Safe to remove thwart?


I have an Old Town Discovery 158 with the snap-in center seat. As is, this seat is useless as it sits directly between the yoke and twart. Not even a child could occupy it.

I’d like to remove the thwart but I fear this may compromise the integrity of the craft. Any opinions on this move?


Paul A Gigl JR

Extra Thwart
I have a Disco 158 and the first thing I did was take out the extra thwart as it interferred with using the boat for poling. That was in 99’ I’ve run this boat on all my long trips, in up to class III water and never had a problem. Go for it, doesn’t seem to hurt my boat!


Go For It

– Last Updated: Aug-14-07 5:48 AM EST –

IMO the only way you can hurt a Discovery is with a torch.
If, after you've removed the center thwart, you feel the gunnels are flexing too much you can always add thwarts on either side of your new seat.


Morning Doug!

Funny you asked.
I just sent off e-mails to two very knowlegeable canoe paddlers asking the same question, but in my case. I had removed the center seat in a Jensen and replaced it with a carry yoke. I now wanted to remove the carry yoke and have nothing there, but the consensus was it would be a mistake, and in rough water the sides could possibly get pushed in.

In your case as long as that center seat support goes all the way across and is rigid, I wouldn’t hesitate one bit removing the thwart.



A Disco ain’t a Jensen
An Old Town Discovery is a heavy polyethelene tub with vinyl covered aluminum gunwales. Heat is about the only thing that will pemanently push it out of shape.

If I’m not mistaken the Jensen is a race weight (light) kevlar layup with gunnels to match.

Apples and oranges.


not quite that simple …
Let me begin by saying I love my 158 because it’s a battleship and it is the boat I use whenever my paddling plans indicate there is a high probability of hull damage.

However, as tough as the hull might be, when I removed the thwarts and seats for refinishing last year the gunwales did cave in by a couple of inches, so they’re not just sitting there taking up space.

Did you have any problems when you refinished yours? Mine are off right now, I spent four or five hours Sunday trying to strip them with an “enviromentally friendly” stripper. I don’t know if this product is junk or if the wood has been coated with clear epoxy because the only varnish I was able to remove was already UV damaged. I’m going to finish with an orbital sander and a sanding sponge.

Paul A Gigl Jr

I also have a OT Disco 158
As long as there is one or the other left I wouldn’t think there would be a problem, but I wouldn’t take both away and leave nothing, and that is not what I said above.



no problems on my end …
but then again I have a well-equipped woodshop with a benchtop belt sander – one of nature’s greatest and indispensable power tools.