[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.