Storing a Wood-Canvas Canoe
August 20, 2012
by Mike Elliott, Kettle River Canoes
Proper storage of your wood-canvas canoe is essential to its long, rot-free life. Finding a suitable place to store it is one question. The other is how to store your canoe. I’m sure there are as many ways to store a canoe as there are canoes. Let’s look at a few.
As I have mentioned in previous blogs, the fungi that cause wood rot can only grow in warm, damp environments. Therefore, it is best to store your canoe:
1) Upside-down; 2) Well off the ground; 3) In a cool, dry space away from rain, snow and ice; 4) With lots of air circulation.
Some examples of suitable spaces include:
1) Carport; 2) Covered Porch; 3) Unheated Garage; 4) Lean-To Shelter (against a building).
It can be a challenge to find a suitable location. However, once you have identified a spot, the next step is to develop a storage method. I will describe three possible systems. From them, you ought to be able to come up with something that works for you.
1. A Basic Rack – Does your space have a solid wall on one side? Is there enough room away from the wall to allow access into the space? If so, simply build and install two large racks about 7’ (2 meters) apart. The example illustrated here is made from spruce 2×4’s. The joints are glued and screwed to ensure a sturdy structure. The top edges of the rack can be rounded and/or padded to protect the gunwales of the canoe. Make sure the racks are secured well to the wall (with lag-bolts or through bolts and washers).
2. A Roller System – Is your space is long and narrow? Is it awkward or impossible to access the space from the side? In this case, it may be possible to feed the canoe into the space from one end. For this situation, install two support racks about 7’ (2 meters) apart. Each support rack is a length of standard 1” (25 mm) steel pipe at least 40” (one meter) long threaded through a length of 1½” (38 mm) ABS pipe at least 36” (90 cm) long. Install each steel pipe securely at the desired height. The ABS pipe acts as a roller and makes it easy to store the canoe in and remove it from a confined space.
3. A Hoist System – Is it possible or desirable to get your canoe up out of the way above everything else? If so, try using a system of ropes and pulleys to hoist your canoe up and away. Support the canoe with a length of rope wrapped around each end. Tie a permanent loop in both ends of the ropes. Use a carabiner to clip the ends of each rope together to create a support loop for each end of the canoe. Then rig a length of ¼” (7 mm) braided rope (I use multi-filament polyethylene – MFP – rope) through a series of pulleys as illustrated above and install a cleat to secure the free-end of the rope.