I am replacing the wood gunwales on a 17’ Mad River Minstrel and trying to decide if I want to use the one piece from my local shop or the knock down gunwale system from Ed’s Canoe. I can save $60 if I go with Ed’s. What are the pros and cons of using the knock down system? Ed will grove the gunwales so they will over lap over and make a snug fit.
Unless your local shop can select and
rip gunwales without grain run out, knots, or faults, you might do better with Eds. Eds should be able to select near perfect pieces for the segments. Now, whether Eds will be that perfectionistic, I don’t know.
I think that, in principle, Eds segments can be glued together to be as strong as a continuous piece. Would be glad to hear the opinions of others.
Local shop Gunwales
The local shop probably buys them from Ed’s! He supplies most of the canoe manufactures in the U.S.
I have no reason to believe Ed’s sells any more gunwales than Essex Industries. Both do a fine job, back in my day Placid boats bought rails from both, but is using CobraSox XLT pretty much exclusively now.
The scarf joints on Ed’s rails shouldn’t be an issue, particularly in one epoxies carefully and gets 2 screws through both sticks at every joint. Just takes a little more time laying out the countersunk pilot holes on the inside.
With a composite hull you’ll want a rabbet to cap the laminate. It sounds like your dealer has wood rails for an ABS hull, which wouldn’t have a rabbet.
Email me at charliewilson610 and I’ll send the Bell/Pb rail installation instructions along. Another hint, use McFeely’s square drive screws - easier to install, almost impossible to ruin the socket. [I’d use torque drive if available.]