installing thwart


Active Member
Mar 15, 2006
I am ready to install a thwart on my solo double-paddle canoe. i just glued on the scuppered inwalks and now i learn that many people mortice/tendon a thwart into the inwale. my inwales are thin, 3/8"(the scuppers are 1/4") , and only 5/8" high.....would the thing be by running one or two screws thru the hull--inwale--and into the thwart, before glueing on the outwale....or running screw(s) thru outwale, hull, inwale--and into the thwart?.... i read somewhere that the thwarts are not to be attached to the hull--not sure why not...... guess i could glue on a support piece of wood beneath the inwale/thwart too.....?
Building seems to be one step forward, then back up and take another little step.....esp. the first time one builds a canoe. but a good adventure !
thanks !

Kayak Jack

Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2003
Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
I have exactly the same situation on the Katie Bug. Here's my thinking.

I'm not fastening a thwart permanently to my boat. I have some dowel, 5/8" or 1/2" I think. I'll measure where I want to put it, cut it to length to fit in between the inwales. I'll drill a hole in each end of the thwart about 1/2" in, and thread a 2' length of parachute line. (Uncle Sam donated some to me over 25 years ago when I retired; darned stuff followed me home. Funniest thing!)

On my boat, there will be two solid thwarts - one immediately behind the center seat used for solo paddling, and another up about where my feet are when solo paddling. Both will be lashed to several gunnel spacers on both sides of the boat.

Being inherently lazy, I'll use a nylon band about 2" wide, doubled, and tied in at the balance point for portaging. One end will remain tied, the other will be quickly lashed down for a portage. One end will be unlashed at the end of a portage and restowed out of the way.

During portage, this webbing will not rest on top of my shoulders, but will rest a few inches below them, down about the shoulder blade area. I'll fasten a tump line to that and carry the boat's weight on my head with it resting on my back.

This will not be comfortable, but I expect to be less uncomfortable than a standard portaging yoke. It is commonly thought that the standard portage yoke was invented during the Spanish Inquisition. However, others think it originated in Guyana, on Devil's Island. Does it make a difference?


Well-Known Member
Dec 8, 2005
Queensland, Australia
Hi Obie,

All I did was to rip and dress down a suitable piece of timber, then dry fit it to the boat where I wanted it.

to do this, I drilled through the outwhale, hull, spacer and inwhale and into the thwarte and helt in place with a single screw each side.

Once all that was done, I took it out and smeared each end of the thwarte with epoxy & wood flour and then re-installed it. when the glue had cured, I took the screws out and filled the hole with more wood flour.

Seems to be plenty strong enouth. I carry the boat with it, sit on it and occassionally, fall on it and it has held just fine so far.


Well-Known Member

I agree with Mick. Mortice and tendon sounds permanent to me. I would think its for support, as a rib or cross beam.Some people just screw for flexiblity, but what the heck are we crossing the creek or going to the moon. have a good day,keith


Well-Known Member
Aug 25, 2003
Central , Florida
This is the nice thing about building your own boat , it is the way you want it. After reading the posts it looks like everyone has a different way of doing it. My method is about the same as Micks.

I laminated some strips together, sanded them to the shape I wanted, then trimmed the ends to fit flush against the inside of the hull just below the inside railing.

Epoxyed and wood floured the ends and put it in place. When that set up then I filleted around the ends to finish it off. It has not moved and it does get some abuse.

I put two in the canoe since it is rigged for solo paddling, one is in the forward third of the canoe and the other is in the rear third of it, the wood and cane seat is just back of the center line. The seat acts as a portage yoke if the need arises, which I tend to avoid at all costs.

One of the Pirogue's I made .. the seat is in the same location as the canoes seat.
We had to portage at Floyd's Island so John Depa picked up the pirogue, (he wanted to see how well it portaged) placed the seat on his shoulders and walked away with it, he didn't even have to hold the pirogue, it just sat there as he walked off smoking a cigarette and drinking a beer. ( by the way it only weighs 32 pounds at 15 1/2 feet )