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Foot Brace and Rib Gap

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by Chip, Jan 22, 2005.

  1. Chip

    Chip Curious about Wooden Canoes

    This canoe had add-in foot braces in front of both the bow and stern seats.


    They didn't let us go to work in DC on Inauguration Day (yes, sad), so Steve and I spent the day sanding the interior of the Templeton Canoe. We made pretty good progress, but will have to come back another day to finish. We removed the seats, some add-in styrofoam braces and these foot braces.

    The foot braces were attached to metal straps with chicken wire. The metal straps were screwed into ribs.

    Are foot braces worth reinstalling? If so, should we be looking for a fastening system other than chicken wire?

    In the bow of the boat, there is a bit of gap between some of the ribs and the planks (enough so sandpaper slides into the void). It doesn't seem practical to varnish between the rib and the plank. Any suggestions on what to do?

    ~~Chip Walsh, Gambrills, Md.
  2. Paul Scheuer

    Paul Scheuer LOVES Wooden Canoes

    I'd ditch the braces. They are obviously not part of the designer's design or the original builder's work. I've never seen anything like it.

    My guess is that the planking gaps are also not part of the original design. If you plan to re-canvas, these and any other loose fastenings can be redone.

    If you don't plan to do the canvas work, see if you can squeze the planking back to where it should be. If you can close up the gaps, you might be able to get some epoxy between the parts. Depending on where the gaps are, you may have to do some clever clamping.

    The boat appears to be in good shape. What is it ?
  3. Dave Wermuth

    Dave Wermuth Who hid my paddle?

    Foot braces and plank gaps.

    If I understand correctly the gap is because the plank doesn't lay down tight on the rib. Before canvassing, if indeed you are canvassing, a couple carefully placed tacks will tighten things up. Good photo of foot brace. I do suspect that you may have bailing wire, not chicken wire, but I can't say for sure. Ha. Anyway get rid of them. Foot braces are commonly used for racers, so you may have an old race horse there. Most modern high tech canoes have foot braces. Also, you will sometimes see straps for the foot to go in thus locking you in place quite well. think of it in terms of bicycling for a moment. As the paddle is placed into the water at the catch positionThe foot on the paddle side is against the brace and at the moment of the power stroke the paddle-side foot presses against the foot brace, thus accelerating (bicycling) the canoe forward. Now as the paddle side foot shoves the canoe forward, the off paddle side foot is pulling up against the strap, which you don't have. The brace/strap system allows for agressive leans as well. After about 7 to 10 strokes the stern man calls a hut at the beginning of a power stroke and at the next recovery the paddle is flipped to the other side. At about 70 strokes per minute. Or more. I used to race a little. I imagine that trippers could use foot braces to advantage for travelling long distances. If I wanted foot braces in the '26 Old Town (and I don't) I would attach them with bailing twine maybe to the inwhale or the seat frame and adjust to proper length. There could be an entanglement issue in the event of an unplanned bath.
    Regards, Dave.
  4. OP

    Chip Curious about Wooden Canoes


    Thanks to all who posted and emailed with info. The foot braces won't be going back in. We can always add them back in later if we decide we need them.

    I tried applying pressure to the planks at the spot where I was concerned about a void between plank and rib. The plank has no give in it. I figure this must be because the gap into which my sandpaper slides must just be along the edge of the rib, and there must be solid contact with the plank someplace under the rib. I guess when it comes to the varnish we will just need to make an effort to get plenty on there and hope for a good seal. On the one hand, that seems like a lot to ask. On the other, the gap doesn't seem to have had any negative affects on the boat during its first 35 years, so maybe we will be okay.

    In response to Paul's question, the boat is a 20 footer (that much we know). We have not discovered any identifying markings on the boat, but have been told it is a Templeton model built by Doc Blanchard of Greenville, Me. We think it was built around 1970. We think it has always been covered with fiberglass.

    A strange thing is happening as I work on this boat. Before this, I never wanted anything to do with wood boats because I didn't want to mess with maintaining one. As I work on this boat, I find myself admiring the craftsmanship and becoming emotionally invested. I am amazed that people still build them--what a lot of work. I'm afraid that by the time the boat is ready for the water I won't want to launch it for fear of hurting it. Anybody have advice for overcoming that problem?

  5. Dan Lindberg

    Dan Lindberg Ex Wood Hoarder

    Hey Chip,

    Yes, With every hit of a rock or scrape on the shore and urge is reduced, but it never goes away. :)

  6. Dave Wermuth

    Dave Wermuth Who hid my paddle?

    i overcame the problem

    I took the Old Town out and at speed, ran over a stick up. It Scraped for a few feet and then punched though the planking. Half mile from shore and hung up on a stickup in October. the canvas held and I got out of the canoe to lift off the stickup. Water came in of course. I was an easy fix the next spring. Check out a video of Bill Mason. Some of his boats are really beat up. Now that's character. Every scratch or ding tells a story. Far away places or in the driveway. I can recall every mark, well most of them. The first scratch is the hardest.
  7. bob goeckel

    bob goeckel Wooden Canoe Maniac

    if you got a chance to build new i think you would find it very rewarding and perhaps not as difficult to do as restoration. too bad you,re not near dave and i as you would have access to a few forms. and some help building one. i think the old advise "use it or lose it" applies to a canoe also.
  8. mark wismer

    mark wismer WCHA Member

    My Otca came from a summer camp so it has a few 'beauty marks'; gives it character!
  9. ebeeby

    ebeeby Novice Canoe Restorer

    I found it's like a new pick-up truck bed. Might as well throw some chain in there and let it scrape around and get it over with!
    I restored a 1929 OT and my nephew kindly scraped it against the dock for its first "story". After that, it was a real canoe again.
    My (beloved) 1978 Seliga has cracked planks and *two* patches in the canvas. It was a canoe put to good use by the original owner! It is far to young to re-canvas.
    Both canoes are going down the Snake river next July and there are more than a few stick-ups. I plan on packing a roll of high quality duct tape (in camo of course - wouldn't want it to show!).

    I know more about vintage American bamboo fly rods than canoes and I learned this about bamboo fly rods: it is a crime that so many of them are sitting in collector vaults in the US and Japan instead of being cast on the Holy Waters of the Beaverkill.

    Honorable wear is just that.

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