Canoe restoration

Hello. This is my first post here. I’m hoping I can get some advice with my canoe. I just purchased an old Quicksilver canoe and I’m starting to fix it up a bit. There’s a crack in the buoyant space on the bow. I hear sand moving around inside when I flip it and I’m wondering if it’s a smart idea to drill a hole large enough to clean everything out and then fill the hole with a plug of some sort when I’m done.

Why a plug? I’m thinking if that space is empty then maybe I can make it a compartment with a plug that screws on and off.

Lastly, what’s the proper term for that area under the deck?

Thanks for reading.

Flotation tanks are built into . . .
. . . the bow and stern of composite and aluminum canoes. My old Grumman had round access hatches in each large tank to be used as storage compartments.

You could do the same thing in a composite tank, if it’s big enough, by installing a Beckson hatch.

I’ve never seen anyone do this, probably because most flotation tanks aren’t big enough for significant storage and it’s much more convenient to store things in a waterproof bag or bucket.

In any event, if the crack is big enough to let in sand, you should repair it, probably with some fiberglass.

Ah. Floatation tanks.
Thanks for the reply. I plan on glassing the crack as soon as I can clean out the inside. I was thinking of something just like what you linked to. I guess I’ll have to open them up and see how much room there actually is.

I have another question. Can I get any advice on replacing aluminum gunnels with wood?

How cheaply can you find wood
unless you can find a local source and mill your own, transport of wood gunwales gets expensive.

Ash is commonly used. But frankly its up to you how much money you want to sink into an old canoe.Resale is probably under five hundred.

Does it look like this?

Thank you
Thanks for the replies. I’m not sure if I want to mess with the gunnels yet. The aluminum ones are dented in some spots and maybe I can just fix them, but I don’t like the idea of messing with the rivets that are holding them on.

My canoe is a Quicksilver for sure, but it’s not a QS 2. I would like to find the contact information for the Quicksilver company. Maybe I can find out more about the model I have.

rivets are no problem
If you can find the wood, drilling out rivets is no problem. Use a drill bit of a diameter nearly as large as the rivet head and it will drill the head off. You do not need to drill out the rivet stem. Once the head is off just push it through with a drift punch if necessary.

Replacing the gunwales with wood might be a bigger investment than you expect. You will need around 60 or so stainless steel sheet metal screws, and of course, you will need to finish the wood with oil, varnish, or polyurethane.

Flotation tanks are sometimes filled with foam which is necessary if they are not air tight. If the tanks are sealed, there needs to be some mechanism for equalisation of air pressures such as a small vinyl stopper plug, pinhole, or a screw.

Last week I briefly paddled a Composite Creations solo whitewater canoe which had large flotation tanks, which is unusual for a composite whitewater boat. The tanks had Beckson type screw closure hatches for storage:

Note that the tanks have a small cock up near the stems for pressure equalisation.

Keep in mind that any items placed in the tanks that is heavier than water will reduce the buoyancy of the boat.

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