Canoe Restoration Advice

I searched the message board for anything referencing repairs and restoration of older canoes. I recently picked up a 13’ Mansfield. I have a lot to learn before restoring anything but for starters I wanted know what “not to do.” The vessel is ready to float and a majority of the repair would be for cosmetics. Any help or advice in this area would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

resto old boats
If we are talking wood and canvas the WCHA is your main source. The Wooden Heritage Canoe Assoc.

They will tell you not to replace canvas with fiberglass.

I have taken an older OT and made it very serviceable with the addition of some epoxy mixed with wood dust. It is not perfect, but I am not afraid to use it. I love the old boats because they have a lot of life in them.

look at the WCHA

Similar in construction to Merrimack canoes apparantely. May not be an easy fix.

Vermont Canoe also restores Mansfields.Their contact info is on Facebook.

ribs , floor ??
… Are any of those thin ribs seperating from the glass hull ??

Hows the resin floor doing , does it seem to be in tack and stuck to the hull well , or are there any seperations showing ??

Gunnels , decks , seats , thwarts and skin would be a 2nd priorty to the ribs and floor (as long as they’re not rotted and falling apart) .

Each component mentioned should be evaluated individually to set a priority sched. for repair or maintenance .

Thankfully the ribs appear to be in perfect condition. The resin or fiberglass also appear to be top notch. No cracks or bubbles at all. I checked all of the ribs and there isn’t any separation at all. The wood trim and keel may just need a light sanding and a coat of something. I am pretty surprised about the condition of this boat. I am definitely a rookie in the canoe game and I think I may have stumbled upon something pretty nice. If I paint it should I stick to the original color scheme? Would painting it a different color scheme be a crime?

My experience

– Last Updated: Oct-25-13 9:13 PM EST –

Photo essay before and after:

Stripping paint off, sanding, patching, sanding, sanding, sanding, wash and wipe. Fiberglass boat.

Gelcoat looked awful, so I decided to paint. Buy inexpensive paint, it does scratch.

oh nooooo , don’t paint it …
… the paint will just get all scratched up with a zillion line scrapes in no time flat … paint (any paint) , is soft stuff and mares way to easily … it’ll end up looking like crap .

You have a fiberglass hull and you can compound and polish it up . If you want the gelcoat to look like brand new , that’s going to require a complete new gelcoat job , and for that you’d best take it to an auto or marine paint shop and ask them if they will do a gelcoat job for you (it won’t be inexpensive) . If not , just clean it , compound and polish it … and be happy with that .

You could do a spray gelcoat job yourself , but that takes the proper equipment and know how … plus the final steps are “compounding and polishing” the new gelcoat .

Sounds good on the ribs and resin floor area , good deal . The rest is just as you see it , do some cleaning , sanding and sealing of the wood works . Replace wood works “only” where it’s really necessary due to rot . Dings , gauges and such in the wood are called “patina” (a good thing) .

Anything comes up that you have questions or concerns about … there’s plenty of canoes been repaired by this crowd and ready to help … good luck and have fun with it , nice stable little pack boat you got your hands on !!

Thanks for all of the advice
Thank you all for the help and advice. I am taking it out for the first time today and as long as I don’t wind up on the bottom I will consider the day a success.