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Thread: Adding a keel?

  1. #1
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    Default Adding a keel?

    I have an older Old Town 17' (I think) flat bottom canoe. It is great to have the wide flat bottom especially with two little kids jumping around in it But sometimes on those lake crossings with a little wind it doesn't track so well.
    Is it feasible, or advisable, to add a keel to it? Maybe a strip of UHMW 3/4" square along the bottom centerline?
    I had in mind to snap a chalk line, drill holes every foot or so, use coarse thread screws and fender washers from the inside with some type of sealant.
    Perhaps it wouldn't need to be the whole length.
    Ideas? Thanks, HH

  2. #2
    Moderator Alaskacanoe's Avatar
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    Default I am sure you could

    put a keel on your canoe.
    One other option may be to just sell your good canoe and buy one for about the same price that has one intigrated from the factory.
    unless you plan on keeping your current canoe for a long time, the value of your canoe may go down if you add the keel.
    A canoe with no keel was designed that way, so turning would be more responsive. Even if your canoe has little or no rocker, a canoe without a keel can be used on moving water like a class one or class two river adding to its usability of not only a flat water boat, but a moving water boat.
    I think you said the canoe was an Old Town, and maybe calling them at the factory in Maine would give you some idea about your idea of adding a keel. they may even have an after market for that purpose.
    Years ago, Coleman had a replaceable keel. It had a molded sleeve for the Keel to slide into. I am not sure how you kept it from sliding out, but it must have had a small screw or something. They dropped the idea of it, but I am not sure why. maybe it was just cheaper to have it already molded in. I thought it was a great idea. The first place your canoe wears out is the keel line where your canoe runs up on rocks and the beach.
    the replaceable keel looked like someone was thinking about that when they built them that way.
    Anyway, the main thing is that its your canoe, and you can and should do as you please with it. If you get it to work, then please share with us the experience.
    Thanks so much
    Max
    When you come to a fork in the trail, take it!

    Rentals for Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts, boats serving the Kenai canoe trail system and the Kenai river for over 15 years. www.alaskacanoetrips.com

  3. #3

    Default Keel

    Yes a keel will improve tracking and allow for straighter lines when paddeling or running a motor. It will also reduce the boats ability to side slip in faster water (if that's a concern).
    If you do decide to put a keel on your canoe; consider using a router and a round over bit to reduce water friction(making the keel rounded on both edges),also use a silicone type adhesive under the keel to keep it flat against the bottom of the canoe.
    ALL boats don't have keels that run the full length of the bottom, I would think a keel 8-10 feet long on he back of the canoe would suffice.
    " Americans will never need the 2nd Amendment, until the government tries to take it away."

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    Default

    Good points guys. Some that I had thought of already, and some I hadn't.
    Might just have to give 'er a try and see what happens. HH

  5. #5

    Default Testing

    Let us know how it works.
    " Americans will never need the 2nd Amendment, until the government tries to take it away."

    On the road of life..... Pot holes keep things interesting !

  6. #6

    Default Keeping your paddle shaft vertical makes a canoe track

    Quote Originally Posted by HarryHyde View Post
    I have an older Old Town 17' (I think) flat bottom canoe. It is great to have the wide flat bottom especially with two little kids jumping around in it But sometimes on those lake crossings with a little wind it doesn't track so well.
    Is it feasible, or advisable, to add a keel to it? Maybe a strip of UHMW 3/4" square along the bottom centerline?
    I had in mind to snap a chalk line, drill holes every foot or so, use coarse thread screws and fender washers from the inside with some type of sealant.
    Perhaps it wouldn't need to be the whole length.
    Ideas? Thanks, HH
    Quote Originally Posted by HarryHyde View Post
    I have an older Old Town 17' (I think) flat bottom canoe. It is great to have the wide flat bottom especially with two little kids jumping around in it But sometimes on those lake crossings with a little wind it doesn't track so well.
    Is it feasible, or advisable, to add a keel to it? Maybe a strip of UHMW 3/4" square along the bottom centerline?
    I had in mind to snap a chalk line, drill holes every foot or so, use coarse thread screws and fender washers from the inside with some type of sealant.
    Perhaps it wouldn't need to be the whole length.
    Ideas? Thanks, HH
    It sounds like you have a Roylex old town tripper canoe. If that's the case you have one of the best wilderness tripping canoes ever built. Putting a keel on that boat would be a shame.
    Old Town has been building canoes for over 100 years; I wouldn’t be too quick to modify one of their designs in the notion you could make it work better.
    I owned a 17' Old Town tripper for many years. It's a much better tandem paddling boat then solo, especially in a wind.
    Like most river canoes the Old Town Tripper has no keel so it slips the current much better then a canoe with a keel. You'll find on flat water you'll need to do a few more J strokes and be careful that when you paddle, that your paddle shaft stays vertical through the forward stroke. If you get lazy and do more of a sweep stroke your canoe will turn to the opposite side of the paddle stroke. A correct canoe stroke can go a long ways to making a canoe track straight.
    Good Boating

    Jim King

    Alaska Series Inflatable Boats,
    The Toughest Bottoms in the Business,
    River Rafts, Catarafts, Inflatable Kayaks,
    Inflatable Canoes, Inflatable Sport Boats,
    Inflatable Jet Boats, Tenders and Dinghies.
    WWW.alaskaseries.com
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  7. #7
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    Default

    Thanks Jim for the advice. I have the J stroke down pretty good, but I did not know about keeping the paddle shaft vertical. I will work on that.

