Drilling holes in a canoe ?

I would like to drill two holes through one of the foam ribs of my Jensen ultralight Comp Cruiser to install with rivits a short piece of aluminum channel for a foot brace.

Can I do it without hurting the integrity of the rib ?

I would be drilling two on each side.


just a guess
but I’m wondering if the brace would be okay, but the hull compromised where you are exerting force at the rivets? I know in aircraft, stress cracks generally form where the rivets goes through the skin. F-15’s where grounded due to this, and that’s one tough bird.

no problem
If you take a look at all the pop rivets on wenonahs

and realize the force the racers exert pushing on Footbraces you would be amazed. I have raced in several canoes with pop rivetedbraces and never had problem withthe rivets or the hull/ribs.


Other alternatives
I don’t think drilling the holes would compromise structural integrity, but that’s not based on personal experience.

Some people don’t want to drill through the hull with rivets for aesthetic reasons, including me. I had strips of ash glued on the inside of the hull and screwed the Wenonah footbrace tracks into the wood strips.

Another method I’ve seen on the web is to contact cement a very thin strip of minicell foam to the aluminum track and then to contact cement that to the hull. This allows you to slice the whole thing off with a knife if you want to remove it. The guy who did it said the glue was holding up after two years or so.

Scuff the aluminum and mount it
with G-Flex or Plexus with or without rivets. Glass it in if you’re worried about load bearing. Use a bar that’s collapsible (telescoped) like Wenonah’s.

I’m with Glenn and tktoo - I would glue the bar in before drilling any holes. The additional layer of foam is a nice idea - I’d guess some layers of glass would be required for a really beefy installation.

Rivets no problem.
Glue and adhesive can fail, rivets generally don’t. force on the foot brace a non-issue.

I definitely want to use rivits, and don’t much care about the asthetics.

I have used rivits on many boats for various uses, but never through the foam ribs.


Thanks NM