Putting Your Canoe Away For The Winter:
Winter Storage Tips and Solutions
by John Gall, Johnny’s Boat Shop, Huntsville
Now that you’ve finished that fall canoe trip, it’s time to put your canoe into storage for the winter. While there are specific steps for different hull and trim types, I will start with a common step I do to every canoe that comes to my facility for winter storage and/or a maintenance package: CLEANING.
Housekeeping For Your Canoe:
Cleaning a canoe by hand with rags and an all purpose biodegradable cleaner is the best way to inspect every inch of the hull for damage. If you discover any stubborn spots like pine pitch or scuff marks, you can usually remove these with methyl hydrate (a.k.a. fondue fuel) – it won’t hurt the finish on your canoe. Assuming you found everything in order, finish up with a coat of wax or a UV protection such as 303.
The next step is to INSPECT THE TRIM. If your canoe has wood trim, tighten the screws just a quarter turn each with a screw driver – NOT a screw gun. But only if needed – do not force anything. If your hull is Royalex, you should remove the last four or five screws from each gunwale, at both ends, to avoid “cold cracking”. Also, make sure all fasteners on the seats, thwarts, grab handles and yoke are tight.
Now it’s time to apply a few coats of Badger® Wood Oil (directions are on the can) to all wooden parts that do not have varnish on them. One of the many reasons I like to use Badger® Wood Oil is because it is formulated with hemp seed oil, which has antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties that help prevent mold. Worn varnished parts should be lightly sanded and re-coated with outdoor-grade varnish.
If your canoe has aluminum gunwales, you should check all rivets to ensure that none of them have been sheared off or become loose. Replace as needed. Finally, check the ends of all the wooden parts for rot – and go ahead and tighten all the fasteners.
An oil finish protects wood and really brings out the natural beauty of the grain
What To Do About Those Float Tanks:
Before you put your canoe away, simply remove or loosen the plugs on sealed float tanks.
Now you are ready to store your canoe!
The Best Way To Store A Canoe:
Ideally, keep your canoe safely stored for the winter months by sheltering it from snow load and/or the ultraviolet rays of the sun and keeping it off the ground. Never wrap your canoe in a tarp, or shrink wrap, as this will help to trap moisture, causing wooden parts to rot and allowing mold growth.
Following these steps will help ensure you and your canoe are ready for the next season as soon as the ice is off the lake.
For rates on storage and/or maintenance packages, please contact John at www.johnnysboatshop.com • 705.783.7141
Johnny’s Boat Shop for all your canoe & kayak, maintenance and repair needs.