Wenonah Tractor Seat--fix or replace?

The tractor seat in my Wenonah Rendezvous slides on a frame and the frame was secured to the floor of the hull. It appears a layer of cloth was draped over the rails of the frame and cemented (epoxy?) in place. The layer of material is separating from the hull and the seat frame is loose.


In the year I have been paddling this boat, I have not become especially enamored of the tractor seat arrangement. Thoughts of replacing it with a canoe seat have crossed my mind, but my tendency is to paddle the boat rather than work on it, so the tractor seat remains. On numerous occasions I have cursed the frame because it is in the way when I am trying to dive onto the bottom of the boat to squeeze under a limbo log.

It would, I suppose, be easy to rip out the frame, clean everything up real well, and epoxy the frame down with a layer of glass on top. But, I think I would just as soon have a canoe seat. Any suggestions on how to proceed, and if it is with a seat, how to install, will be appreciated.

Call Wenonah
Ask them about ordering a set of their aluminum seat hangers and some rivets. You can drill out some gunwale rivets, insert the hangers, and secure them when you re-rivet the gunwales back in place.

You can order a wood frame cane or webbed seat from Essex Industries or Ed’s Canoe.

To remove the sliding seat frame you may be able to break the fiberglass cloth that secures it to the hull bottom with a putty knife, or you may need to remove it by sanding it off or using a Dremel tool. Sand off any remnants of 'glass because the edges can be very sharp.

I would be inclined to cover over the “raw” 'glass surface with some epoxy after removing the frame.

Regular West System 105/205 epoxy will work as will G-flex epoxy. The G-flex can be purchased in small quantities for less than $20 and mixed “by eye” without metering pumps, however. Apply it with a little plastic squeege available at any hardware store.

How much do you want for the seat
and pedestal?

Tractor seat comfort
I have canoes with tractor seat and canoes with web seats. I prefer the canoes with tractor seats but they MUST have to be have a pad on them. Thermarest sleep pads work well. I also like having a sliding seat in a single. You can adjust the trim of the canoe depending on the wind. A tractor seat with foot braces and straps is also more efficient to paddle than a web seat with braces and straps.

Maybe but for Chip
efficiency means not getting head trauma.

Its far easier to maneuver your body in various positions low go if you have room under the seat.

Eds contour bucket seat is a reasonable alternative to remain centered for sit and switch while allowing freedom undeneath for manuevering of legs.

Comfort is good
I have no complaints about the comfort of the seat and can sit in it for many hours without even the foam pad that it came with. The pad is not worth the trouble of attaching and detaching every time I use the canoe and I am not sure where it is at this point.

What are the straps you refer to when you say “foot brace and straps”?

I don’t feel well connected to the boat when I am sitting in the seat with my legs outstretched. Do I need to shorten up the foot brace, bending my knees so that I can get my knees onto the gunwales? I spend a lot of time with my butt on the seat and my knees on the floor, especially if there is a need for maneuvering the boat. Even so, from the center seat position, I have a hard time leaning the boat as far as I want when the boat is loaded with gear.

I was recently in a head wind situation and pulled my seat fully forward. The improvement in upwind paddling made me smile and think, so this is why people like these sliding seats!

I am dithering on replacement. Maybe I should just fix it and learn to paddle it the way Wenonah intended. For the most part, they seem to know what they are doing!



Try this
Move the foot brace closer so that your knees are flexed and somewhat splayed more like the posture of a kayaker.

Some minicell knee bumps glued onto the hull sides just below the gunwales to rest your knees against will give you two more points of contact to control heeling the boat.

I too would like to buy the seat…

– Last Updated: Mar-27-11 10:54 PM EST –

If you take out the tractor seat and frame and earlier posters ar not interested, I am VERY interested in buying it.
That said, I kneel in my tractor seat with a knee on either side of the seat. I made a small knee pad for either side. When I get stiff, I move to the seated position and use the foot brace/thigh brace that was mentioned above. But the kneeling position allows me to move the boat with my hips, and I definately feel connected to the boat.
Hope this helps

Take a length of webbing and use three or four stainless steel hose-claps to create two stirrups on the footbrace. These stirrups allow a very solid point of connection to the boat and allow you to heal the boat from a seated position quite easily. I also recommend gluing mini-cell foam underneath the gunwale for padding the knees.

