Wood gunnels on a Royalex?

Forgive me if this is a dumb question but…

I love the look of wood gunnels but is it unusual for someone to get them on a royalex canoe? Rather, is it a waste to spend the extra money for wood on a royalex? Besides look and feel, are there other benefits of wood vs. plastic?

Wood gunnels are great!
I’m in the process of replacing my old wood gunnels right now. My 17’ MR Explorer came with ‘Golden’ stained white ash. They eventually, after 20 year’s needed to be replaced from improper care for a few of those years.(stored outside) I’m replacing the gunnels and have sanded and stained all wood componets to a beautiful Dark Walnut. Changed the entire look of the canoe (Royalex). Wood gunnels are the feature that makes a Royalex canoe alittle better looking than the black plastic coated aluminum rails.

If you live in a cold climate and your boat is stored in the cold - remember about royalex cracks. The guns should be loosened in cold months.

Wood be good
Wha Ho, Pilgrim

Wood be so much purdier than vinyl. A little yearly oilin’ is all it takes ta keep it looking good. Don’t fergit ta remove de screws on de last 3-4 feet of de ends if yer gonna store it in cold temperatures ta avoid possible cold cracking.


Definitely prefer the look of wood
I admit, though, that I fear the day I inspect the boat for cold cracks. The boat is stored outside in the weather, and even though I try to keep the gunnels well oiled to prevent water damage, I’ve never loosened the ends.

The dilemma: I like paddling in the winter, and taking the time to screw the ends of the gunnels back in before a trip and then backing them out again in the cold after the trip is enough extra hassle that I’ve never done it. I may pay the price…don’t know yet.


Wenonah slots de screw holes

– Last Updated: Feb-29-08 1:11 PM EST –

in dem's wood gun'neled Royalex hulls so de screws kin' move a bit but ah'd still at least loosin' de screws up a'might. If yer don't have slots yer kin cut yer own.


I don’t like the maintenance of wood
gunwales on any boat.

Other people love them. I’ll sacrafice pretty for low maintenance.

I say scrap the Royalex and make the whole bloomin’ canoe wood!!!

BA, ha, ha, ha, ha.

(But I’m a possessed individual).

Yer gots dat right… WC.


You’ve convinced me.
I’ll paddle the wood canoe and give you the joy of the regular maintenance.

I do lust every time I see an all wood solo canoe for sale. Some are such works of art. What holds me back is periodically (at least once per year, from what I’ve read) refinishing the varnish. I don’t even like repainting my small front porch once a year.

I do revere and admire people who build and maintain those beautiful boats.


– Last Updated: Feb-29-08 3:46 PM EST –

This is off topic, but the maintenance ain't bad. A little varnish touchup after 5 or 10 years, maybe a new paint job after 10 years, maybe new canvas after 20 years....

Someone, somewhere, once said, "Its a canoe, not a piano"!!

I have variations…
Composite boats with aluminum gunwales

Composite boats with wood trim

Royalex boats with vinyl trim

Royalex boats with wood trim

That trend continues; my last 4 boats were 2 composites with wood trim, 1 composite with aluminum trim, and 1 Royalex with vinyl trim.

I even had 2 whitewater solos (MR Outrage X & MR Outrage) in Royalex layup with wood trim.

I much prefer wood trim, no matter what the canoe material. I just like the beauty of it, and I do not mind the maintenance. All my boats are stored indoors; weather is not an issue, and I have plenty of time to “play with boats”.


I vote wood. Make your own from scratch. It is a learning task and a memory for life. Even make spares for later or for someone else. Do it as Mr. Wood-right would do if you ante up the fun in trying it.

Ah’ gots…

– Last Updated: Mar-01-08 8:24 AM EST –

SPAM, Royalex wit vinyl an' SPAM...

SPAM, SPAM, Royalex wit vinyl an' aluminum an' SPAM...

SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, Royalex wit wood an' SPAM...

SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, composite wit wood an' SPAM...

SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, wood wit wood an' SPAM...

SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, wood an' canvas wit wood an' SPAM...

Let's all sing along - SPAM! SPAM! SPAM! SPAM!"



Spamity SPAM!
O wonderful SPAM!

Get that boat done Mike…
Looking forward to doing some paddling/poling with you and RS this spring.