Rebuilding tips of canoes seems necessary so often simply because otherwise well meaning people find it easy to set a canoe on the ground, overturn it, and leave it there. True, the seats and ribs/interior are protected, and dry for when next you use it. But leaving the tips on the ground means premature wood rot. We see it so often. I am editing this to put in what I feel is a VERY VERY important point. You need to know what the original stem looked like both side and top views. I made a template using a 17 ft OT HW. I have been back to the other canoe a dozen times and more. I cannot rebuild what I have w/o knowing the shape of the original. The top view is necessary and I removed the band strip on the 17 footer to analize the way the rib tops, inwale, deck and stem come together. Anyone trying to rebuild a stem w/o an original template and top view can only approximate and in the end, chances are they are off. I'll post a good example of what I speak of. If you don't have a template for an original canoe like yours go online and ask someone to copy theirs. It has to be and they can photograph or sketch the top view. My limited experience rebuilding tips causes me reflection. I first seek to know what the original tip looked like, how was it made. Two general categories I found. 1. The stem pokes up through the inwales and is visible after the bang strip, that wonderful metal band, is removed from the ends and keel. 2. The stem is not visible because it is below the deck somehow. The basic difference here is going to be how the stem, inwales and deck or connected together. In the first case I have found the stem, that vertical end piece all the planking fastens to (right?); is often shouldered. That is, the vertical stem has a notch cut and the inwales can either go by, or terminate even. The inwales can be fastened from the sides using a few nails or even a single bolt through the three pieces. The shouldered notch sets the height of the tip and it’s a pretty fool proof setup and very strong. The challenge to the rebuilder is getting the right height and shape to the stem since this will set everything. In the second case the inwales join at the tip and then rest on the flat termination of the tip or are notched underneath to fit in a slot. Either way, the top of the stem is hidden by the inwales. Obviously, the nails go down vertically to fasten. The decks are usually rotted with the tips of the stem and the inwales. In the first case the deck terminates bluntly against the stem. In the second case, the deck is pointed and the inwales go by. Trying to visualize or get a perfect deck is critical to getting the whole thing right. In the few I have done I rebuild the deck first. Here’s a picture of an Old Town under repair. I cut the rot out at an angle and am gluing a new piece of oak, grain to match. Obviously, at this point, the wood is oversize so I can carefully cut it down intact. Once I get the deck right I have advantage of the old screws and holes to set it back in the canoe and begin to imagine where the stem needs to be. This is a 1937 OT HW, the patient in the operating room. I timidly submit to corrections. I am attaching this to the original thread since it seems appropriate. This is not mine but L... . . W/o his permission I will not print the name. I like the idea. I have no pictures of this method Rebuilding the tips commonly calls for making new decks, splicing in new wood to the existing inwales, and splicing in a new section for the stem, or replacing the stem entirely. The challenge is that all these four pieces must be fit together very precisely and then fastened together very strongly. When building a canoe from scratch on a form, it’s relatively easy to make stem, inwales and decks come together right, as the form holds everything in place. When doing restoration, it’s another matter. You’ve got to make up your mind as to how to fit stem and inwales together. Jerry Stelmok fits stems and inwales together with a mortise in the inwales into which the tip-top of the stem fits. But this ain’t easy to do. Things go a lot smoother by adding one small new item to the tip. Here’s how it works. One thing I (several other very part-time rebuilders around here) have done when tackling rotten stem tops is to make and install a kind of “sub-deck” under the real deck. I cut a triangular piece of wood (of ash or any hardwood would do) as wide as the deck plus both inwales and screwed it in place under the inwales and deck, out of sight. Into it I mortised a one inch by ¾ inch by six inch wood shaft, aligned and dimensioned so that it could serve as a backing for the stem and the stem splice. When your stem/splice is finished, it is screwed in place to the shaft on the sub-deck: you don’t have to mess with fitting the stem into a mortise in the inwales. It also adds a great deal of structural strength to the tip: it essentially re-enforces the whole area. Of course, if the tip of the model of canoe you’re restoring is very sharply curved, it won’t be as simple as fitting relatively flat parts together. The advantages of the “sub-deck”approach to this common restoration problem are obvious. It’s relatively simple to do and your cutting and fitting of parts can be done on the workbench rather than on components in situ on the canoe. It also adds a great deal of structural strength to the tip: it essentially re-enforces the whole area. Of course, if the tip of the model of canoe you’re restoring is very sharply curved, it won’t be as simple as fitting relatively flat parts together. 1/23/1013 I took up the challenge of this posting so on we go. First, a mild curse upon those who do not admit or warn the neophyte about what a pain it is to rebuild tips. The photo shows the best tip, only one set of ribs needing serious help. The other end has two sets. I had to cut off the first set of wood repair to the decks. I just did not get them right. the second attempt is better. I went out to my 1947 17' HW, scribed and cut a template of thin cardboard to match the deck. The length was different by a half inch but the contour was the same (it's concave). Using that, I marked the new wood and put it through the band saw then sanded. Not perfect but much better. Lucky I had access to another similar canoe. Rebuilding the tips of the four ribs is awful. One, I have no good method of making a satisfactory cut on the old ribs to get a perfect beveled edge. I free handed everything to splice on new tips, one set needed 11/2 inch, the other four and 1/2 inch. Such is the upsweep on the HW. I had to break two joints and redo them after I realized while they were high enough they did not match side to side. Getting the rib edge bevel (remember, Old Town beveled the edge of their ribs) is a real challenge. The glue is drying now and I'll take a photo tomorrow when the glue is dry and the clamps are off. Re-building wood canvas caones is a challenge I have never met and I've moved/rebuilt a fair number of old buildings. Not the same. Not at all. Not even as simple as cabinet repair. 1/24/2013 spent hours just trying to fit the stem repair. I'll try and post pictures. I conclude the idea of a false deck is near essential. This boat had distorted somehow, maybe as it sat and rotted. The stem is out of line with the deck by 1/4 or 3/8 inch. Thats a lot when it meets at a point. I've made a false deck to go under the original and will use it to pull the stem into alignment. My thanks to L. for that tip. See discussion. I'm only allowed six pictures here.