Thwart replacement

To preface, I have a Wenonah Vagabond in Royalex. Would I have any issues with replacing the factory thwarts with wider stock to permanently mount rod and drink holders as long as I kept factory placement and length? I’m thinking something along the lines of 1x6 and adding an additional bolt per side for support. I’d of course taper the ends as needed to retain current hull shape. Besides making handy mounts for rod holders (either flushmount or RAM, still undecided but leaning toward flush to avoid anything sticking up above gunwale)I could also make some kind of catch-all for small items I’d prefer weren’t lying around in the bilge. Anyone tried this? I tried a search but came up empty. Thanks.

I have replaced and moved…
thwarts on various canoes thanks to Canunut’s original guidance and now don’t hesitate to do it at all.



No it won’t be a problem!!!
Those are only in there for structure in the Vagabond.


Not too hard
I replaced the stock ones on my Rendezvous with much heavier ones when I modified it.

I think you’ve already got the idea about tapering it to fit the curve of the boat. Don’t overlook the fact that the bolts might not be long enough and don’t forget to drill holes for the bolts. I recommend it off the boat after marking, you know from experiance.

I was able to use a thwart I had purcahsed to fix another boat but one person had posted he used red oak from unfinished wood floor.

Great idea by the way for mounting fishing gear.

I replaced the ash thwarts in my MR
Synergy with “lighter” ones made of spruce. I glassed the ends to keep the bolts from breaking out. Last summer the center thwart bolt broke, but the spruce thwart was fine.

Most of the loads on thwarts are tension or compression, so unless you intend to stand on them a lot, or free a boat by pulling on one (not recommended), I would suggest not adding weight with heavier thwarts.

If you are going to solo carry it,
then be aware that the thwart placement, front to back, will affect the balance and weight distribution when on your shoulder. As I understand it, the weight distribution should be such that the rear half is just slightly heavier than the front half. This is in case you should trip or have a problem while carrying it, and in event of that, you could push the canoe away from you during your fall, instead of it falling in front of you and making the situation potentially worse. I moved the thwart back on my royalex canoe about 2" to get that weight distrubtion, and it made portaging much more comfortable, and safer.

You can do it. MickJetBlue

The vagabond doesn’t have a center
thwart, and I posted this thinking of a center thwart’s positioning. Please disregard.