Warped used canoe

Bought a used canoe and noticed it tipped easier to one side than the other. After looking closer at it, I now realize one side of the canoe is steeper than the other. Can this be fixed? It’s my first canoe, so I guess I didn’t know what to look for when I bought it. The owner told me it was stored in his garage and it’s only 7 years old. My guess is perhaps he stored it propped up on its side? I really hope I can fix this somewhat. It’s not unusable, but it very obviously tips one way.

I think you got it right - it was stored on it’s right side. Short of storing it on it’s left I can’t think of a fix. Maybe hot weather will speed it up a bit.

I see your canoe is an Old Town but not sure what the boats hull material is. Do you know what it is made from or have a year and model and maybe we could figure it out?

I would start with removing the seats, yoke and thwarts and see if it springs back any. Then I would try putting a couple ratchet straps around it and carefully apply some tension on them to squeeze the side back in. If it will move and depending on the material (some have a memory) I would put it out in the sun hull up on saw horses and see if the sun will warm it and help it come back to shape. Again depending on material sometimes really hot water (not boiling) will allow the material memory to take over.

Others have more experience than me with this and may add their input. I was able to get a very large (hog) dent out of the bottom of mine with these methods.
:canoe: Welcome to the forum!

Apologies, I should have included that info in the original post. It’s a 2016 Discovery 169. Thanks!

It doesn’t look like too many are jumping in to offer advice on correcting the hull of your boat. Thanks for providing the year and model. Yours is quite similar to my OT canoe and it is made from 3 layers of poly where the inner and outer layer are solid material with a layer of foamed poly between. They are a good tough boat that run heavier than most here like but for cost and durability and if you wont be needing to carry them long distances they IMO work great.

The one drawback is if improperly stored or strapped down to a car top overly tight in the hot sun will change shape. I bought mine from a guy that stored it outside right side up on a wood pile and the bottom was pushed up and I was able to correct that and get it back in proper shape. Yours is a little tricky being stored on its side likely in a hot garage. The proper way IMO is to store it in a shady cool place upside down on saw horses or such spaced at around 1/3 the length. I keep mine uncovered and outside and it has air movement in and around it.

You need to rig something with straps or such as I mentioned above with the supports removed to encourage the proper shape to return and then even add a little heat. Sun will work but takes some time. My hot water is from my water heater is set higher than most kind of to where a commercial kitchen would have it set I don’t know the exact setting but you don’t want to use pure hot on your skin. I also have the hot water available outside and letting it flow over the hull while the hull is being pushed into the correct shape will reverse the problem areas.

It is a little tricky if you use straps say or something to wedge the sides out to not change both sides at once. The trick is to get the heat on the side you want to move. If you had wooden saw horses you could screw blocks spaced at the width you were trying to maintain that would lock against the gunwales and then add a couple ratchet straps. Use the hot water and at the same time tighten the straps.

I think if you are willing to play with it you can get it at least to where it will paddle ok.

Good luck and keep us posted as to what you come up with.

Looks like new seats/thwart. Could the measurements be off a little forcing that side out some?

Probably useable as is.
Very hard to fix.
You can do better.

First canoes are like buying your first car. They may not be the best thing out there but they get you started and in my case I can’t think of the last time I had so much fun for what it cost me.

I bought an OT 147 guide for 150 bucks that is heavy and had a bulge across the bottom. It sells new for 950 bucks and the OPs is a step up and sells new for 1200 bucks. If he got it for a good price and is someone like me that likes to tinker with things he can end up with a nice starter boat.

I didn’t make mine perfect but improved it enough to get out and start paddling. That would be my goal with this boat as well. I was kind of at the same point as my boat would have worked as it was but I’m the type of person that at least wants to give it a try and see if I can fix it. This boat I don’t know if I would like knowing it is tippy to one side or if it wont track straight.

I suspect the anomaly is minor. The way you drew it and picture show the “left” side steeper. The qquestion would be if you turned around and paddled stern first which side does it tip easier to.

No dont think it out like a tipical web poster, test it, confirm it. Sometimes it is our subconscious self thinks the boat is doing something when it is the paddler.

Storing boat on opposite side might be a cheap fix. I store mine upside down outside and right side up inside.

I’m not familiar with canoes, so this suggestion might not work. But, could you make a wooden bar, like a diagonal cross brace, and use it to help push the canoe back into shape? I added my suggestion to your sketch below. The wood bar(s) could go under a thwart at the upper end where I assume the gunnel is most rigid. At the lower and, press a wedge in (in a front/back direction) to gently push on the flattened area. You might need to shape the end of the bar and the wedge to avoid applying too much concentrated pressure. Some pads between the wood and the hull might be necessary too. Then, as others suggested, let the heat of the sun help soften the hull and hopefully encourage the repaired shape to take hold.


Thank you all for the info. The canoe tracks straight and is only slightly tippier on that side no matter whether I paddle from the bow or stern. I’m mostly upset because I feel like I paid too much. I paid $900 for it, two seats, and two paddles. Everything else about the canoe is in great shape. I just feel sheepish about not noticing the warp.


Even though you think you paid too much $900 is really cheap entertainment and the ability to get outside amongst nature…priceless. My first boat was a disco 174 and I still have a disco 186 currently. The main goal is to use it and not let it sit.