Replacing wooden rails on canoe

by Lawrence
(Canada )

I`ve been asked to help with the wood restoration of this 50ft Hybrid canoe.

I have worked on all sorts of wooden projects, and I am trying to determine the proper approach to replacing the rails.

The options I have come up with so far are:


  • Steam bending (some of those section would have to be 10'+ long)

  • Laminating and using epoxy

  • or green lumber (which would be possible in local softwood species) Like yellow or clear red cedar.

Any help is greatly appreciated

Comments for Replacing wooden rails on canoe

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Oct 01, 2012
Capping Rail
by: Mike

Lawrence, I'm assuming that the rail is arranged like this…

I can envisage difficulties when it comes to clamping the ‘cap’.

So would it be acceptable to do like this…







Oct 01, 2012
thanks for the reply
by: Lawrence

Hi Mike,

She is a full size fibreglass replica of Bill Reids dugout Canoe Lootas.

Her name is Looplex and she was build for the expo in 1986.

The rail consist of a top plate and two smaller side pieces.

My main concern is the lateral bend of the top plate which is roughly 3" x 3/4"

I have never worked with green wood but I suppose that it is the best option, given the time constraint and the fact that it would be drying on the canoe and therefore would minimize the twisting that could occur.

Many thanks again.






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Sep 29, 2012
Dugout Canoe Rails
by: Mike

She is a superb looking canoe, Lawrence.

Is she a traditionally dugout version or a modern type of build?

Next question, is the rail a one piece cap or an inner plus an outer strip?

I would have thought that ‘green’ cedar would be more in keeping with tradition.

And as there are no severe bends there should be no need to mess with all the palaver that steaming entails.

The only tricky bit might be at the bow and stern where the curves are compound, but they are fairly gentle.






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