Woodwork on 1987 Malecite

I recently bought a 1987 Malecite. It came with a partially used can of walnut colored Watco. The Watco had obviously been used on the gunwales. Does anyone know if Mad River offered walnut stained gunwales or did the previous owner apply the stained Watco over the original natural colored wood?

An interesting find was a date ink-stamped on the bottom side of both the bow and stern seats. Is that a common practice and why?

Another observation is that the gunwales on the 1887 Malecite are of very tight, straight-grained ash. I have a couple newer boats with significantly poorer quality woodwork. I guess 18 foot long straight-grained ash was a lot more common in 1987 than today.


I believe MR has offered walnut stained
woodwork at times. Can’t say about your Malecite.

Good ash is scarcer, and there’s a blight going around that is complicating things.

The best ash is straight grained, but with relatively wide spaced growth rings. That kind is somewhat less likely to split than close grained.

Maybe a little lighter, too.
My '91 Indy came with stained ash rails, thwarts and seat.

walnut stain
was standard on the almond beige boats. Clear on the dark colors

That explains it.
My Malecite’s hull is Sand colored. Oh well, now I have a sand colored hull with natural colored gunwales and deck plates.

Thanks for information.

It is correct that MRC stained all canoes that were “sand”. Additionally, dark stained wood was an “option” that could be custom ordered or perhaps on one of their annual Special Editions. Any canoe with stained wood also got the gold sticker package.

As far as your canoe’s wood goes, for future oiling, buy the Watco Danish Dark Walnut stain, mix it 1 to 1 with your Watco Exterior Wood finish and use that mixture. That’s all Mad River did for their stained boats.

Why would you have put that package
on my red “blem”?

Most likely…
It was a special order for red with stained wood for a customer or shop and in the production process something caused it to blem, therefore, they rebuilt another one b/c customer typically wants a 1st quality hull.

The only thing I can find "wrong"
with the boat is a little red bleed-through in one stem. Otherwise, it’s an outstanding layup. The original owner got a sweet deal buying it in Waitsfield and kindly passed on her savings to me.

1986 Malecite
Original owner of 1986 glass malecite with natural colored woodwork.

Ink stamp on seat frames.

Was offered in dark walnut stain or natural.

Gave up on watco and boiled linseed oil, use a light coat of polyurethane clear on all woodwork and top of cane seats. Redid seats a few times over the years. Lasted longer with a top coat of poly.