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As a lighter weight option on our Royalex hulls, Mad River Canoe has long offered black powder-coated aluminum gunwales. A low-maintenance alternative to the traditional ash, aluminum gunwales save approximately 3-5 pounds per canoe. It must be noted that aluminum gunwales are not as durable as vinyl or wood gunwales and will tolerate being distorted to the same degree that other gunwales will recover from.
Aluminum gunwales for Royalex hulls cannot be used on composite hulls or vice versa. They are not interchangeable.
If you are removing existing gunwales the rivets will be destroyed in the process. The "average" installation requires 70+/- 5/32" diameter Buttonhead aluminum rivets with aluminum mandrels with grip range of 3/16" to 1/4". HA/A612D black rivets are available in packages of 80 from Mad River Canoe via your authorized dealer.
One alternative is to ship by common carrier (via truck) but this is expensive. Gunwales shipped via common carrier will be sent freight collect (payment due on receipt). The best alternative is to arrange shipment of gunwales to accompany a shipment of boats to your local dealer. If this can be arranged, there is no freight charge for the gunwales.
All above parts are available via your local authorized Mad River Canoe dealer.
With rare exceptions, gunwale re-rail starts marking the hull with locations of seats and components followed by removal of components and then of original gunwales. With aluminum gunwales this is accomplished by drilling out the old rivets. This should allow gunwales to be able to be lifted off of hull once decks are removed.
New gunwales are placed over top edge of hull and pushed down into place. Holes are drilled through the flanges on sides of gunwales and through hull. Rivets are inserted and set in holes to secure gunwales. Decks are reinstalled followed by hanging of outfitting such as yoke, thwart, seats, etc.
If additional information is required, contact your Authorized Mad River Canoe Dealer or call Mad River Customer Service @ 888/525-2925.
Aluminum gunwales are basically care free. Over time and use, the black powder coating can be abraded, revealing the natural silver color of aluminum. This is a cosmetic issue only, the function and durability of the gunwale is not affected. If you want to restore the black finish, lightly sand area with fine grit sandpaper and paint with a flat black enamel. Multiple light coats will be longer lasting than one heavy coat. Please note this will not be a permanent "repair" and will likely need periodic repainting.