First time canoe restoration!

This is my first time owning a canoe. I got a 16’ Fiberglass Canoe. It weighs 72lbs and is a “kanuck kanoe” brand (seems cheap, but floats!). As a personal project I’d like to fix it up and breath some new life into it.

The Canoe Deck Plates are made of a super heavy duty steel/metal. I’d like to lighten the canoe a bit and would like some advice. What’s the purpose of the canoe deck plate? Can I remove these super heavy steel plates and replace with a stainless grab handle / short thwart instead? (Currently theirs no bow/stern thwarts, just these heavy duty deck plates).

I like the kanuck kanoes logo. The decks just give the ends a finished look and provide carry handles so there’s nothing wrong with removing them and replacing them with some simple/lighter carry handles. Congrats on your first canoe!

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Welcome. If you want to maintain a grab handle, Old Town’s come with plastic deck plates that rivet on. You can buy them as repair parts and they might have a size that matches your canoe’s shape.

I’ve been solo’ing a 84lb old town for about a decade now, so I appreciate the drive to lighten it up

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They look like cast aluminum, steel would be much more rusty. They also look really ugly. The modifications you make are only limited by your skill and imagination.

Agree…besides steel and aluminum (gunnel) don’t like each other in corrosive environments. Try the magnet test. If attracted it’s ferris…steel.

Thanks folks! Yea either way look thick and heavy! (And ugly). I think I’ll try and replace with a small end plate made of plastic, then try and install a stainless bow and stern thwart to use as a grab handle instead.

Aluminum is strong and durable and lasted this long in tact. Unless you are going to replace the decks and gunwales with wood I would leave them as is. You can remove a lot of the tarnish and clean it up with acid like Alumabrite. You just spray it on, wait and wash it off with a hose.

Plastic is weak and does not look like much. I have replaced some plastic decks with new ones of the same material because that is how they came when new. Best to leave this boat alone and shine it up.

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You can certainly remove the end caps but you will surely find that the gunwales do not extend all the way to the stem and don’t meet each other. I don’t know if you would find that cosmetically objectionable.

If you have any experience with fiber glassing or know someone who does, you could use the existing end caps as a female mold to construct new end caps once removed. These would be much lighter and would have a better appearance IMO. They would not provide a carry handle, however.

You can make or buy short wooden carry thwarts from Ed’s Canoe or Essex Industries and mount them just inboard of new end caps. It sometimes requires some creativity to mount thwarts to gunwales of the type this boat has but this can usually be accomplished using some type of angle brackets.