Some thoughts from my 2 Wenonahs

My Advantage has the same setup - pedestal tractor seat on a frame adhered to the bottom that allows one to move it fore and aft.

My Wenonah tandem kevlar canoe has the seats supported on a L shaped brackets attached by rivets thru the hull. The portage yoke is wood and attached by a metal hanger bracket that lies below the gunnel, bracket riveted thru the gunnel. I think you might get some ideas on how to install an alternative seat from the tandem setup on my Wenonah. I’ll send photos if you like, and Wenonah advice is probably the best place to start.


Work with the Seat
I think I should work with the seat Wenonah put in the boat, adjust as described in this thread, outfitted with foam knee bumpers and see if I can’t learn to work with the seat.

The Rendezvous can crank a turn if you get the ends out of the water, and that takes a lot of leaning. I can do it with the boat empty, but it is harder with the boat loaded. I found I could carve a turn with the radios of a boat-length. If I want to turn in less space, the ends need to come up. I wonder if the reason I am peeling the frame off the floor is because I’m going about leaning wrong?

Straps on the foot brace sound ominous to me. I start getting trapped-in-boat creepies. In the sea kayak, I hold myself in the boat with a bit of pressure between foot pegs and back band. I’m wondering about a back band vs. straps for my feet. I do hate to increase the number of parts of a canoe though. They ought to be simple things

Assuming I keep the tractor and frame, should I just redo what Wenonah did by applying a new layer of glass over the bottom rails of the frame? It seems inevitable that the 90 degree fold of clothe where the frame meets the hull is going to weaken and break down. Once that happens, the separation will begin again. Anybody think it’s a good idea to add a piece of angle material (fiberglass or aluminum) snuggled up and glued to frame and hull joint? Would that even help?


Needs more goo
Thicken some epoxy with microballoons and cabosil, apply to the bottoms of the rails and let it ooze out.

Then drape some saturated glass cloth over and work things around so you get a radius instead of a sharp corner.

But, if you glue it in like this it’s never gonna come out.

Otherwise, how about some carriage bolts right through the bottom of the hull?

I had a seat come loose in a Voyager and that is how BMO repaired it.

Installing a tractor seat in a Voyager which had a side drop seat previous (redoing the whole boat and there was no seat when bought it). What I am hoping for is pictures of an existing installed seat for location and bonding. Any tips to complete the job through seat and exterior resurface are welcome and appreciated.

If I had to do it again, I’m not sure I’d reinstall the tractor seat. I know some love tractor seats, but I think a traditional, hung-from-the-gunwales seat gives the paddler a bit more flexibility for positioning than the tractor seat. Furthermore, with the seat hung from the gunwales, the bottom of the boat can flex when you pass over a log or rock. Conversely, with a floor-mounted tractor seat, the weight of the paddler is on the bottom of the boat, the better to grind the bottom of the hull over any rock or log encountered.

As far as position in the boat, you probably want the seat to be in about the same position as it was. If unsure, I suggest you use something as a temporary seat, get in the boat and paddle it a bit from different locations and see what you like. I sometimes use a small step stool as a seat. Some people like their weight to be centered in the boat, some want to be a bit behind center, and then there are “cab-forward” enthusiasts, which I can’t speak to. So, if you can try it out, you’ll be more certain of liking the results of your seat install.

The Wenonah tractor seat in the Rendezvous sits on a rectangular aluminum frame that is bonded to the bottom of the boat. The frame is square, that is, the members of the frame were assembled with 90-degree corners and each piece is either wholly flat or upright. The bottom of the canoe, on the other hand, is curved both front to back and side to side. So, the frame members don’t sit flat against the canoe bottom. That is why I used epoxy, thickened to about peanut-butter consistency, under the frame. The thickened epoxy fills up the gaps between the squared frame and the curved hull. Then, I added fiberglass fabric on top of the bottom frame members, draping over the sides of the frame and extending two inches along each side. It has held up well.

Good luck with your refurb. Those Voyagers are nice canoes.


Thank you for the response. Your knowledge of the Voyager and paddling in general is very solid. You brought up some great points to consider for placement. The detail you gave for bonding will allow me to move forward with much more confidence. Again thank you.