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Thread: Refinishing wood on a canoe

  1. #1

    Default Refinishing wood on a canoe

    I just bought a used Mad River Lamoille. The canoe is in excellent shape, but the wood needs refinished. The wood is teak. The guy told me he just sanded it down in the past and used teak oil. I planned on doing the same, as I understand it varnish is not to be used on teak, correct? My primary question deals with where the wood is glued together. Along the gunwales there are two strips of wood that run from bow to stern. One inner strip and one outter strip, four or five screws hold them together at the bow and stern and the rest is glued. I noticed the glue seam is cracking along part of the length of the seam. Should I remove the outter strip of wood, sand down the old glue and reglue that seam? Or will it not hurt much if water gets inside that seam during use this summer? I can post pictures if it helps.



  2. #2
    New member
    Join Date
    Jan 2007

    Default Wood

    The canoe of which you speak is a Mad River Hybrid. It is a Kevlar canoe with wooden rails inside and out. The rails sandwich the kevlar sides between them to add rigidity to the craft.
    I would contact Mad River to verify that these rails either are or aren't glued to the kevlar sides. If so what was used as an adhesive, just unbolting the rails might not allow removal ( the bolts may have just held the rails in place while the glue dried ). I'm not familiar with their assembly system.
    They could also help with refinishing the rails.
    Great canoe though, lots of fun in sight.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Between two lakes in Alaska

    Default To be taken with a grain of salt!

    We have a Mad River Explorer with wood. We were told to use DEKS OLJE on the wood to keep it up.

    I could not find you canoe on their site. Their present canoes are made with ash for wood.

    I'm not sure the two strips of wood are glued together. I was told if you ae going to store your canoe in very cold conditions the wood and "plastic" with expand and contract at different rates and "may" crack the "plastic". The cure is to loosen the screws holding the two strips of wood together during winter storage. This wouldn't work if the parts were glued together.

  4. #4
    New member
    Join Date
    Nov 2007


    From what I understand teak has natural oils in it that resist rot and water damage. If you do remove the gunwales and want to reglue them I would use a two part epoxy such as the west system or system 3. This will insure a permanent bond. If you are going to oil the teak after glueing be sure that the wood to be oiled has no epoxy on it or it will not penetrate into the wood. It won't compromise the finish but it might look blotchy. Varnish may never fully dry b/c of the natural oils in the teak and may peel off before the end of the first season.

    Another option is to seal the wood with the same epoxy and then you can varnish it. I have done this with Ash and Cherry gunwales but never teak. Sounds good but may peel off. Get a piece of teak and do some experimenting before hand. This will remove the mystery for you and ensure that you get the results you want. They sell the epoxy locally at Hardware specialties. Talk to Zack, they also have teak. Good luck.


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