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Use your canoe or kayak and it will demand care. A lot of Type I canoe repairs consist of routine maintenance you can do at home, installing a new canoe seat, applying 303 Protectant, and making sure wood gunwales receive a generous coat of WATCO penetrating oil.

Applying Kevlar skid plates is the most routine Type I canoe repair at our St. Paul shop. Think of it as putting new tires on your bike, or extending the life of your favorite skis with a stone grind.



Neglect your canoe or kayak and you may be looking at more significant Type II canoe repairs. Storing a Royalex canoe under the summer sun, then leaving it outdoors through the bitter-cold of winter increases the chances of cold cracking. Cold cracks show up as hull splits extending away from gunwale screws. Neglect the wood trim on your canoe and cane seats blow out prematurely, dry rot takes hold of end decks and gunwales. Gunwales are more than pretty trim; they provide structural integrity, canoe bones. Repairing cold cracks and replacing wood trim is our forte at NorthWest Canoe.


Disaster happens. You wouldn't believe some of the train wrecks that come through our shop door... a canoe pinned against the back wall of the garage by a runaway SUV, all sorts of boats that have levitated off the roofs of vehicles on the interstate, tree limbs, river rocks, hail stones and wind storms all play parts in the disasters. Fact is everyone draws a black-luck day now and then. The type III canoe repair looks like it bounced down the double black at Mary Jane. When your hull is broken and twisted and you wonder whether it's worth repairing, call us. You can most likely paddle that boat again.

replacement canoe seats

Paddle long enough and eventually your canoe seat will look like this.

Visit canoeseat.com and discover how simple replacement is.

Like skier types and trail classification systems, repairing canoes and kayaks has its green circles, blue squares and black diamonds.


Time for Kevlar Skid Plates?

When the outer skin or your canoe wears away exposing foam core, thread bare fabric lets water seep through, it's time for Kevlar skid plates.

Bring your canoe to our St. Paul shop for professional installation. or click the image below to learn how you can apply skid plates to your canoe at home.

Kevlar Skid Plates

Not all kits are created equal. NWC Skid Plate Kits contain die cut felts and resin systems formulated for different hull materials. Plus, the Royalex / Polyethelene skid plate kit contains two cans of resin to simplify your at-home home installation.


How to Install Wood Gunwales

Start your gunwale replacement project by visiting or calling NorthWest Canoe. We stock full length gunwales from Bell, Mad River and Old Town, plus hard to find stainless hardware. If you're not within driving distance, consider the ash Knockdown Gunwale kit.

  1. Mark the placement of seats, thwarts, portage yokes... any components attached to your gunwales. Measure and diagram; place your tape on the stem and swing left then right, drawing an imaginary isosceles triangle. Measure from the bow stem to the bow carry handle, front edge of the bow seat, bow thwart, yoke; and measure from the stern to the front edge of the stern seat...

  2. Gunwale Replacement TipsRemove the gunwales. You can toss the gunwales but hang on to the components, even if you intend to replace blown-out cane seats and dry rotted thwarts. You’ll want these parts for cutting and drilling new canoe parts later.

  3. Clean-off any accumulation of dirt, or gummy-goo (detergent and fine pot scrubby works as well as anything). Cut off stray fiberglass or Kevlar threads. File the top edge of any rough spots. The installation will go more smoothly on a clean boat.

    Get complete PDF instruction sheet...

    Finally, Give your new gunwales a finish sand and a couple of coats of WATCO.

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