that was constructed the same way with the "faux ribs". It was my first canoe. One of the gunwales was busted and the faux ribs were badly weathered. I was worried about the boat losing its' shape with a gunwale off so I actually took the lines off the good side and made a plywood jig. I clamped the jig to the boat, removed the broken gunwale and laminated a new one in place. Then I flopped the jig over, clamped it to the other side and did the same thing. I no longer think that the jig was necessary, but it did provide some peace of mind.
As for the ribs, I did not think they were structural so I just sanded 'em and gave 'em a few coats of varnish. I used the boat for 7 or 8 years and then sold it. Far as I know it is still in service.
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