I just picked up a Kevlar MRC Explorer for a really good price, and am thinking about gussying it up a little bit. Somebody replaced the original trim with vinyl gunwales and plastic decks. I’m planning on leaving the gunwales as is, but want to make some wood decks, as I’m not too fond of the bulky plastic look with the finger indents on the molded grab bars.
Has anyone done this, or do you have pics of a boat like this? I’d love to get some inspiration, and see how other people have mated the wood to the vinyl in a way that looks good. I have some ash and cherry kicking around my shop that would look good.
All pictures and relevant advice welcome. Thanks!
Vinyl gunwales have open channels and will not extend all the way to the stem of the hull. What is more, the gunwales might not end at the same location on both sides.
Personally, I would leave it as is, but if you want wooden decks you would be best off going with a simple on-laid deck screwed into the tops of the gunwales. Simply remove the existing deck plates and make a template of some material like thin plywood or hard cardboard from which to trace you deck plates. Use any wood that appeals to you. You could add short carry handle thwarts to each end just inboard of the deck plates and you could probably use the existing gunwale holes to mount them.
I was going to recommend same thing as pblanc, some sort of decorative deckplate that just covers the gunwales. Screw attachment probably best but good structural adhesive is an option too if the deck is thin.
And just fyi edscanoe.com sells Mad River replacement parts in case you’d like some authentic MR carry handles or whatever.
Right, forgot the vinyl gunwales have an open profile. I bet I can fabricate something attractive to plug it. And I like the on-laid deck idea. Thanks all!
I would not try to plug up the ends of the gunwales. Water will make its way into the gunwales through various screw holes or just between the gunwale skirt and the hull and you want it to be able to drain out.
When it is stored up side down rainwater will travel down the gunwale and into the plastic deck cavity and accumulate. I drilled a .25” hole in the end/top of both plastic decks to let it drain. Makes for a dry boat when I flip it over.
I personally wouldn’t go after making new decks but I can see someone wanting something personalized. From a practical stand point the handles are very useful I have my painter lines attached there rather than the grab loops.