Refurbishing Old Town Canadienne

I recently picked up a 1990ish Canadienne which is in decent shape, but needs some work. The gunnels need to be refurbished - the lacquer is worn with the wood showing black spotting. I was wondering how to go about this repair so I’d appreciate any advice. Ideally I’d like to remove the lacquer and then maintain the wood with Watco as I do on my Bell Merlin. Can the wood be stripped without removing the wood from the canoe?

Also the stern seat is hung in an unusual fashion. There are the usual doll drops which are attached to a black wooden frame from which another set of drops extend down to the seat. I’m assuming this arrangement is to lower the seat. Is this a stock option and isn’t there a better (cleaner) way to accomplish the same thing? I’d like to get rid of the black frame.

Any comments would be appreciated.

seat question
The standard mounting for stern seats was just the long dowel spacers, with the brass diamond head bolts going through them directly through to the underside of the seat. It sounds like a previous owner modified the seat.

Re the gunwales, it would be most straightforward to strip the varnish off the gunwales in place. There’s a little bit of hand-fitting involved in getting the gunwales and the deck plate joinery done perfectly, and removing them would likely screw that up. Save the headaches by suspending the boat upside down from garage rafters (so that you don’t have to worry about stripper dripping down onto the gelcoat), doing a solid job of masking the areas adjacent to the gunwales, and using a gentle citrus based stripper.

For removing water stains (the dark stains), there are a few solutions, but you might want to try oxalic acid (following all precautions). I’ve never used it on mahogany, so I can’t guarantee that it won’t lighten it - best to find an inconspicuous area and test first.

Rounding gunnel edges
Thanks for the advice. I’ll post how the repair goes. I was also wondering about rounding the gunnel edges - they just seem to be pretty sharp. Would there be any problem rounding them off a bit?

Sanded the wood
Just wanted to let you know I decided to sand the wood. It worked great as all the staining was removed - I guess it wasn’t too deep. Anyway, I rubbed in Watco and the wood looks great. Problably too good for what I’ll be able to do with the hull. Also I removed the weird seat suspension in the rear and will be replacing both seats with heavy duty cane seats purchased on line at edsplace. As my more recent posts show, I’m now working on fiberglass repairs.

Post Some Pics When You’re Done
Would love to see it. Really nice hull, that I came close to buying in the early '90’s. Later, in the 2000’s, I looked for one for years. Finally gave up because even Canadiennes that were badly abused seemed to be commanding ridiculous prices. Would love to see one “Prettied up!” WW