Prepping woodwork on a new old canoe - Navarro Loon

Hello, everybody!

I have recently acquired a Navarro Loon (16 ft.) which has never been on the water, though it was made in 1997. This boat was previously used as a decoration in a restaurant, then stored in a garage for several years. She looks great, but could use a touch-up to rejuvenate the wood, etc.

I have done a bit of reading on the boards, and this is what I’m thinking…

First, the wood. I think it may have been varnished a long time ago. Most places have a shiny appearance, but the underside of the gunnels seem bare. I’m thinking of sanding all of the wood and applying Teak oil or Deks Olje D1 (if I can get some). [I should mention that I live in Japan, where paddling is not as popular as in the USA, so many products are expensive/difficult to get.] Also, there are a few black spots here and there. Not sure what they are. They seemed to sand off okay when I tried a couple of spots. Any suggestions re. what grit sandpaper to use?
Should I bother taking off the seats and working on them? How about the yoke? The seats and yoke seem to have more intact varnishing.


Next, the brass on the decks (presumably for painter’s lines?) It’s well oxidized. Should I unscrew and remove it to shine it up or leave it in place?

Next, the seat webbing has some black stuff on it. I’m guessing it’s from the time spent in the restaurant, where black, oily dust seems to accumulate on things. (If you’ve ever worked in a restaurant, you know what I’m talking about.) Is there any way to clean this up? The apparently canvas webbing is definitely varnished.

Next, the bottom looks great, but I want to clean it up.

I was thinking of using this.


Finally, one of the logo decals is peeling off. I was thinking of removing it.

The other side is perfect.

Alright, that’s enough for now. Thanks in advance for any thoughts or advice you may be able to share.


Here’s what I do when I buy a used canoe.

First I’d scrub the whole boat with a brush and non-abrasive cleanser like Bartender’s Helper. Then I wash the boat using Dawn dish soap. I think that might take care of the black spots. The 3M product you posted would be good as a final step for the outside of the hull.

For the wood I use 100 grit then 150 then 220 and then use 320 for applying the oil as described on the link. You might be able to skip the 100 grit since the boat is unused.

Your choice about removing the imperfect decal. I have sometimes removed all decals to give a canoe a more pure appearance. Goo Gone or acetone will remove any adhesive that sticks to the boat. Navarro still exists so you could probably order a new decal if you like.

I’d guess that any brass cleaner would shine up your stem bands. Ideally you’d remove them (and the thwarts and seats) when refinishing the wood if you want the most perfect result but you’ll also be able to do a nice job if you leave everything in place. It’s your choice.

Finally I suggest that you snug up all the fasteners on the boat…they don’t have to be super tight, just snug. And I don’t know what your seat webbing is made of but I suggest treating with some sort of oil or leather conditioner because seats can dry out when unused for decades and may tear/fail the first time you use it…that often happens with cane seats.

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soap and water. The black spots could be mildew and the afore mentioned grease. My gunwales got black spots often when I lived near the ocean. Gunwales are never typically varnished on the bottom. You can oil them if you like. The babiche seems to be plastic and soap and water should work. Put in a very mild bleach solution. If the seats are leather use a leather conditioner.

Its a brass stem band and not used for painter lines. Bartenders Helper will remove oxidation.

Navarro wants the old time cedar planked canvas covered look but with composite construction. Tale care of the cedar “rib” veneer! Those are very thin.

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Leave that boat alone and start using it. You have no idea how much work it is to sand all of those ribs and planks. clean it all you want. You can clean up the brass with Brasso or metal cleaner.

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Thank you for the replies! I will reply to the various parts you have suggested as time allows. :wink:

Alright, let’s start.

The seat material seems to be canvas which has been varnished (I don’t know why). I’ll try to get a closeup shot for verification.

Thanks! :sunglasses:

Will do. Thanks for the advice!

Thanks, but I actually have to wait about a month before I can get her out on the water. I’m recovering from surgery.

I will only be sanding the gunnels (gunwales?), decks, yoke and maybe seats. The ribs are not exposed.

It’ll give me some time to get to know her before we hit the water. Believe me, I’ll be out there as soon as I can be. :grin:

gunnels are a fish. Gunwales are the top edge of the hull. Sometimes wood vinyl or integrated. Gunnel is an alternative spelling. You never see gunwales spelt any other way here in Maine.

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Hi Kento. You can probably skip the Bartender’s Helper altogether especially since I’d expect that 3M product to work well. I’ve just had good luck cleaning up filthy boats with many years of heel marks on the inside. Or just use any non-abrasive cleanser…they will say non-abrasive on the label.

Teak oil will work well.

Yes I am sure that Goo Gone won’t hurt your gelcoat. I recently used it on a Bell Magic that had Ohio registration numbers on it for 25 years. I actually used acetone to finish the job since the glue remnants were stubborn…the acetone was more effective and did no harm but I did wash the boat (with Dawn) immediately after using it.

On wood/canvas boats the brass stem bands are used for protection and to finish the ends where the canvas and wood all come together.

On your boat they are likely just decorative to help give your canoe that traditional wood/canvas look just like the interior wood ribs.

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Gotcha. :wink:

The Goo Gone worked wonderfully.


Oh, I see. :sunglasses: