Squeaky Appalachian

Hello, All. I have an Old Town Appalachian that is the squeakiest boat ever. Everytime you move, it sounds like a squeaky old door. It is like canoeing in a squeaky rocking chair. Drives me crazy! I have other Old Towns and other makes and this is the only one that squeaks. Any thoughts? Thanks,

Might be de varnished thwarts

– Last Updated: Jul-14-09 9:45 AM EST –

rubbin' on de gunnels be causin' de squeakers. Yer could try loosenin' de thwarts an' slippin' some waxpaper or plastic film 'tween dem an' de gunnel an' tighten up the bolts agin'.... or pullin' de thwarts off and sandin' de varnish off waar they meet de gunnels, erlin' de wood and reattachin' a'gin. Dats wat woyked fer me in de past.


Have you tightened all the screws?
If that didn’t work, maybe loosen them back up and put some oil between the wooden pieces. Watco dries sticky, which would seem like a plus.

Leave some cheese in the boat at nite.

Seat hangers?
As I recall, OT uses round dowels for the seat drops, which have minimal rigidity.

Try sanding and oiling (Watco Exterior or Teak) all seating surfaces that come in contact with each other, and make sure that the hanger bolts are tight.


Oil, or maybe wax.

– Last Updated: Jul-14-09 2:10 PM EST –

Logical advice given so far. I think wood-finishing oil will work, but you might also try paraffin. The center seat of my guide-boat is usually just a store-bought canoe seat trimmed to rest on top of a pair of permanent parallel rails. The seat is tied to prevent it from sliding forward or backward, but the contact points do "creep" slightly with every stroke of the oars as I rock on the seat. I found that paraffin applied to the contact points stops the squeaking quite well, and I'm sure the same would be true for the contact surfaces within bolted connections for seat hangers or thwarts, whether wood-to-wood, or vinyl-to-wood, or probably anything else too.

If the seats are swaying side-to-side, try putting tight-fitting blocks of minicel between the outside of the seat hangers and the inside of the hull.

I think Jim has the answer.
I think the dowel seat hangers may be the problem. My Camper (which I no longer have) had squeaky seats and so did my Penobscot when I bought it. Both had the round dowel hangers. When I replaced those aging seats, I hung them from solid truss seat hangers like those sold by Ed’s Canoe (but of my own manufacture). Now my Penobscot doesn’t squeak at all - ever.

I think the flex inherent in the hollow dowel hangers due to the lack of rigidity in the design causes and/or contributes to the squeak. As further evidence, my Wenonah has solid aluminum truss hangers but is otherwise similar in construction and has never squeaked. My NC Prospector, which has separate (though rectangular in cross-section) hangers on each corner like the OT canoes, does exhibit some very minor squeaking if you apply sideways pressure to the seat. Front to back pressure though, doesn’t squeak at all. Naturally - since those hangers are thicker than the round dowels used by OT and the front-to-back width is even wider. Because of that difference, the bolted joints are stiffer and have much less flex.

Truss-style hangers are cheap to buy and easy to make and install. It’s well worth the effort to give them a try and see if that eliminates the squeaky seats. When the slow season (winter) rolls around, my Prospector will also receive truss-style seat hangers.

Thanks, All good suggestions.

Another vote for trusses
ANd they look sooooo much better than dowels. Fairly easy to make, even if you don’t have lots of woodworking machinery.

Like the parafin idea too.


A Third Vote For Trusses
I used to guide for a company that had a dozen Appys in the fleet. We averaged 1 broken seat hanger per outing until we switched to solid truss hangers … no more broken seats after that.

Might could be sand . . .
I agree with the above, but another possibility is sand in the gunwales. Give it a good wash at a car wash and try to get that stuff out as much as possible.

not sure but …

– Last Updated: Jul-14-09 11:41 PM EST –

...... I have a difficult time imagining any squeak could be coming from anything in contact with the soft vinyl ... soft vinyl doesn't squeak , does it ??

Other material contact points like varnished wood on wood , alum. etc. , I can see them squeaking ... seats make sense to me .

Hi Folks,

I know this thread is 10 yrs old but thought I’d contribute my solution to this problem given that I’m sure this problem persists with folks today.

I have a two year old Old Town Disco 169 and it’s creaked since purchased. I picked up solo paddling the boat significantly this season. As a result, the creaking of both the portaging yoke and rear support thwart really began interfering with the calmness that comes with a nice solo paddle.

I performed the fix below and the issue is now 100% fixed - absolutely silent.

Unlike some posts in this thread that reference the seat supports, both of my seats with the classic old Town circular dowels have remained silent since the get-go so no modification was required there.

For the two thwarts, I took a bicycle inner tube and cut gaskets to fit between the top of the thwarts and the gunnels.

I applied graphite lubricant to the top side of these gaskets (resting against the gunnels) and then another layer of graphite on the thwart itself (resting against the underside of the gasket). I then cut rubber washers to sit between the underside of the twarts and the metal washer. Tightened down TIGHT with a ratchet - and voila! Silence :slight_smile:

Only word of caution, the graphite lube is very light and can easily be blown all over the place if you’re not careful/it’s windy. So I recommend lining your boat with a tarp and use painters tape on the first few inches of your thwarts (out from the gunnels) to avoid a big black mess).

Cheers from Canada