Part II of the Frontiersman Canoe Restoration

Abbotsford BC Canada Border Crossing

Abbotsford BC Canada Border Crossing

So one of the key elements to finishing up the restoration of our 40 year old canoe was the ability to get replacement gunwales and end caps.  The originals were basically destroyed by many years of sunlight and hard living.

Fortunately Western Canoe & Kayak, just north of the border in Abbotsford BC had the parts.  Just after the New Years holidays we took a road trip to Canada.

Is that Bill Mason?

Is that Bill Mason?

Pretty easy to spot the canoe shop with this big mural.  I think it is a likeness of Bill Mason,  the dean of the modern day canoe traveler.

PVC lined tie down points

PVC lined tie down points

One little improvement I added to the boat were PVC pieces epoxied into the hull.  This will allow for a line to be tied through the stem and stern for lashing the canoe to the van or securing it on shore for the night.  (Yep, we did have a canoe camping trip back in the day, where a wintery storm rolled in at night and blew the canoe away… fortunately we found it up in some trees).  But I digress…

I made a little video of the project.  Lets have a look at that now:


That was Delbert McClinton providing the musical background, with a cover of the Otis Redding song I’ve got Dreams. 

Here are some Before and After images for you:





Now before you start gushing over how pretty the canoe is I should explain – I’ve been a photographer all my life, so I’m instinctually going to always look for the best light and the most flattering angle of my subjects.  When you get right up close this old canoe stills looks like a 40 year old beauty with some lipstick on it.

Launch Day

Launch Day

So after many months of labor it was time to get out and put the first scratches on her new paint job.  We headed over to Lake Cassidy.  It is a small little tannin colored lake with a wonderful marshy shoreline and very few houses.

The weather was brilliant for a January day.  I had a chance to test out my bent shaft paddle for the first time as well.  While nothing will ever completely replace those big Sawyer Voyageur paddles, I was really pleased with the laminated bent shaft paddle I made.  It was light and nimble, and it was made from cedar that I’d salvaged from a saltwater marsh.

Susan - enjoying her day

Susan – enjoying her day

Kat - goofing off with the GoPro

Kat – goofing off with the GoPro








Well thats a wrap for this one.  Thanks for following along.  Kat


About Jeff Katzer

Welcome friends. I'm a cyclist, hiker, motorbike rider, kayaker, photographer, videographer, ukulele player, snowshoer, XC skier, and BEST of all - a grandpa. Somewhere in that list above you'll find the theme of the Adventure Journal.
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11 Responses to Part II of the Frontiersman Canoe Restoration

  1. Dan Knight says:

    Awesome project and really cool results! Loved the picture from the past during the video. What a great memory!

  2. Fantastic restoration, looks really nice and some great work. We will put ours on water tomorrow. I do need some photography tips to make my shoddy work look good though!

  3. Keld & Sybil Nornberg says:

    Thanks for your info, it was very helpfull for our restoration of an old fiberglass canoe. We also had great sucess with Western Canoe, they were very helpfull.

  4. kelly olsen says:

    my brother has finished restoring his frontiersman canoe and would like to know where to get decals.

    • Jeff Katzer says:

      Kelly I’m not sure. I was able to just leave the original decal on the canoe and work around it. You might try calling Western Canoe & Kayak in Abbotsford. Good luck. Will you and/or your brother be posting any pictures of the restoration?

  5. Stuart McCrae says:

    Hi, I am also in final stages of restoring my 1975 Frontiersman. Years of great fun! Thanks for your story. I too am looking for a decal to keep the tradition alive. Now in Kentucky.

  6. Cody Bohnet says:

    Where did you get the new sticker!?

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