I recently purchased a homemade fiberglass canoe, the guy who built it took a shortcut and used pvc pipe for the gunwales. I want to replace these with wood to hang seats off of. It doesn't have seats because he knelt while paddling. If anyone has any suggestions or, betty yet, photos I would really appreciate it.
Shortcut or super light? Look careful
DO not be too quick to hang a seat on the side walls of your new canoe.
If the guy knew what he was doing and had planned for a floor sitter the side walls should be real thin and not capable of supporting the average paddler on a hung seat.
Take a closer look. How much does the canoe weigh. Real light equals not strong somewhere. Give the side walls a good thunb push. Do they give easy? Or seem real solid? Get in the canoe and then push down on the side walls like you are lifting yourself out. Do the walls flex back and forth? Do they buckle a bit? If they are thin and you still want to hang a seat you had better put in a couple belly bands and maybe another complete layer of cloth and resin inside before you hang that seat.
Wood is normally the heaviest of gunwales used. Maybe he was not going for shortcut, but for real light. Did he do a good job?
A little more info
I would put the canoe at between 40 - 50 lbs. On par with say a kevlar of the same dimensions. And it isn’t the clothe fiberglass, it’s the course kind you’d see in a factory spray on type. Yes the walls do give a little when I press my thumb against them. I’m 250lbs. with a not so great back so I simply cannot kneel for hours in it, I just need a way to sit. It has three twarts that are screwed into braces that are bolted onto the sides.
Rivet a piece of 1’ x 1" aluminum…
angle(length as required) to each side panel at the height you want your seat. Then either use a purchased cane seat and bolt it to the angles, or go one step farther and make yourself a sliding tractor seat.
You can get all the materials at Lowes.
If you don’t feel that the sides will support the seat, use a high density foam block under them for support.
Another opiton is to install high density foam block seats which mount directly on the floor.
You can order them from the Nantahala Outdoor center and other outfitters.
Sounds like a real function over beauty
canoe. ALL RIGHT! My favorite kind.
I would say it is not worth the hassles of redoing the gunwales.
Just do as Jack suggests, in his post below, and GET OUT THERE ON THE WATER!
Tried getting in and out
I got in the canoe and the sides did flex outwards, and it did it at the bottom curve of the canoe. The guy I bought it from said he used was supposed to used wood but used pvc because it was cheaper and quicker and he wasn’t putting seats in.