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      Mad River Explorer/wood gunwales repair?     
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HENK
member (8)member
 
09/12/2020 04:18PM  
I found this Mad River Explorer royalex, with three seats for sale...which leads to more entirely different questions (is the third seat meant to be used to paddle solo? Yoke is removable), but my main concern is that the wood of the gunwales looks to be in pretty tough shape. Anyone have any input on of its possible to repair these? Or would they have to be replaced?
 
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CRL
senior member (63)senior membersenior member
 
09/12/2020 08:43PM  
From the picture it looks like the wood structurally looks ok, but hard to tell for sure. Are there any soft or rotten spots? If not, a good sanding and some oil (I've always used boiled linseed oil for my Explorer), might make it look quite different! Edit: I just searched that boat on Craigslist; it looks like it may have had a hull repair in the bow. That may have been a cold crack. Check it over carefully if you are considering purchasing it.

 
09/12/2020 09:12PM  
Agree that wood looks ok but thirsty for some oil. A good sanding and a few coats of Watco oil will revive it i think. Wood gunnels and Royalex don't get along well in severe cold. You will get the previously mentioned "cold cracks". Make sure to loosen the screws over the winter.
 
HENK
member (8)member
 
09/13/2020 08:58AM  
Thank you for the reply and info. If it was a repaired cold crack, does that mean it will basically always be prone to leaking? Pretty new to canoes here, looking for my first purchase, in fact. Previous boats are all kayaks.
 
sedges
distinguished member(693)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/13/2020 09:00AM  
I've had lots of wood gunnel canoes come through my shop for gunnel repair or replacement over the years. My experience with oiled gunnels, especially Mad River, is that they rot from the inside. The gunnels are installed as bare wood, so the side against the hull never gets treated. Moisture gets into the wood on the hull side and can't even dry out because the other three sides are coated. The gunnels continue to look pretty good right up until they fail, which is usually at the portage yoke or seat.

I get lots of good deals on boats with bad gunnels and then pass them on with new ones. Its not hard to do if you have the right tools(lots of clamps!) and access the the lumber you need. I use dense-grain structural grade yellow pine for gunnel stock. Ash is nice, but over-rated. It is also going to get hard to find as it can't be transported across quarantine lines as logs because of emerald ash borer. In time it will be a rare wood in market.

 
09/13/2020 06:04PM  
sedges: "I've had lots of wood gunnel canoes come through my shop for gunnel repair or replacement over the years. My experience with oiled gunnels, especially Mad River, is that they rot from the inside. The gunnels are installed as bare wood, so the side against the hull never gets treated. Moisture gets into the wood on the hull side and can't even dry out because the other three sides are coated. The gunnels continue to look pretty good right up until they fail, which is usually at the portage yoke or seat.


I get lots of good deals on boats with bad gunnels and then pass them on with new ones. Its not hard to do if you have the right tools(lots of clamps!) and access the the lumber you need. I use dense-grain structural grade yellow pine for gunnel stock. Ash is nice, but over-rated. It is also going to get hard to find as it can't be transported across quarantine lines as logs because of emerald ash borer. In time it will be a rare wood in market.

Good point regarding ash wood, especially it becoming a rare wood.


"
 
HENK
member (8)member
 
09/14/2020 07:36AM  
Thanks for the info. I'm feeling like I will pass on this canoe...if i lived closer I'd at least go take a look at it though. Have all winter to find one now, anyway.
 
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