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1914/15 OT AA Charles River Gunnels Profile and Mahogany / Mahogany Alternatives

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by Douglas Kestell, Aug 31, 2021.

  1. Douglas Kestell

    Douglas Kestell Curious about Wooden Canoes

    I recently purchased a pretty rough 1914/15 AA Charles River that is in pretty rough shape.

    I am under the assumption that this canoe came with closed / capped gunnels - the ribs taper down to almost nothing at the tops.

    The inwales are present, but look roughly square in cross section, the outwales are completely gone. I am wondering if the gunnel cap and outwales are 1 piece or the gunnel cap is its own thin strip. A piece of long thin stock with lots of nails came with the boat and has a curve in one end that roughly looks like it could be a gunnel cap, but I'm not sure that it is original or not. A member shared picture of the outwale cross section from a 1911 with them being one piece, but I'm unsure what profile on this vintage should be.

    Also, there is a significant curve to gunnels at either end am considering Spanish Cedar as replacement material for these as well as one of the decks. I have read about the difficulty of steam bending "Mahogany alternatives" due to their density and everything I have found is kiln dried. Likewise Spanish Cedar appears to be more sustainably harvested.

    Last, the planking rather has rather large gaps - 1/16" at their worst. Note I haven't applied thinned Linseed oil yet, so they may swell a tiny bit. Should I consider replacing every other plank with one slightly wider to cheat the gap with the adjacent planks?

    Last - the carriage bolts suspending what is left of the seats are rusted. Not sure OT used steel for these way back when. There are several small ring shank nails around the gunnel areas as well, and not sure if these are what was used as well.

    Lots of question - but I really appreciate any insights you could provide.

    Thanks
     
  2. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    Hi Douglas,

    The 1/16" gaps are nothing to be concerned about; that's not at all unusual.

    The cap rails and out wales were separate pieces. The long piece that came with the canoe may very well be part of it. Pictures will help!

    The seat hanger bolts... you can check with a magnet to see if they're steel; they probably are. Are they actual carriage bolts, or are they "Fin-necked" bolts? These would have small "fins" projecting from the shaft, up by the rounded heads.
     
  3. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    Your canoe described at https://www.wcha.org/forums/index.php?threads/17912/ came with double mahogany gunwales. These did not have rail caps like the more common closed gunwale. See https://www.wcha.org/forums/index.php?threads/12320/ and https://www.wcha.org/forums/index.php?threads/3823/ for more about this type of construction. Good luck,

    Benson
     
  4. Todd F

    Todd F Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    Doug, do you mind posting any pics of this canoe? I am looking at a 1914 17' CS Charles River, looks in rough shape as well but I am going to give her a shot.

    Thanks, Todd
     
  5. OP
    OP
    Douglas Kestell

    Douglas Kestell Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Good for you! Mine was on a wood pile for years without canvas so all the rib tops were rotten and the planking was ( is) shrunk. Lots of hot water and ratchet straps to ease it back into shape.

    the hardest part for me was there was about 3 ft of inwale left and 1 deck, so I built it from photos and the kind folks on this forum.

    I actually just bought the paint for it yesterday, so more pictures soon as I start to put it back together. I wanted to get some paint under the outwales and the outer stems (not stock- but I like how that looks).

    Here are some photos. I have more on Instagram at white_birch_adventures

    i dumped a bunch of photos. If you have questions- by all means reach out.

    Good luck and have fun.
     

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  6. OP
    OP
    Douglas Kestell

    Douglas Kestell Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Here are more.
     

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  7. OP
    OP
    Douglas Kestell

    Douglas Kestell Curious about Wooden Canoes

    More
     

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  8. OP
    OP
    Douglas Kestell

    Douglas Kestell Curious about Wooden Canoes

    The last of them
     

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  9. Todd F

    Todd F Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    Unreal! Looks way worse (to start) than I think the one I am picking up is. Will pick your mind on the way ahead. Love the PVC pipe "clamps", never seen that before.
     
  10. OP
    OP
    Douglas Kestell

    Douglas Kestell Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Hope you find the photos helpful. I cut the pvc rings on my table saw and cut the clamping slice on my bandsaw. Thicker wall pipe provides more clamp force. Super cheap, easy to make and no moving parts!
     
  11. Gary

    Gary Canoe Grampa

    Hi Doug, nice work! Just goes to show you that nothing is ever really beyond saving. I have nurtured back to life a few that were deemed beyond saving. I appreciate that those who do this for a living might find it not worth the time that they'd have to spend to make it profitable but as a hobbyist, whose just having fun with these old craft, I appreciate getting them back on the water where they belong. Thanks for all the pictures, enjoy the canoe.
    Gary
     
    Douglas Kestell likes this.

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