installing new canoe seats

-- Last Updated: Jul-30-14 8:09 AM EST --

I recently bought new ash seats with webbing for my Old Town Penobscot 16 and when I got them I realized that they were about an inch less deep than the original seats. Is there a universal metal seat hanger that is attached to the top of the gunwale that I can use. The existing holes on the top of the gunwale will not align with the holes in the new seats, so I cannot hang the seat on the existing wood dowel system. Would the Old Town Discovery Seat Support Aluminum Hangers work? Or is there something similar that would work?

two builders
Essex and Ed’s are the most commonly found factory seat makers, and their cross bar spacing is different. [There is a Canadian seat maker too.]

It’s way easier to retro fit if we measure what we’ve got and buy replacement parts that fit. From where we are, it’s easiest to return the seats and buy a pair that fit.

you could try these

I too would probably return your seats if you have not yet cut the frames. Even if you have to pay shipping costs, it might be your cheapest option, and almost certainly the easiest.

Ed’s canoe sells seats with more than one frame spacing. Take a look at his “Old Town replacement seats”. I would call to confirm that they have the correct cross frame spacing for your boat. As I recall, Old Town used a frame spacing greater than most other manufacturers.

My pennobscot
is at least 25 years old so I have replace cane seats more than once. using the essex seats it was a simple matter of cutting the cross members and drilling the holes. If it is more complicated than this, I am not understanding the problem

Slightly more complicated, yes
The OP explained the problem perfectly, though you may have to read the whole post to figure it all out. Charlie Wilson and Pete further clarified the situation in their replies to the OP. If you don’t care how many extra holes you drill in the gunwales as a result of random-size seat replacement it’s not problem, but wouldn’t you agree that it’s better to get seats of the proper dimension (from front to rear) to start with?

When I lowered my Penobscot 17 rear seat
I made up my own brackets. I was lowering it about 4" from stock height. I had aluminum stock at work and bent two pieces to the proper shape. It was quite some time ago but I’m thinking it was 1/8" thick stock, lined right up as I drilled the holes with the same cent spacing. I love love loved the new lower position though. It turns it into a completely different feeling boat. Super stable feeling. I lowered the Campers seat too but only a couple of inches, a dowel kit took care of that one. These days the Campers come new lower than mine did new.

Measure twice cut once
Dear Ray,

It works in carpentry and any sort of building where materials must be sized to fit the task at hand.

Like others have said it’s probably best to return the seats and buy ones that fit. Measure the center to center spacing of the mounting screws and check with Ed’s Canoe for seats with proper spacing.

Your alternative is to measure the distance of the center of the leading edge of the seat frame to center of the trailing edge of the seat frame and drill a new hole in the gunnel. Make sure measure twice though!

If you do that your canoe will now be lighter and speedier since you removed extraneous material from the hull, so that might be your best option? :wink:

Seriously though, send 'em back and get proper drop in replacements that fit. You may need to trim some off each end of the fore and aft crossbars and re-drill new holes in them for proper fit as far as the width goes.


Tim Murphy AKA Goobs

bow inward
I dont have personnel experience with the cane seats, but I’ve seen when others have switched to the cane seats, the canoe would bow inward at the gunwales, especially if they got the seat too low. This is because the seat is no longer pressing the gunwales out, but pressing out against the hull instead.

I dont think all canoes will do this, but some can.

Just something to watch for…

Bow inward
The Penobscot has enough thwarts to support the gunwale and at the time Old Town offered the dowel kit to lower the seat. If a canoe doesn’t have gunwale support via thwarts it would be a good suggestion to put some in. Probably required in a solo canoe to add one if that were the case as in some the seat acts as a thwart.

penobscot canoe seat dilemna
Thanks everyone for your input. Unfortunately, the most straightfoward method is sometimes the most difficult. I threw out the receipt and shipping box when I got the seats, when I ordered them they said that they fit in old town canoes… oh well. Looks like I’ll be seeking out some aluminum to shape into my own supports.

i drilled the seat cross members
to fit the existing holes in the gunwale, also lowered the seat as grubfish discribed

If you haven’t drilled the seat bars…

– Last Updated: Jul-31-14 10:24 AM EST –

you could simply get a couple blocks of sturdy wood that would handle the bolts/dowels of the original width and again bolt(double if possible) them *UP or Down thru the seat bars(whatever fits hull) put blocks under bars and when you find lengthy bolts...have longer dowels made of find em'..then a solid, FAT block won't interfere with your sitting area. Find some solid enough that you could sand/finish them as desired for good looks, AND wide enough to account for the hull shape....fwiw.
Easy to just pick up some sturdier(sp?) bolts up top..and maybe enlarge for strength.

Easy to do when you have the right seat.
You are SOL when you have the wrong seat, as is the case here, and some other option becomes necessary. That was the point I was making in my first reply to you.

I ordered a seat for my Camper
OT Camper canoe that is, it came in at the end of May this year. It too came in a little narrower than the original but mine was not pre drilled or cut to length. So I first cut the frame to size and then when I drilled I offset the holes from center. My Camper seat hangs on bolts with dowels, maybe a 3 inch drop or so. Works fine and I did not have to drill new holes in the gunwale. I was going to send the seat back but measured carefully ad felt it was a go.