New seats for a Blue Hole OCA

I own a Blue Hole OCA canoe built in the early 1980’s. The seats are hard plastic/aluminum braces. I use this canoe for fishing and easy river trips. I do not kneel in the canoe and would like to install some comfortable seats.

Does any one have experience with this canoe? Advice on replacing the seats and where I cam buy them??


Hard to say what would be comfortable
for you, but Ed’s and Shaw and Tenney offer some contoured wooden seats.

My plans
I just bought an old Blue Hole OCA and have decided to completely gut all the Aluminum from the royalex hull. The exposed nuts and bolts and sharp edges and plus the ndustrial look is just ugly and heavy. I am going to make some wood gunwales, decks and seats of wood and webbing. I am pretty sure I am going to cut down the top 1.5 inches of the hull to reduce weight, reduce windage, get paddlers closer to the water, lower center of gravity etc. etc. It will be a totally different looking canoe when done. I would challenge anyone to accurately identify this canoes origins when done.

I’ve paddled OCAs in whitewater, solo
and tandem, and the hull design isn’t worth all the work you propose to do. It’s a barge.

$100 Barge
Yes I agree its a barge, in fact one of its intended purposes is to be a garbage barge. It has way too much hazardous metal edges and corners and fasteners to inflict damage to fingers, knuckles and any exposed flesh so away with the metal and IN with the wood. Its going to be my work canoe as well as a beater loaner for banging down Piedmont rivers

How high do you want your seats?

– Last Updated: Sep-03-14 8:49 AM EST –

You can buy good quality wood frame seats with either a webbed or cane seating surface from either Ed's Canoe:

or Essex Industries:

There are many other vendors, of course, but you are unlikely to find prices much lower.

The OCA seats are placed relatively high up near gunwale level. If your boat is stock, the seat frame is probably made of ovalized aluminum tubing that is crimped at both ends with a little aluminum L bracket riveted in to mount to the hull just below the gunwales.

If you want the seats relatively high you can probably use those same L brackets to suspend your wood frame seat. You just need to drill out the rivets holding them into the ends of the seat frame. Use a relatively large bit almost as wide as the rivet head and drill off the rivet heads. Then use a punch or drift to push out the rivet shafts.

You will doubtless need to reposition at least one of the L brackets to match the spacing of the frame of your new seats. Again, to free up the bracket, drill out the rivets securing it to the hull. You can drill a hole through the bottom of the gunwale and hull anywhere you wish. You will probably have difficulty finding rivets with a long enough reach to go through the bracket, hull and lower portions of the gunwales, so just use #8 or #10 pan head stainless steel machine screws and locknuts to remount the L brackets. If you want, you can fill the empty holes where the bracket was with an aluminum pop rivet or machine screw.

The L brackets are not big enough to suspend your seat(s) any distance below the gunwales, and if you only plan to sit, you might wish to do just that to enhance stability.

You could do what this OCA owner did:

That type of aluminum seat hanger can be purchased from Wenonah Canoe or from Rutabaga:

You need two of those for each seat so they are a little pricey. If you can find some sheet aluminum you can probably bend your own. Secure the brackets to the hull right up under the gunwales using either stainless hardware or pop rivets.

The Blue Hole OCA is an early Royalex tandem boat that was later copied by Buffalo Canoe. It is very tough and very heavy. It is very far from an efficient flat water boat, and it is not a great whitewater design either, but it was one of the first non-fiberglass, non-aluminum, non-wood/canvas boats available back in the 1970s so it was used very extensively and very successfully for many whitewater first descents back in the day.

As long as you don't want to go very far or very fast on non-moving water, and as long as you don't mind carrying it it should suit your purposes well. Because of its depth and big, recurved stems, it will catch a lot of wind when the breeze comes up, though.

I don’t recall the interior of the OCA
being quite so hostile, but there weren’t as many trial lawyers around then.

That is great information…