Glued inner gunwales

Hey everyone. I’ve recently acquired an older wenonah canoe. The gunnals are completely rotted and I will be replacing them with aluminum. The outwales were very easy to remove, but the inwales are glued and very difficult to remove. Has anyone encountered this? And if so what would your recommendation be for removal? Is there any sort of solvent I could use? I have been slowly sawing away pieces, but it’s taking FOREVER!!

Completely rotted
Doesn’t sound like completely rotted if they are so difficult to remove.

Try a router with a flush cutting bit.

Inner gunwales glued?
I’m surprised to hear that. My canoes with wood gunwales, a Mad River and a Millbrook, have no glue under the gunwales. The only fastening is screws.

Wood chisel
Some makers bonded gunwales to the hulls of some of their boats. I know Mad River did this with some models in the past. I didn’t know Wenonah did, but there is also the possibility that this boat was rerailed.

I would try a wood chisel, if you haven’t already.

I wonder if one of those vibrator
cutter things could be carefully run right along the inner hull.

I have a short bullnose plane that might work, too.

Oscillating cutter
I was thinking that too. I have one and I bet it would work. If I had one when I had a wenonah with rotten epoxied-in inwales I would have tried it instead of sending the boat along.

jigsaw with guide to start …

– Last Updated: Apr-15-13 10:48 PM EST –

..... the jigsaw should get you within 1/16" - 1/8" . Then finish up with a belt sander to the composite surface .

You can use your finger as the guide for the jigsaw , I would without any more thought (grip the base plate and let your finger edge ride along either the inner gunnels surface or outside hull surface , same with circular sawing) , but an actual guide will likely give you more confidence .

The jigsaw cutting will move slowly but it's a one time pass and your there . Use new sharp blades in the saw and preferably "no set" tooth blades . A jigsaw that has 3 or 4 blade action settings will be helpful also ... these type settings allow the blade to not only go up and down but allow some forward and backward movement of the blade as it goes up and down , occilates .

If you have perfect confidence , you can cut the exact glue line with the jigsaw , I could but you might be more comfortable cutting to within a 1/16" or 1/8" and finishing with the belt sander .

A router is a fine tool but the job you are attempting is too tricky for the router . You'd have to use a guide on the router and that's a good thing , but the problem will come in trying to keep the router from tilting because you haven't enough flat surface to run it on . if it tilts towards the inside you just chewed the a hole in the hull , and a router has exremely high rpm's and must be handled with perfect touch and coordination .

glued gunwales, yes
I replaced the outwales on a Wenonah Itasca canoe. The Itasca sat upside down on saw horses for several years in the shade but also in the weather. I guess the water ran down the hull and over time rotted the outwales beyond repair. The inwales were in good enough shape to save. It’s a good thing because the inwales were stuck to the hull, probably glued or epoxied.

Is your canoe gel-coated or skin-coated?

Thank you everyone for your advice. My boat was stored in the same way. The outside rails practically fell off, but the inside is glued tight. It is an '88 solitude. Kevlar w./ a gel Coat. I’d feel safer with the oscillating cutter. I think it would be easy for the jigsaw to get away from ya. Either way I got a project on my hands.

Things that cut / things that wedge
I wouldn’t use anything that cuts. A little tilt will leave holes i the skittle shear.

I’d get a semi flexible 1" putty knife and a small hammer and wedge the inwale off; sanding any residual.