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Old Town W Original Factory Fiberglass & Cracked Varnish

Discussion in 'Traditional All-Wood Construction' started by Allen, Jul 12, 2018.

  1. Allen

    Allen New Member

    Howdy all! I just got our family canoe. Thanks tothe WCHA serial number search, I learned that it is a 15' Trapper built in 1974 and fiberglassed at the factory. The varnish has cracked at the joints where the body meets the keel and the side rails. There is bare wood under the cracks, so I don't want to put it in the water.

    I see on the forums that fiberglass is bad, bad, bad. Is it possible to repair/redo the varnish without messing with the fiberglass underneath?

    The canoe was my father's pride and joy. It has been stored inside its entire life and aside from the cracked varnish, it looks to be in terrific shape.

    Thoughts? Advice?
  2. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    The short answer is yes, both varnish and fiberglass can be repaired or replaced. Wood and fiberglass both expand and contract at different rates when exposed to dramatic variations in temperature and/or humidity so cracks are not uncommon. Your other message indicated that this canoe was on display in a store window which is likely to have created some significant temperature variations. The cracks might not be a functional issue so there may not be any harm from water testing it to see if it leaks. New varnish can be the solution if it doesn't leak too badly. A local restorer from the list at may be able to assist if you are not sure how to best proceed. Posting some pictures here can also help if you want a broad variety of opinions. Good luck with the repairs,


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