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Miller Canoe Refurbish

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by semaj, Apr 27, 2018.

  1. semaj

    semaj Curious about Wooden Canoes

    IMG_2448.JPG IMG_2452.JPG IMG_2453.JPG
    let me first say a few facts before i begin;

    this website has a wealth of knowledge, thanks for everyone who shares!
    i just bought my first canoe, its a 22 foot miller.
    its purpose will be a salmon fishing canoe, functionality and reliability over heritage.
    inside has a couple coats of brown paint over varnish. i am sanding down to bare wood.
    it has some broken ribs, which i will sister with half ribs and epoxy to gain strength
    the ribs and planking seems typical old, somewhat dry, but all there.

    will linseed oil add life to the inside ribs and planking ? or should i go straight to a couple layers of epoxy?

    the outside has 1 layer of fiberglass with some paint, i will be removing paint and adding 2 layers of 10oz cloth with a few layers of epoxy.

    purpose is to make this baby strong and reliable. weight is not an issue nor are looks.
     
  2. OP
    OP
    semaj

    semaj Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Some of the broken ribs that I plan on resin and sistering.
     

    Attached Files:

  3. Greg Nolan

    Greg Nolan enthusiast

    Coating the interior with epoxy will add nothing except future problems at such time as repairs might be needed -- it adds no protection that just marine varnish (or paint) will not provide. Indeed, it is a poor coating all by itself, because it is subject to rapid deterioration from ultra violet light (sunlight). Further, it is difficult to apply to a multi-faceted surface such as the interior of a canoe and is virtually impossible to remove from such a surface. While it may be a bit more abrasion resistant than varnish (or paint), that slight benefit does not outweigh its other problems (especially UV degradation). If interior varnish wears a bit, a refresher coat is quite easy. Marine varnish (which has high UV protection) without epoxy would be far preferable. Some folks do put a coat of linseed oil on the bare wood of the interior before varnishing-- other prefer a first coat of varnish thinned to encourage penetration, followed by a couple of coats of varnish. Linseed oil has a tendency sometimes to turn black -- not an easy problem to solve once it occurs. On the exterior of the hull, linseed oil would just weaken the bond between the wood and the glass/epoxy skin.

    If you should coat the interior with epoxy, you must put a couple of coats of varnish over the epoxy with UV resistant varnish anyway -- left alone, sunlight can turn epoxy yellow and opaque in as little as a few months.

    Also, two new layers of glass on the exterior with additional layers of epoxy glopped on seems gross overkill to me -- what do you plan to do, bounce this canoe off rocks all day?
     
  4. OP
    OP
    semaj

    semaj Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Thank you for the insight. After sistering the broken ribs inside , I'm leaning towards applying a couple coats of spar varnish. As for the outside. I need this beauty to be a tank. Gear. Men. Kids. We fish the upsalquitch and restigouche and tobique river here in New Brunswick Canada. Lots of rocks. Ledge and gravel.
     
  5. OP
    OP
    semaj

    semaj Curious about Wooden Canoes

    as you can see from the picture above , i have about 8 or 10 cracked ribs. during my sistering repair, what are adequate adhesion glues. I'm looking at the west system with the 403 filler. is there any glues or resins that are adequate at a reduced cost ?
    thank you.
     
  6. Greg Nolan

    Greg Nolan enthusiast

    Epoxy is fine for the purpose, but Titebond 3 is waterproof and more than strong enough for the purpose, and considerably less expensive. Do not use Gorilla Glue -- messy and not as strong.
     
  7. OP
    OP
    semaj

    semaj Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Really great advice. Thank you !

    I understand the ongoing debate of adding a keel to the underside of a canoe. How ever , is it worth adding a keel inside the canoe down the center of the floor affixed to each rib. I'm not sure the proper name but will it add strength to this old girl ???
     
  8. Dave Osborn

    Dave Osborn LIFE MEMBER

    Great candidate for backside rib repairs.
     
  9. OP
    OP
    semaj

    semaj Curious about Wooden Canoes

    any chance of a link to a dyi tutorial on a backside rib keel ???
     
  10. MGC

    MGC Paddlephile

    A "backside " repair requires access to the backside of the rib...unless you are going to remove the fiberglass from your boat there is no practical way that you would be able to make that repair. If you took the time to remove the glass then you'd be better off replacing the ribs given that you want the boat to be battle worthy. For your situation screwing and gluing patches over the cracks is probably your best bet.... use brass screws and use the same cedar you would use for a rib. Reach at least 3 inches past the crack on each side if you can.
    The addition of a keelson might be a way to add some strength and might make sense if there is some flex in that long hull.... too bad it doesn't have half ribs.
     
  11. Dave Osborn

    Dave Osborn LIFE MEMBER

    Crap, wasn’t aware of the glass. Backside repairs and rib replacements are not options. Thus a good argument against applying glas.
    Sorry.
    Sistering is about the only option.
     
  12. Greg Nolan

    Greg Nolan enthusiast

    "Keelson" is the term for an inside keel. It will minimally add some strength and stiffness, at the cost of providing something that will perpetually be in the way -- something to trip over and to keep things (coolers, bait buckets, etc.) from laying flat on the floor. I wouldn't bother -- the folks who built the canoe didn't, and your canoe looks like they know what they were doing.

