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15' Chestnut Chum

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by patrick corry, Dec 13, 2021.

  1. patrick corry

    patrick corry Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    Here's a new project. Found in central PA, the previous owners bought this canoe on Keuka Lake in New York's Finger Lakes with the intent to make a hanger for decoration. It sat in an outbuilding for 12 years before becoming mine yesterday!

    It's got a lumpy curve to the gunwales, I think from an earlier "restoration/renovation" in which someone perhaps installed a too-small center thwart, thus pulling the gunwales in and creating the tumblehome in the canoe sides. What do you folks think?

    The stem has a number imprinted- either 25450 or (unknown character)5450. I know that these numbers do not accurately identify a Chestnut, but perhaps some of you have accurately known build dates for canoes with numbers near these?

    This will be a Spring project as my shop is unheated, but I will return this canoe to regular tripping service primarily in the Adirondacks.

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  2. Dan Miller

    Dan Miller cranky canoeist Staff Member

    The center thwart is probably original. The unfair gunwales are a characteristic of these canoes.
  3. Dave Osborn

    Dave Osborn LIFE MEMBER

    Exactly what Dan said! For some reason Chestnuts seem to want to spread enough as years go by that it becomes noticeable. It makes the seats seem short too.
    On Chestnuts that don’t get new inwales, I make a little block with a step joint on each end of the thwarts to add some length and widen it amidships.
  4. Mud Bug

    Mud Bug Hand made things are better

    At least one of the Chums Bill Mason used in his videos had wobbly looking gunwales too. Seemed to work fine for him. ;)
  5. OP
    patrick corry

    patrick corry Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    Made a little progress while the temperature was benign; I added a temporary spacer at the center to experiment with improving the curve of the gunwales.
    And removed the original canvas:
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    Andy Hutyera likes this.
  6. Mud Bug

    Mud Bug Hand made things are better

    That curve looks much better. May I ask why you pulled the canvas? It looked like it was still good except maybe way up at the ends.
  7. OP
    patrick corry

    patrick corry Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    The canvas had several significant tears on the bottom which had been poorly sealed then painted over. Ditto for one significant tear above waterline. Additionally, there are a couple of planks which need replacement, so the canvas had to go for that. Lastly, the original canvas had shrunk away from (below) the outwales in several places. I could have probably just done some cosmetic touchup and paddled her as is, but there is plenty of time to make a full restoration before paddling season rolls around again. Besides, this is fun work for a semi-retired guy! This canoe will likely go live with my son in VT when complete so I can introduce my VT grandkids to tripping.
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2021

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