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03/09/2022 08:49PM  
Hi--need to replace an aluminum gunwale on my pop's older Wenonah Spirit II T-formex. One side has a bend in it so we will need to take it off and replace it with a new one.
The closest repair shop is 4 months out on repairs, so we are going to do it ourselves.

He bought the boat, used, last fall. We also may try and resurface the outside to clean it up.

Anyone had any experience doing this and have any tips/advice?
 
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RedLakePaddler
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03/10/2022 09:31PM  
I replaced aluminum gunwales on a kelvar Itasca. I marked where the existing hole were and drilled new ones in between. Would have been to difficult to drill the gunwales to hit the old holes. On the Itasca the only problem was getting the gunwales on the canoe because of the shape of the hull.
Make sure you use aluminum rivets.

Carl
 
03/14/2022 09:46PM  
Carl, I paddled an Itasca like that. Of course it didn’t have the typical itascian curves. But a good boat and the gunnels worked well. And that was a good tip to avoid hitting the same holes. We used stainless rivets. Often drilled out the aluminum rivets and put in stainless. Aluminum rivets will loosen often times.
 
RedLakePaddler
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03/15/2022 06:51PM  
Ben
Thanks for the tip on the stainless rivets. Now what do I do with the 1/2 full box of aluminum rivets?

Carl
 
05/05/2022 09:58PM  
Bumping this back up... so the new gunwales are aluminum. They obviously are straight aluminum and need to be formed to the curve of the canoe.
Anyone have ever put new ones on? do you prebend the aluminum or what is the trick to get the new gunwale to set on the boat?

Can't seem to find a youtube or other information. Lots of info on wood gunwale replacement but dang I can't get this aluminum to form to the boat?

Any thoughts?
 
RedLakePaddler
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05/06/2022 08:34PM  
I wouldn’t try to pre bend the gunwales them May kink. On the Itasca my Grandson and I started at one end and carefully worked them on. Because of the curve by the stern seat we had to start at the bow end and work our way back. If you have trouble keep the gunwales on I would use duck tape to hold them in place. It took us a couple try’s to get them on.

Carl
 
05/09/2022 06:22PM  
Will try spring clamping it down--found a youtube video.
 
BrianDay
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05/10/2022 08:19AM  
wxce1260: "Bumping this back up... so the new gunwales are aluminum. They obviously are straight aluminum and need to be formed to the curve of the canoe.
Anyone have ever put new ones on? do you prebend the aluminum or what is the trick to get the new gunwale to set on the boat?


Can't seem to find a youtube or other information. Lots of info on wood gunwale replacement but dang I can't get this aluminum to form to the boat?


Any thoughts? "


Brian here from Wenonah.

Sounds like you were able to find aluminum replacement gunwales for Royalex/T-Formex? We don't use these anymore and have switched everything over to vinyl with an aluminum insert. Our aluminum gunwales for composite canoes have a thinner opening and won't fit on a Royalex hull.

As for putting them on, don't pre bend them. Start at one end of the hull. Put the gunwale on as you move down the hull. Use strapping tape to hold it in place as you go. This works best if you move from your weaker side toward your stronger side. In my case, I work from left to right using my right arm to bend the gunwale and my left to press it down and secure the tape.

This whole process goes much quicker if you have two people. One to tape and one to bend the gunwale onto the hull.

Once the whole gunwale is in place you can drill and rivet it to the canoe. We pre-mark the gunwales at 6" intervals for T-Formex canoes and drill at these spots once they're on the hull.

Final note, we use a strap to hold down the opposite side of the canoe when we do this. Our assembly jigs are about thigh-high. The strap has a padded hook on the end that fits over the hull or gunwale so that when you press down on the canoe it doesn't shift in the stand.

Good luck with your repair. Hope this helps.

Brian
 
05/10/2022 08:37PM  
This is great--thank you!
 
BrianDay
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05/11/2022 05:32AM  
wxce1260: "This is great--thank you!"


Happy to help!
 
tylerrose
  
03/28/2023 05:44PM  
wxce1260: "Will try spring clamping it down--found a youtube video."


The gunwale on a boat is the upper edge of the boat's sides, where the hull and the deck meet. It is often pronounced "gunnel" and is an important structural feature of the boat that provides support for the deck and helps to keep water from entering the vessel. You can check the source.
 
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