[Newbie] I bought an used canoe and now I don't know if I made the right choice [PICs inside]

I apologize if I am posting in the wrong place, just created an account to post this question.
I have been canoeing recreationally (once or twice a year) for few years now. This year I decided to go ahead and get a canoe. I am interested to use it in calm waters, likely for a long weekend canoe camping in Algonquin Park et similar.
I found what I thought (think?) was a great deal, a 14 footer for 350 CAD.

Now that I have done a deeper inspection I am starting to doubt my investment.

There is a dent on the gunwales just after the bow seat, could that be structural damage? it appears there is a crack in the bow’s bottom (the stem?), I don’t see through but it looks like I can see pass the white resin? Are the patches something I should be concerned about? Again they are pass the bow seat. Is that just paint that it’s peeling at the keel?

Thank you for your help

Looks like an old fiberglas boat thats seen a LOT of use. I used to have one similar and gave it away.
If you get it on the water and it doesnt leak, you have a good boat to putter about in. Any idea how much it weighs?

It doesn’t look that bad from the pictures, a minor leak you could fix just by applying some fiberglass and resin. Cheap and readily available from any big box home store.

I think it will clean up pretty well and work fine to get you on the water. I wouldn’t worry about the dent in the gunwales or the existing patches unless any of them leak. As mentioned any leaks can be fixed pretty easily with new patches. If the bow stem damage looks deep then you can either add skid plates or some homemade fiberglass or dynel skid plates. For sure I’d put some oil on those seats immediately or the dry cane (or maybe it’s leather) will likely fail the first time you sit on it. Even if they fail it’s pretty cheap and easy to recane seats…the seat frames look strong. One thing you should do is replace the center thwart that’s held on with that little angle bracket since the ends are rotten. Any straight piece of wood that you have on hand will work fine and you can use the original thwart as a guide so you cut the new piece to the right length and drill the holes the same distance apart.

Not sure, I lifted on top of the car myself and I am not Hulk. I will weigh it on weekend :slight_smile:

Great advice Tom, I appreciate it. Would you know what kind of oil I should use? It’s dry cane.

Would you suggest I go with a thwart or a yoke? I can get them for a similar price at MEC: https://www.mec.ca/en/product/1999-010/Ash-Yoke (40CAD). Wouldn’t a yoke provide stability to the canoe and improve portability on portages, unlike a thwart?

I use hemp oil (because it’s non toxic) or a mixture of 1/3 boiled linseed oil, 1/3 white vinegar, 1/3 mineral spirits (called “gunnel lotion” by one canoe dealer) or one of the Watco products like Watco teak oil (very durable). Some folks use 1/2 boiled linseed oil and 1/2 spar urethane varnish (the oil penetrates and the varnish seals). I like oil but some people prefer varnish for durability. I think the Watco teak oil actually has some varnish in it.

Yes a yoke is much better than a straight thwart for carrying the boat. If you feel you want to make homemade skid plates for bow and/or stern let me know if you need a resource and I can give you a link from another canoe forum where’s there’s one guy that has done it many times. I think there are also skid plate kits available. Some folks use a product called Keel Easy (or Eazy) to protect the keel of their canoe/kayak. Homemade would be thinnest so they’d have minimal impact on boat performance and be least likely to gurgle (make noise).

If you plan to paddle the boat solo you can paddle it backwards from the bow seat or add a kneeling thwart or even go with a combination center seat + yoke; the boat will be more level with a kneeling thwart or center seat. You may enjoy looking at edscanoe.com for ideas…he makes good stuff.

Yes Yes I am interested! Canoeing and caring for my canoe is my “indoor” quarantined hobby now!
Are you aware of handles I can screw on the deck to facilitate duo portages? I am used to rent canoes that have the handles built in: https://swiftcanoe.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Cruiser14.8Pack-1-718x246.jpg

Can I just screw it on? Or is there consensus in a different approach?

Here’s a link to a thorough discussion on homemade skid plates and the guy seems to do very nice work. He’s using Dynel but you could use fiberglass if you like…“S Glass” is used as the outer layer in some composite canoes for it’s abrasion resistance. Point is you have some flexibility around the fabric you use…but avoid Kevlar for the outer layer since it fuzzes.

Edscanoe sells nice replace the carry handles in ash, cherry or walnut.


You can attach them directly to the gunnels. I suggest that you visit the stainless steel section of your local hardware store and also that you use washers on top and bottom…especially on the bottom because a nut will tend to burrow into the wood handle and loosen up.

Don’t sweat it bro. Any damage to that craft should be easily repairable whit some epoxy resign. If it’s a big area you can saturate fiberglass cloth in resign and lay on it. If the boat is not fiberglass West Systems makes an all-purpose resign kit that I have used on aluminum. If the resign are is going to stay exposed to the sun you’ll want to paint (boat deck paint) to keep it from degrading.

Mike McCrea has been working on boats for years. As a result, he has progressed into a very knowledgeable fixer of boats. He also shares his ability on the boats of friends. I don’t think Mike has ever boat a new boat, he favors older boats that he can customize to his preferences.

A couple of things I would like to add. Instead of “recaning” the seats, consider using nylon cord. It is stronger and will last a lot longer. Also, get some flat 2" wide aluminum bar stock at your hardware store. Bend it into an L shape and remount your seats about 5 or 6" down from the top of the canoe. It is amazing what lowering your center of gravity a few inches will do for stability of a canoe!

