so it is going to be a bit of work to get them off without damaging them. I’d recommend a more localized repair to cut down on the frustration level.

I didn’t know they were glued
I’ve had the gunnels off this Malecite before and the inwales and deck plates all stayed as one piece. I just figured they were stuck together because of Watco oil. Good to know they are glued before I try forcing them apart.

Independence must be glued too. It stayed together. Interestingly, my Lamoille does not have the inwales glued to the deckplates. They came apart easily.

Thanks for the heads up.

Found the PDF
It’s nice that they’ve kept this document online.

Thanks for the link, good stuff
Glad it’s still out there for review.

I was surprised that the angle cuts for splicing in a section of gunnel are only 30 degrees. I’m no woodworker, but I would have thought the “trick” would have been trying to cut the angles at some extreme angle, like the replacement “break-down” gunnel systems I’ve seen.