Mad River Explorer Serial Number

Can anyone give me information about Mad River Explorer serial number MADEX833K495?

Much appreciated.


Look here

That does help some, thanks very much. It was built 11/1995. Nothing about the material or trim though. Looks like fiberglass from photos but I don’t know. I know it needs gunwales and maybe decks and I am trying to decide whether it would be a worthwhile project. I will look at it of course, but knowing the layup and weight ahead of time would be nice.

Actually, it was built and registered with the Coast Guard in November of 1994 (that is the “4” after the “K”) for sale in the 1995 model year. Mad River usually attached a “-K” to the end of the 12 character HIN on their Kevlar boats, so it is most likely a fiberglass model. If so, the boat will likely weigh around 70 lbs or a tad more. Kevlar models weighed around 55 lbs, so if you have some type of bathroom scale that you can weigh yourself with and without the boat, you should be able to confirm the construction material.

Thanks for that. I will take a look at the boat. Have to decide whether it is worth restoring to functionality. Hasn’t been stored in direct UV, but has been stored outdoors. If the hull is sound it is probably worth putting new gunwales and decks on, maybe seats and thwarts, depending if I can fabricate them. I doubt it would be worth purchasing them.

The 16 foot Explorers had just a central carry yoke and short carry thwarts near the ends. If you are good with woodworking and have the appropriate tools (drill and wood bits, router) you can make your own seat frames, buy woven cane, and cane them. But you won’t come out a great deal ahead financially than buying them ready made from Ed’s Canoe or Essex Industries. You would also need seat hangers and stainless hardware. Hangers can be made from simple wooden dowels, although one-piece truss hangers are much better.

Ed’s sells wood frame caned seats for $28.25.

He also sells a complete repair kit that would have everything needed to restore an Explorer other than gunwales, gunwale screws, deck plates, and finish:

You might be able to beat those prices by a little by making your own, but after you figure in the cost of materials and your investment in time, you won’t come out much ahead.

I would figure on at least around $200 to rerail the canoe. The biggest challenge for most people is to find long segments of suitable wood. If you want to avoid joints, you would need to find someone who could sell you four 17 long foot segments of straight grain ash, or other suitable wood. Otherwise, you will need to scarf joint together shorter lengths. You will also need around 80 stainless steel wood screws. On-laid, capped deck plates are easy to make and install and you can use any wood you like. Just make a cardboard template after you have rerailed the boat and installed the yoke, carry handles, and seats and use it to cut out the deck plate.

Here is a pdf file from Mad River on gunwale replacement:

If I were looking at restoring a composite Explorer requiring replacement of gunwales, and all wood trim including seats, yoke, deck plates, I would estimate the final cost to be $400-500 after adding in incidental expenses like wood finish, etc. If the hull is in good condition, I think most people would consider that a decent investment, assuming you can acquire the boat for not much money.

Thanks again for the advice above.
Well I got it. It was free. The gunwales are completely rotted and it had blown off the owner’s rack and the hull cracked in three places. I have repair materials on hand and the fix was fun and reasonably easy. First i power-washed the heck out of the thing inside and out, then patched the cracks inside and out, using appropriate filler on the outside to make the hull perfect. Lotsa’ sanding. And then more sanding. And then some more sanding. I think the repairs will be entirely undetectable on the outside. The inside I sanded smooth, but it may be noticeable as the texture is different than the original interior roving.
Next I will prime and paint it inside and out and consider the hull done. If the rain ever stops.
I am hoping to have someone local mill rails for me out of white oak or mahogany. Ash is nice and easy to work, but rots so so easily. As noted, the rails are simple profiles and the canoe is not curved enough that they will require steaming. If it takes a woodworker more than an hour to make them start to finish then something is wrong.
I have all or nearly all of the stainless steel screws and bolts already.
The seats and carry yoke are salvageable, though I may replace the yoke with a thwart (or two thwarts). Considering making the thwart (or yoke) a bit shorter to narrow and deepen the hull a bit. Need to fool around with straps around the middle and see how that might work out.
Not sure what I will make the deck out of. Something pretty and strong.
My current out of pocket costs are paint and primer and then whatever I put into the gunwales and deck. And my time of course, but so far the project is moving fast and easily enough to be very satisfying so I am happy to spend the time.
Should make for a good general purpose canoe–smooth and stiff and reasonably tough.