Repairing a very broken Free canoe

Discussion in 'Boatbuilding' started by Markesmongu, Mar 24, 2014.

  1. Markesmongu
    Joined: Mar 2014
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    Location: Oregon

    Markesmongu New Member

    I found this boat on Craigslist being given away for free. It is very very damaged, and I am hoping to return it to a useable condition. I know it will never look pretty, but I am hoping I can get it in a good enough condition to take some long river trips and not worry too much about it being destroyed.

    I have no idea where to begin with this. I greatly appreciate any advice anyone can give me. Right now my only idea is to literally beat the gunwales back into shape with a mallet or something. I am a college student and do not have the money to order new gunwales, but I would consider replacing them with homemade wooden ones if that is even possible.

    So what do you guys think? Is this possible?
    Any advice is greatly appreciated
  2. alan white
    Joined: Mar 2007
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    alan white Senior Member

    Looks like a Coleman. It's a very cheap canoe new (WalMart $399?). See if you can beat it into a usable shape and use it. Or buy some aluminum tubing for not too much money and fix it (they do get reasonable resale value). That is, as long as the plastic is not ruined. It's polyethelene and it may go back into a semblance of a canoe shape.
  3. Petros
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Petros Senior Member

    once the main frame members have been damaged or buckled, they will not have nearly the same strength. You might consider finding some fairly clear 1x4 lumber and screwing it into the existing gunwales to add strenth, and add several more thrwarts to it.

    I am not sure what you can do with the keel, perhaps another 1x4 laid flat on it, use a lot of sealant and drive screws up through the bottom in to it.

    This would add a bid of weight but would likely not buckle up on you when floating it.
  4. LP
    Joined: Jul 2005
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    LP Flying Boatman

    I think that if the metal structure is not kinked or crimped it will still hold most of it's strength and if you can straighten these structural members with adding your own kinks you could have a sound watercraft. Ultimately, you may need to add structure like Petros mentions. I would suggest wooden members of about the same dimension as the metal tubing ripped from a larger board of fairly clear grained lumber. Some 2X lumber ripped to 1.0" square +/- comes to mind. It could be possible to "sister" the original structure with these wood pieces and a series of stainless steel hose clamps. I believe you can slip these in around the metal tubing without drilling any holes anywhere.

    Good luck.
  5. alan white
    Joined: Mar 2007
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    alan white Senior Member

    The keel would be easy to replace with aluminum. Try a canvas shop for sourcing the tube---- no fasteners to speak of, it sets in the keel "gutter".
    Most likely there are rivets on the gunwales. The gunwales would be better, as said, in wood due to the difficulty of bending straight aluminum tubes. Maybe the easiest dimension to bend would be ripped 1/2" x 3/4" (pressure treated or spruce would be okay) ---- one inside and one outside with the side view showing the 3/4" dimension.
    The gunwales could be attached with stainless machine screws with the nuts counter-bored. No finish required but maybe some deck preservative, etc..

  6. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    It does look like an old Coleman. Take out all the aluminum, then place the centerline of the canoe on a dead straight board and leave it out in the sun for a few weeks, with the bilges slightly supported to keep it upright. The poly will relax and probably return to somewhat of the shape it originally had. Once this occurs, you can put in new aluminum, of course bent to shape as required. Then again, you could just take it to the land fill and pick up a nearly pristine version of the same thing for $100 off EBay.
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