Gunwale replacement

I Checked the oil and water in my car, and went to sleep

planning on checking the water and oil in the morning again.(It had been a long day) My wife got bored of sitting in th erainy campsite, pulled out and promptly ran over the front tie down…

Voila: instant modification to my Jensen…

Last time I replaced the gunwales I just ordered replacement Aluminum rails from Wenonah and had done with it. A friend suggested milling my own rails out of pressure treated decking planks. I have mixed feelings

since I have milled wood rails for my Merlin and put on Aluminum rails on my Jensen. What are your thoughts on the issue?

Trade the wife.

yup…that’s it.

Wood is better!

– Last Updated: Apr-26-10 10:30 PM EST –

Wood rails, properly rabbeted, pinch the laminate better and stiffen the boat. When applied with a center spreader bar they straighten and hog the hull less than alu. gunwales. Lastly, they improve pride of ownership.

Aluminum is best used in engine blocks and beer cans; unfortunately for the Aluminum Industry, glass is a better container for beer.

Eds canoe I bent the Aluminum on my Bell, and was told about this website. they sell breakdown gunwhales that are easier to ship. Gunwhales,thwarts,yoke, and handles for less then $200/

for what it’s worth.

I’m not sure pressure treated wood would be a good material,as it dries it shrinks quite a bit…and warps. I would think oiled hardwood would be better?

Nix the pressure treated idea.
You will have difficulty finding straight-grained stock, it will be heavy, and you will be handling pressure-treated lumber with wet hands.


Not to mention ugly. mn

Ash Gunnels
If you’ll be at Raystown (if you can wait that long) or at WPASCR (much sooner) I can supply you with 7/8" square ash gunnel stock, ready for milling or fully milled ash gunnels. Either one up to 18’ long. If interested, email me directly at

Marc Ornstein

Dogpaddle Canoe Works

Custom Paddles and Cedar Strip Canoes

location, location

Marc Ornstein is just south of me. If you are coming up for the Clinton, i could get a gunwale set to you without the expensive shipping.


Gunwale stock
Marc, I may be in the market for a new set of outwales for my Magic. That is, unless you start producing those great-looking CF end caps, in which case I would probably go with those.

I will send you a private message as soon as Verizon gets me back on line at home…

Jim Saulters

Home made ash gunwales on a Jensen 18…
I managed to do the same job to our (UK built) Jensen 18 without the aid of my wife :banghead:

A single 16’ plank of ash was enough for me to produce the following:

That’s prior to attaching, let alone to sanding and oiling… but they’ve gone on a treat and the Jensen is now WAY stiffer than before.

If you slide the Jensen on the roof rack

– Last Updated: Apr-28-10 7:13 PM EST –

the way I do, then you would be much better off with the aluminum.
I have wood on my comp cruiser, and we have to constantly refinish them from sliding the boat on and off.
That freaking race took a toll on both your boat and mine.
I just finished patching one of the foam core ribs that I cracked coming hard off a shoal and dropping onto a rock.
I can't blame my wife for that one, since I picked the bad line.
On the other hand if your Jensen is/was a thing of beauty, then go with wood.

I would never go with pressure treated. That junk is just that; junk! and it is not kiln dried or air dried. It is just thrown in the vats right after it leaves the saw mill, still green, and you would never get enough long stuff without knots. Decks and steps yes, anything else no!


I can d o either
For the caps, I’ll need to make a casting off the boat so I have the exact gunnel/deck profile. I have one from a Flashfire. It may or may not be the same.

Marc Ornstein

Dogpaddle Canoe Works

Custom Paddles and Cedar Strip Canoes

I will probably go with the outwales
The way the Bell factory drilled the endcap screws leads to continual splitting - I just repaired a major split last weekend. I will contact you via PM.



I think you sold me on aluminum JackL. The way I handle my boat I figure you are right with me sliding it. Now all I need is a little O/T and I will get them.

On my next build it will be wood gunnels again. Not sure if I will ash on the next build for the Gunwales though.

So much wood so little time/money…

Will we see you tomorrow at the
Black Water River Race?

We pulled into a local camp ground yesterday and are checking out the course today.


related question
I am in the process of replacing alum gunwhales with wood. Do I use the same holes that are in place from the Alum>???

Don’t bother to try.
Avoid them by at least a quarter inch when drilling the new ones, if you can. Beg, borrow or steal twice as many clamps as you think you’ll need.

No, Quail hollow tournement
The Quail hollow tournament is going on so I am on nights working on the printing for the pairings. sorry I am going to miss it.