Would pine moulding work for fibreglass canoe gunnels?

Discussion in 'Fiberglass and Composite Boat Building' started by UtahSignature, Jun 12, 2021.

  1. UtahSignature
    Joined: Jun 2021
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    UtahSignature Junior Member

    I'm restoring a 16' gibreglass canoe and tried to order new ash gunnels - but they're going to take six months.

    Some folks here have suggested using PVC pipe as an alternative.

    I was in Home Depot today and saw large 18' lengths of oak (thread title says 'pine' but thats an error) household moulding (see pic below) - could that work if treated? They seemed extremely easy to bend, etc.

    They also had some fibreboard ones.

    This might be a totally dumb question, so excuse it if so.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2021
  2. Blueknarr
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    Blueknarr Senior Member

    Could work but...
    Your holding oak by the way.

    Pine has little rot resistance, is soft and easily splinters. Almost the opposite qualities I look for in a gunnel. But it is available and cheap. If you use it--- you will be redoing things soon.

    Where in Utah are you?

    Almost any other wood would serve better.
     
  3. UtahSignature
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    UtahSignature Junior Member

    Sorry, yes - it's oak. My error. Would oak work?

    Also not in Utah. Username is a long story!
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2021
  4. bajansailor
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    bajansailor Marine Surveyor

    I used some pine strips to make gunwhales on a little 7'6" pram I built some years ago - and within a few years the termites had munched their way through everything very happily.

    If you don't want to have a varnished finish, you could maybe just use foam strips, and glass over them?
     
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  5. wet feet
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    wet feet Senior Member

    That oak will be more rot resistant than ash.I have a feeling that somebody will be along to utter something about red oak not being that durable and it could be red oak.Even so for a canoe that doesn't live outside year round it ought to work well for quite a long time.Just make sure the face that attaches to the hull is sealed with a couple of coats of varnish and use a dollop of sealer at all the screw holes.If it was my canoe,I'd trim the moulding a bit by cutting tangentially from the large radius to the flat surface to make an elongated D section that might conceal the true origin of the wood.
     
  6. Will Gilmore
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    Will Gilmore Senior Member

    Southern Yellow Pine is used in boats all the time. Most pressure treated lumber is made from it. That's why PT lumber usually weighs more than regular construction lumber. Spruce would also be a good light weight choice. There are a lot of spruce masts out there, or there use to be. Aluminum and composite have replaced most of them.

    White pine, not so good.

    I love the oak molding idea. I have a canoe that needs a new gunnel, too. I think I'll use your idea, Utah.

    -Will
     
  7. missinginaction
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    missinginaction Senior Member

    The issue with gunnels is that they get so beat up. You can varnish them, epoxy them or even glass them over but eventually they get compromised (water finds a way in). Mother nature is always looking for a way to turn whatever we do into dust so you just do your best. I don't see why you couldn't use that oak. It is red oak for sure. I've never seen white at a Home Depot. That said, if it's well protected with epoxy, the fasteners are well bedded with sealant, I like Sika 291 LOT (long open time) and painted you should be fine. Just keep an eye on it and touch it up when you need to. I'd steer clear of varnish unless you enjoy sanding and repairing a lot.

    Just one more thought. Ondarvr suggested PVC pipe and that would certainly work. Another option might be PVC trim. I've made interior and exterior trim out of this stuff. You can saw it, route it, plane it or do anything else that you can do with wood. Pick up a block of this stuff and you could DADO a slot in it to fit your gunnel and route the edges with a round over bit. It's pretty flexible so it will conform to modest bends, warm it up with a heat gun and it's like steam bending wood, really bendy! Paint it if you want or leave it as is. It will never rot and it's cheap. The only thing I don't like about it is when you work it it makes a mess that isn't very eco friendly. Then again boat yards are probably the some of the most polluted places on the planet.

    https://www.menards.com/main/doors-...te-pvc-trim-board/5682434/p-1467147806058.htm

    Good luck with your canoe,

    MIA
     
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  8. ondarvr
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    ondarvr Senior Member

    The PVC trim boards work well for this, but they provide little to no strength. So if the hull relied on the gunnel material for support, PVC trim wouldn't cut it unless it was glassed over in the same way the PVC pipe would be.
     
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  9. Kayakmarathon
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    Kayakmarathon Junior Member

    Given the forces canoes experience when stored or transported on racks, I would use oak as a substitute for ash.
     
  10. kapnD
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    kapnD Senior Member

    The oak should be fine, but the fancy shape you’re showing might not be the best choice .
    You need something substantial to stiffen the edge of the fiberglass, like rectangular 1x2 or 3.
    The screws that hold it together need some meat to bite into on the backside, and all those edges are just begging to get beat up and ugly, as well as being more difficult to sand and finish.
     
  11. missinginaction
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    missinginaction Senior Member

    You're right about the 5/4 boards that are typically sold. If you look at the link I provided the OP, Royal Outdoor Products are supplying PVC in square cross section now. That product is 2" x 2" x 12' (1-1/2 x 1-1/2 x 12' actual) certainly not as strong as hardwoods but it might well work for the OP. It's square in cross section. I'd use a DADO blade and cut a slot in it, maybe 3/4" to 1" deep, round over the top two edges and maybe paint it. You could glue it to the gunnel with some sealant or even something like silicone OR if you felt you wanted to remove it someday you could always through bolt it with some small machine screws and finishing washers. Something like 10-24's countersunk. Pilot holes done on a small drill press would take no time at all. I know some people build works of art like Chesapeake Light Craft sells, but for knock around canoes I'm surprised I don't see any Gunnel Guard being used. That would work for this canoe as well.

    MIA
     

  12. kapnD
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    kapnD Senior Member

    The PVC trim is probably less durable than pine, especially in this case with being very exposed and vulnerable to bangs and scrapes.
    You might gain a little strength from PVC trim if it is glued solidly on both sides of the fiberglass to create a laminated effect, but it will not be nearly as strong or eye pleasing as oak.
    The cracking shows that it needs structural reinforcement.
    Slotting the underside creates a clean top , but often results in a sloppy fit as the groove will necessarily be oversized, possibly causing cracks along the top when it is clamped.
     
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