    If you look around, you will see that keelsons are very rare in canoes -- when they do exist, as often as not they are present as part of a home-built or kit canoe, where the keelson served primarily as part of the construction apparatus rather than as a necessary structural part of the canoe.

    A wooden canoe will have a certain amount of flexibility -- up to a point, it will bend rather than break, which is why they can last so long (one of mine, the one in my avatar, was built in 1922, and is still going strong -- the one below is from 1931 and had several broken ribs at the time of the picture). A certain amount of care should be taken -- they are not fiberglass or aluminum and won't take the kind of brutal abuse that such canoes can bear -- I have a Royalex canoe for when I am planning to paddle through rock gardens -- but they get their quietness and special feel and character in the water from their relatively light weight and bit of flexibility from the nature of the wood -- strong, flexible, sound-absorbing. Wooden canoes don't need to be babied -- ssm canoe and beaver dam.JPG
    but you do need to give them some respect.

    Further. your photo above shows the canoe supported on two horses near the ends of its length, leaving the middle inadequately supported. In such a situation, you are going to see the canoe flex, and indeed, if you were to step into the canoe supported that way, you well might break something. But you have a canoe, not an I-beam, and neither it nor any boat should be expected to act like an I-beam. A canoe (and most any boat) is designed knowing that it will be supported by the water along its entire length. You would likely not see any flex at all when in the center of that canoe while it is floating, even with a heavy cooler or another person right next to you. It is probable that you are seeing your empty canoe flex as you lift it and move it around on dry land, especially on those horses. But with even a heavy load spread out normally -- people and impedimenta spread along the length of the canoe -- you would not likely see any flex.

    Move those horses closer together -- generally try to have about 1/3 of the length of the canoe on either side of the canoe -- the center of the canoe, being wider than the ends, usually has more weight and support should be placed to take that into account. The stern of your canoe has a transom, so your supports might be
    placed asymmetrically, with aft support might be a bit closer to the stern, to deal with the slightly heavier stern.

    The wood/canvas canoes shown below were loaded for a week-long trip on the Allagash, with each canoe carrying the personal gear of the paddlers and sharing the common items -- cast-iron cooking gear, coolers, food, etc. -- for 12 people and a large dog. The water was shallow, so the canoes were dragged across gravel bars at times and occasionally encountered rocks, and gravel landings at camp sites were usual. Three of the canoes on this trip were wood and three Royalex -- the canvas-covered wooden canoes (not fiberglass covered) fared quite well, as well as the Royalex -- and not just for a rare camping excursion -- these are boats used hard by professional guides all season long, season after season.
    ss IMG_0410g.JPG

    ss IMG_0709g.JPG

    ss IMG_0710g.JPG

    ss IMG_0409.JPG

    I think you are underestimating the strength of wooden canoes. Don't try to make it something it is not (a plastic or aluminum canoe) -- respect it and use it and enjoy it for what it is, a type of boat that has given service and pleasure for well over a century.
     
  13. OP
    OP
    semaj

    semaj Curious about Wooden Canoes

    I really appreciate the insight.
    I just finished milling some cedar to cut and sister the broke ribs. Super excited to glue this old girl back together and lay the spar to the inside !
     
  14. OP
    OP
    semaj

    semaj Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Great feedback , thank you.
     
  15. mccloud

    mccloud Wooden Canoe Maniac

    In an earlier post you mentioned that this canoe was going to get hard use. Some camp canoes and others that got rough use doubled several ribs, sometimes termed wanigan ribs, because they supported the wooden box 'wanigan', protecting the floor planking. Rather than glueing only a short splice over a cracked rib, maybe double it from bilge to bilge, particularly so if the position of these heavier ribs will support the sports gear, food box, cooler, etc. that you plan to carry. Tom McCloud
     
  16. OP
    OP
    semaj

    semaj Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Thank you Tom
    I will research the mentioned above technique.
    James
     
  17. Larry Meyer

    Larry Meyer Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    Chestnut’s Ogilvy canoes, which were intended for use salmon fishing on NB rivers, were built with extra thick ribs and very closely spaced. From the pix you posted, it appears Bill Miller may have also used very thick wide ribs and close spacing. Before I added a keel, outside or inside, I would consider that Miller knew what he was doing in the first place and you likely already have a tank. The one Miller canoe I know of, a 20 footer, WAS a tank. What are the dimensions of the ribs and how close spaced are they?

    I strongly prefer Titebond 3 to epoxy, especially if you’ve little experience with epoxy. T3 is foolproof.
     
    Dave Wermuth likes this.
  18. OP
    OP
    semaj

    semaj Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Thank you. Titebond 3 is on order and new ribs are all milled up.

    The existing ribs are 2.75 inch wide and spaced at about 1.5 inch.

    I plan on over lapping and sistering broke ribs at least 3 inches on either side of the crack.

    Must I also use screws or will glue be sufficient.
     
  19. Greg Nolan

    Greg Nolan enthusiast

    I would use screws, primarily to serve in place of clamps to insure good contact between the pieces being glued as the glue set up. You could, I suppose, use weights to hold the parts together, but somehow I'm never quite sure that weights are doing enough. A proper glue joint with Titebond 3 will be stronger than the wood, but getting that joint tight enough as the glue sets up is critical.
     
  20. OP
    OP
    semaj

    semaj Curious about Wooden Canoes

    image.jpeg image.jpeg image.jpeg image.jpeg I was thinking clamps and glue.
     

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