Saturday, March 13, 2010

Step One: Wash the Canoe

I officially kicked off the Winooski project last weekend with it's first washing in at least 4 years (probably many more). You'll be surprised what you learn about a boat when you wipe every surface. I uncovered several chips in the gelcoat and a bunch of tiny cracks. Looks like I'm going to get the opportunity to learn about gelcoat refinishing. Thankfully I have a few contacts including one at Mad River Canoe where I can seek advise. On the inside, the bath confirmed the need for all new trim and seats. I'll be replacing the cane seats with new web ones that I ordered from Mad River when I got the gunwales and other parts. I decided to get new seats rather than re-web the existing ones since this boat will be for sale when I'm finished.

Once the cleaning has shown you what you've got to replace and fix, take lots of pictures. Once all the trim is removed you'll be happy to have this reference when questions arise about details such as how the gunwales come together at the ends. Digital cameras have made this step much easier. I generally take 10 times the number of pictures I need and delete the unnecessary ones. Now that I'm comfortable that I've documented the details I'll start removing all the old trim.

On the topic of re-webbed seats, the Canoe ICU clinic on the 14th was on that subject. Chris joined me in the boathouse where we removed the rotten caning and wove new webbing on the wood frames. The picture shows seats through the process. The next Canoe ICU clinic is March 28th. We'll be installing skid plates. Call the shop at 828-877-3106 to sign up for this free clinic.

Happy Paddling,


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Spring Spruce-up Clinic is a success

The first of the Canoe ICU clinics was held on Feb. 28. Cliff and Susan joined me in the boat house for some maintenance projects on the rental boats. They were in the market for a used, light-weight canoe and wanted to find out what repairs are easy and what would be more serious problems. We reattached a deck plate on a We-No-Nah Northfork using pop rivets, re-glued knee pads and refinished the portage yoke in an Old Town Discovery 158. Cliff and Susan found a Swift Otter in IWANNA within a week and are now the proud owners of a beautiful white fiberglass canoe.

This Sunday the 14th, The ICU clinic is on seat repair and replacement. We'll pull the old seats out of the Winooski and replace seats in an Old Town Molitor that belongs to a customer. I'll also demonstrate how to redo old seats with webbing. This week I'll be giving the Winooski a good cleaning, then take lots of pictures so I'll have documentation of the little details.

Happy paddling till next time!


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Welcome to the Canoe Intensive Care Unit

I see a lot of canoes in my job at Headwaters Outfitters, located in Rosman, NC. We sell them, rent them, send people out on the French Broad River in them. Occasionally, an old boat comes through the shop that needs some help. In this blog I will be writing about the restoration of one of these old boats. We came across a 1988 Mad River Canoe Winooski a few years ago that is suffering from the typical problems encountered by a canoe stored outside in the sun year round. The wood gunwales are rotten, cane seats are blown out, and the gelcoat is badly sun damaged.

The first thing I have to do is clear out the boat shop of several other boats. A quick sanding and coat of spar varnish on the gunwales of the wooden canoe in the foreground will have it ready for sale and ready to hang on the ceiling of the retail shop. The Old Town Molitor in the back is getting new seats and gunwale refinishing.

So off I go to transform the storage building into the Canoe ICU workshop. The first free clinic is Feb. 28 from 2pm to 4pm. Join me as I start sprucing up the Headwaters fleet. I'll have the wood stove stoked and the room toasty.

Blue water, White water - its all good,