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01/19/2021 10:29PM  
Howdy All,
I have read a lot of great info on here about canoe restoration and am looking for some advice, heckling or whatever else folks can offer as I start my first canoe restoration endeavor.
I have a Sawyer Cruiser(?) with the golden glass layup. Serial number is SAW13776A696.

I love the way this boat handles but it has some seen some hard use, I have no idea how many owners it had before I acquired it in 2011. I picked up an old town guide while my kid is still tiny, so this seemed like a great time to put the sawyer in the garage and go to work on it.

The hull has lots of UV damage some small dings, and the biggest issue is a bent aluminum gunwale. The boat must have been dropped at some point.
I could:
1) make a pattern from the good gunwale, and a wooden form and try to bend the bent gunwale back to original shape.
2) Try and find a replacement aluminum gunwale if they are still made for my hull
3) replace both gunwales with wood?
4) Other ideas?

Would love to hear thoughts on how to tackle this, and will put up pictures soon
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01/21/2021 02:39PM  
One thing I've learned is that it's pretty hard to unbend aluminum after it's gone past a point. At best there'll still be some kind of visual disturbance, flat spot, kink, etc.

You can get new aluminum gunwales from any manufacturer and install yourself (helpers recommended as new gunwales are stiff) or have them installed for a fee.

Going to wood will mean a weight penalty, plus having to probably get new seat hangers, possibly thwarts, and other components.

Option 2 is a possibility only if you can find a donor canoe of similar specs.

If you're on Facebook, Canoe Repair Shop is a good group. There's also a "canoe" special interest forum here which is more geared towards repair & maintenance issues.
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01/21/2021 04:13PM  
Don't know how a Sawyer compares, but replacing bent aluminum gunwales on one of our Souris River Wilderness 18s presented some interesting challenges. A couple of my brother's buddies wrapped the boat around a rock in the Kawishiwi River (see the thread on Dangerous Waters). Jerry ordered replacement gunwales through Red Rock Outfitters on Fernberg Road. I picked them up at the conclusion of a later canoe trip. Joe at Red Rock doubted that I could get them back to the Twin Cities without kinking. They are very thin gauge - think of heavy duty Reynolds Wrap doubled up. We taped them to the bottom of our other SR (on the roof rack )with a lot of duct tape. They made it.

Jerry needed his wife and two big kids to hold the new gunwales and the equally floppy kevlar hull in place while he drilled new holes and popped rivets in. What do they say about "many hands"? This is an eight hand job. Anyway, after fastening the thwarts and seats back in, the boat is as good as new, actually better, since we ordered the black anodized finish instead of the plain aluminum gunwales. Good luck on your Sawyer.
01/26/2021 07:38AM  
Great advice, thanks! I will bump this thread over to the "canoe" group.
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