Lowering seats in a Penobscot

I’m wanting to lower the cane seats in my Penobscot 16. The dowels that I have are only like an inch long and that doesn’t seem low enough to me. I currently have plastic molded seats and they seem to be about 3" from gunnel to seat bottom. I like the molded seats as they keep my son centered but I would also like to be able to solo (maybe). We are going to north Georgia end of may and I was thinking of trying the Etowah myself and taking the kids on the Chestatee. Would dropping cane seats to 3" be to much or not enough?


Check the height when you kneel, as
that is what you should be doing for good control. You should be able to get much of your weight on the seat for comfort, and the seat should be high enough so that you can extract your feet easily. Of course you will need a kneeling pad. I use a Voyageur kneeling pad, about $36. If you decide that the seat should be lower, and your dealer doesn’t have the hollow dowels (maybe you will need longer screws too), then check Piragis.com, canoe accessories. They have the kneeling pads also.

I think
As a point of reference, I lowered my OT Disco 164 seats about 2" and magically transformed the family’s “tippie canoe” into a solid, stable beast.

If you don’t like the tippiness, by all means lower the seats, but not so far as to preclude you from ever kneeling.

I used
plastic cutting sticks to replace the dowels in canoes. Any large commercial printer that has a seybold or Sabre paper cutter should have a few left over ones that you could ask for. they are .750x.750 and the legnth of the cutter, with a .250 round hole in the center. Once they use all the sides they throw them out so it is cheaper then ordering any.


I am getting ready to do the same
thing in our Penobscot 16, but I am taking the seats out completely and replacing them with the gray foam blocks for down river racing.

I’ll experiment and keep removing foam until I get the seats at the right height.



9" off the bottom of the boat
9" from the center line under the seat is a good place to start for setting your seat up to be able to kneel or sit. If you have big feet you may need to go higher to make sure they won’t get tangled up under there.

Kneeling will give you the most stability and control but some folks can’t/won’t do it.

If you won’t kneel then drop the seat as far as you like.

If you buy the long seat drops and bolts you can play with the height until you find what you like.

I’ve done a lot of experiments with
seat heights (and everything else). Don’t go too low or it will kill your feet and ankles.

I tried those foam blocks
Don’t toss your seats just yet. Your butt bone may want to have a word with you after a few miles. I ended up putting the seats back in, couldn’t stand the discomfort.

I think Mohawk still sells seat brackets
They’re good for getting the seats down low and solid. Getting ready to do the same with our Penobscot if we don’t sell it first.

Metal hanger plates
like Wenonah uses for hung seats in their solos. No flex like the long dowel hangers, and much less likely to pull thru the wood at the seat ends. I have used them to repair hung seats in Dagger tandems and assorted other canoes.

The more flare in the hull the more angle to the dowel and machine srew and that definitely leads to movement and enlargement of the holes in the seat frame. Several Daggers in our club fleet have had the machine screws pull thru the end of the seat frame and dump paddlers at very poor times.

The metal brackets can be angled and trimmed for your position and the seat rests on top of the bracket, rather than hanging from a screw.


Make sure that
if you fabricate a hanger bracket, that you don’t leave any sharp edges or bolts exposed