    You are right about it being a great canoe. I bought it second hand, so its I-don't-know-how-many-years old,and a few bumps and bruises but still the bottom is perfectly flat. Every time I see one of those older Colemans I am glad I didn't buy one. You look at the bottom and see more waves than Kachemak Bay.

    Another thing - it'll save money to leave it the way it is. HH

  8. #8
    Moderator Alaskacanoe's Avatar
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    Thumbs up great posts here

    Respecting others and giving ideas without offense is an art.
    That canoe you have is a fine craft for sure. Old Town spent tons on devloping that mold to work in specific venues.
    One thing for sure though is.. that no one has completely figured everything out about boats and hulls , and so when we think of ideas to make something better, we need positive feedback...
    I am a stuborn man at times, and If I get an idea in my head I usually go for it..... But,, bouncing off your idea on the forum is a great idea, because good things come from good planning,
    Tanks for your good questions and posts...
    Max
    When you come to a fork in the trail, take it!

    Rentals for Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts, boats serving the Kenai canoe trail system and the Kenai river for over 15 years. www.alaskacanoetrips.com

  9. #9

    Default We had Old Town put Keels on some of their roylex canoes back in the early 70s

    This Story goes way back to when I was just learning about canoes and canoe design. I must have been about 16 years old when the Gary King's Sporting Goods store became Alaska's first Old Town canoe dealer. The Old Town canoes were the first Roylex canoes I ever saw.

    The GM of the Gary King's store was from the upper mid west and had paddled a lot of miles in the boundary waters. We thought he knew about canoes.

    Even though Old Town advised against ordering some of the Roylex boats with keels, they fitted a few of the Roylex canoes with full length keels. They may still make these keel strips for the roylex canoes. The keel strip was beveled and about a 1/2 inch deep shaped kind of like this \_/ it was made from hard plastic (maybe PVC) there were bolts counter sunk in to the bottom of the keel strip about every 12 inches these bolted through holes drilled in to the bottom of the hull. Before the holed were drilled the hulls were perfectly water tight. I think we had everyone of these boats returned by customers because they didn't like the way the boats preformed and they all leaked. These were the only Roylex canoes we ever ordered with keels.
    In General a very small % of the canoes we sold at the old Gary King's sporting goods had keels. I'd say less than 5% and we were selling several hundred canoes a year.

    I hope this helps.


    Good Boating

    Jim King

    Alaska Series Inflatable Boats,
    The Toughest Bottoms in the Business,
    River Rafts, Catarafts, Inflatable Kayaks,
    Inflatable Canoes, Inflatable Sport Boats,
    Inflatable Jet Boats, Tenders and Dinghies.
    WWW.alaskaseries.com
    (907)248-2900

  10. #10
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    Default

    That's an interesting story Jim. You make an even stronger case for the cost-effectiveness of doing nothing in this situation .

    Have any of you canoe guys ever experimented with rudders? I see them on these sea kayaks. Maybe that would help- It could perhaps be removed for river use.

    COME ONNNN Spring. The water's been hard enough long enough. HH

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    Default

    I too have considered the removable rudder system Harry.
    I have a little 15.5' Mad River ME Kevlar whitewater boat that I would love to use for a solo lake boat. I'm wondering what a light weight removable aluminum rudder would do for me. Even a fixed (non turning) one. Guess it would be more of a "skeg". At least if it didn't work I won't have ruined the boat.
    Vance in AK.

    Matthew 6:33
    "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."

  12. #12
    Moderator Alaskacanoe's Avatar
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    Default keel or not to keel

    I bought some Kayaks a few years ago with an intigrated Keel molded into the back of the kayak.
    I did not see any benifit for me as a paddler after using these with the keel, and using a similar size and design kayak without.
    mind you these were short 10 foot kayaks and the keel was not a steering keel, just a flat heavy plastic keel dropping straight off the back of the Kayak.
    I went back into thought about your reason for the your post, and it seems that you are having difficult time keeping your canoe straight on lakes with a little wind.
    here is anouther Idea for helping to keep your canoe in a more controlled manner.

    http://essexindustries.org/index.php...&products_id=5

    These work great,, especially if you want to canoe alone, or like to troll. Also works great ////
    Max
    When you come to a fork in the trail, take it!

    Rentals for Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts, boats serving the Kenai canoe trail system and the Kenai river for over 15 years. www.alaskacanoetrips.com

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    Default

    Here's s fun reply when I asked Charlie Wilson (Canoe designer & builder who has worked with Mad River & others & presently owns Placid Boat works (http://placidboats.com/index1.html), home of some really nice $2500-$3500 boats)what he thought of the rudder on my Mad River ME idea.

    "I suspect that if he heard about you skegging the stern of an ME, the designer, John Berry, currently 86 and in poor health, might well drive to Alaska and cut your throat with a shovel. The ME was a pivotal boat - it demanded better paddling skills than were available when it was designed. Note attached article on the inside circle forward stroke.
    charlie ".



    By the way, "the inside circle forward stroke." is one I am looking forward to trying.
    If you want a copy of what he sent me on it Harry (or anyone else) I'll gladly forward it to you. Should be an optimum stroke for a solo paddler in an "unruly" boat on flat water. (Charlie is also a freestyle canoe instructor & accomplished solo paddler)
    Vance in AK.

    Matthew 6:33
    "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."

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