Fiberglass on canoe gunnel

Just purchased a 1985 model Wenonah Echo for restoration. The hull is made of a very coarse weave fiberglass cloth common back in the 70’s and 80’s. Heavy but tough. The wooden gunnels totally rotted away and the boat was moved around and handled without gunnels which did some damage to the upper edges where the gunnels attach. I am getting prepared to apply a 2" roll of 6oz fiberglass tape along the entire length of the top edge folded in half. In other words one inch will fold on the outside with one inch on the inside. This will give my new wooden gunwales a strong attachment point and hopefully only add a pound ot two weight. I have two questions! How difficult will the folding method be? Will it tend to want to pop apart, away from the hull? Is there a material (wax paper?) that would allow me to clamp small wood strips along the edge with many C-clamps to compress the fiberglass strip until it cures,… then remove it? I am pretty inexperienced with fiberglass but do have a great resource of experience in my buddy “castoff” here on pNet just 40 minutes down the road. Just wondering if anyone has done a similar job or have some sound advice! Thanks abunch

I wouldn’t do it that way
It is rather difficult to get fiberglass to lay down across a rather sharp point like the stem of a sea kayak. I am not saying it is impossible, but the cloth will want to lift away from the hull over the whole length of the boat and I suspect you will end up with a mess and quite a few voids.

I would cut the tape right down the center and lay down a 1" wide strip on each side of the hull with the selvage edge of the tape at the top. The tape should lie down nicely and after it cures you can fill in any voids (resulting from hull damage) between the two strips with thickened epoxy.

thought a minute
and agree. Pretty sure you’ll get a blistered looking layup as a one piece 90 degree bend. Cutting in half (1") will relieve that issue. I have a glassed over vinyl thwart on one of my canoes and I suggest either a fine sanding or wearing gloves when portaging your glass job, at least the first couple times. I stabbed myself a couple times lifting my Dumoine with fiberglass hardened strands. Meant to do it of course, so I could pass on this tidbit of information lol.

I think that some degree of distortion
will occur along the edge, due to your clamping plan and also to the lack of anything to keep the hull “true” while you apply the FG.

After the FG and resin set, the minor distortions will be partially preserved, and I doubt that clamping new gunwales over the edges will properly restore the original contours.

My advice is to ditch the plan, unless you find a way to hold the hull in “true” shape as the FG is applied and sets up.

OK Thanks
Thanks for the advice. I will cut the tape into 1" stips and apply them seperately. I am sure that it will begin fraying at the cut immediately so I will wait to do the cut until right at the time of getting the epoxy about ready. Cut, wet, and apply.

Basically, I would just repair the gaps

– Last Updated: May-31-15 4:37 PM EST –

and cracked areas, level out the repairs, and install gunwales. Unless the edges of the hull are generally mangled, they should be able to stand up to normal gunwale installation.

You could compromise by applying reinforcement strip(s)just to one side of the hull. That would save weight and time.

I should add that we have an old ('73) Moore that needs gunwales, and it has the coarse woven roving interior like in your Echo, but without gunwales, the hull is still too flexy for me to trust, and if I do install wood gunwales, I will put in a temporary rectangular frame with X cross members to insure that the hull is "true" during gunwale installation.

Good thinking
Just apply a strip to one side of the hull is probably what I will do. The canoe is already pretty heavy so I am not really interetsted in adding too much unnecessary weight. As far as throwing the symmetry out-of-whack, I think a little one inch strip of 6oz fiberglass applied to the top edge should not make a difference in its shape.

Extra Stiffened Echo
the only Wenonah layup I can remember that used woven roving on the interior was the low cost “Extra Stiffened” fiberglass layup(pre-Tuffweave). There was no core or ribs, just cloth layers and an interior of woven roving that sucked up a lot of resin, but added thickness and stiffened the hull without the cost of a core or ribs. It was a popular rental layup, but the heaviest layup Wenonah ever produced. All that weight in the bilge did help the primary stability.