Replacing Gunnels

Need to replace the gunwales (gunnels) and end plates on an 18’ white guide fiberglass. The originals are dry rotted. Any suggestions for 1) instructional guides or 2) ash and cherry stock in the No. Virginia region?


Tom C

To get an idea of what you’re in for:

– Last Updated: Sep-12-12 4:14 PM EST –

Good luck finding ash in lengths like you need. The mills don't generally saw logs that long. You might consider KD rails from Ed's.

Oh, yeah. And if I ever have to do it again, I'm gonna drive north in the middle of the night and steal these clamps first! Or, maybe, just pay Rob to do it right.

Make scarf-joined gunwales
Use a 7:1 or greater scarf joint angle, stagger the joints between the inwale and outwale and try to dodge the mid-section of the hull with the scarf joints.

Use Titebond III or something else waterproof and keep a finish on the gunwales going forward.

I successfully re-gunwaled a few boats with this procedure including a Wenonah Itasca.

Hope this helps.

Finding clear 19’ ash would be tough
I’ve got a canoe with scarf joints and haven’t had any problems.

I’m watching you…

I’ve got ash 20 footers…
a precious commodity for sure.

I cheated and used pine Screen door molding for my gunwales.I store my strip builts in the boathouse (my wife says it is a garage silly girl ) I was able to get the length I need at 84lumber for just under $20.00 USD. For my use it seems to be holding up. My oldest boy has a strip built with cedar under screen molding that has seen 2 trips to algoinquin and is over 15 years old.

tried protocol
I’ll be glad to send you the Bell/Placid wood trim protocol that has worked for ~20,000 hulls. Email me at

Sources for rails include Ed’s, Essex Industry and Open boater as above.

Robertson drive screws available from McFeely’s, seat drops from Ed’s, Long 10-20 SS Machine screws for seat drops from McMaster-Carr.


Try the WCH Wooden Canoe Heritage website. They specialize in that kind of stuff. If you are going to the trouble to repair a noble boat, avoid scarf joints. White ash will be easy to find and the most durable.

You’ve got all kinds of hard-to-find

– Last Updated: Sep-13-12 9:44 PM EST –

goodies in your vault.

Lock up those clamps!