I hate to be the only naysayer in the group but I would never buy this boat. First, the seats were pirated from another hull and attached with hardware store angle irons. I doubt that they will hold up very long. Also they are mounted too high raising the center of gravity. Second, I see three keels which supposedly increases tracking, but generally just increase getting high centered on the smallest of objects. They are not a good substitute for learning to paddle better. Third, this appears to be blown fiberglass which means relative to most hull is heavier. Notwithstanding that you can heft it, heavier canoes are less fun to paddle. Fourth, the alteration of the entryline by skid pads is not for me.
I think starting off with a decent boat will increase one’s probability of sticking with the sport and this may not.

Granted I wouldn’t expect you Pag to buy the boat but the seats can be dropped down yes by longer angle irons. Fixable. Longevity… maybe maybe not. Could be resolved perhaps by doing as some makers do by installing a long bar lower down on the hullthat supports the seat L bracket is I think what I would call it rather than what comes to mind a thingamagigit.

The rest the blown in fiberglass the three keels yah not great but does it prevent from getting on the water.

Right choice is never static in the canoe world. It evolves as we evolve. For 20 years my right choice was a 15 foot Grumman till we tried a Quetico trip with some killer carries and huge lakes.

Yep, I know the seats can be fixed, but installing something on the side just reduces the amount of freeboard, unless you use gusseted or caulked pop rivets. A better solution is to hang a wood block from the inwale. But I wouldn’t put myself in that position, when I could buy a hull that does not have those problems. IMO having 3 keels on a beginner canoe is the kiss of death.

Thank you for your opinions, you clearly seem to know a great deal and I’d like to understand more few things you said. @amf asked earlier how heavy the boat is, I weighed it and it come down to just over 60 pounds. How does that rank for a 14 foot canoe? From what I gather online it seems…average?

The seats didn’t seem to be too high, but what do I know. I can comfortably kneel on the seat and tuck my feet under the seat. Given that’s my favored paddling position I was happy about the seat height.

I do want to replace the thwart with a portage yoke. One of L bracket is broken and I was thinking of replacing it. At this point it seems to be screwed to the inside of the gunwale (is that what you guys refer as the inwale?) but from what you are saying it seems to not be the right approach. Is Installing a hang from a wood block a better solution? I don’t even know what it means or can’t even visualize it. What kind of google search should I do? are there tutorials or books/articles I can read to even follow your advice?

Thanks as always :slight_smile:

Sorry, I tend toward brevity and should have known to explain better. OK, weight: it depends on what you want to do in paddling. If you want to fish and your favorite fishing hole is say 1/2 mile there and back, , a 14’ 60 lb. canoe might work. If you like exploring and want to go 8 or 12 miles round trip then pushing 60 lbs. plus yourself and gear that far can be taxing. Also portaging or pulling a 60 lb. canoe over a log jam is a chore. As you gain proficiency a 60 lb. boat will not be nearly as enjoyable as a light hull. My 14’ solo weighs 28 lbs.
It is great that you are starting out kneeling. It is by far the superior position, for many reasons. Being able to get your feet out easily is a huge safety issue, in case of overturns. Having said that having a low center of gravity is also a safety issue. It enhances balance greatly. I don’t know that I ever see a seat at the gunwale level. As to gunwales: they are the rails on top of the side of the canoe. They are in 2 parts, the outwale and inwale. Believe it or not the outwale is on the outside and the inwale is inside. The L brackets on this boat looked to be mounted on the side of the hull right below the inwales. From the pic I saw they will be short lived. Most cane seats are hanging from the inwale by a machine bolt through the inwale, then a wood block, then through the seat support. If kneeling the seats need to be canted (angled) from back to front. The size and shape of the block will determine the angle and seat height. This is often tricky as these blocks are seldom square in any dimension. Seek some help.
Having 2 seats in a 14’ canoe is a puzzle to me unless it is an absolute tub.
A true solo canoe is one in which the paddler stationed at the beam (center) and can without shifting his position, execute cross strokes. If you cannot do this then you might want to learn Canadian Style paddling (all on one side. IMO, a 14’ tandem canoe is too crowded and very sluggish in forward travel. I would get a good kneeling pad, forget the yoke, and put a center seat for solo paddling. Take my word for it paddling solo in a rear seat is not the thing to do. There’s a ton more to know but this will have to do for now. Paddle selection is very important and a whole subject unto itself. If you were closer, I’d give you some free lessons. I’ve been an instructor for 25 years.

I have been canoeing since 2016 when I canoed down the Yukon river (Whitehorse to Carmacks). I have been back canoe camping ever since but I have always rented canoes. This year I wanted to start “messing around” with my own canoe and by buying one (even a crappy one I concede) I am learning a lot already. I wouldn’t have liked to start with an expensive one as I am currently storing it outside.

Having said that, I appreciate your feedback a lot.
The inwale of this canoe doesn’t have an inside edge that I can use to hang a seat. Does this type of gunwale have a name? How am I supposed to hang something out of it? You previously mentioned
> installing something on the side just reduces the amount of freeboard
Does that mean drilling into the inside hull (or inwale) to create that edge to hang the seats from?

So…the pictures show a gunwale that is either vinyl or aluminum. To hang a seat you take a piece of flat aluminum bent 90 degrees and slide it under the gunwale. You then drill holes through the gunwale, hull and the hanger and put in 3/16 pop rivets to hold it - the heads on the outside. The seat is then bolted to the 90 degree shelf with stainless steel #10 machine screws.