Help support the WCHA Forums by making a tax-deductible donation!

1925 Carleton

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by Howie, Aug 1, 2017.

  1. Howie

    Howie Wooden Canoe Maniac

    Just finished another one done: a 1925 17' Carleton. I picked it up in Pennsylvania this January when we had a forecast of good weather for a day or so (thanks for the heads-up Mike C.). The canoe originally had sponsons and had been fiberglassed (with up to 4 fabric layers in some places!) and weighed a ton. The sponsons were chucked but I saved the carry thwarts. When stripped I was surprised to find that it had external stems as well as stem bands that extended across the whole keel. It now weighs a more manageable 86#. Both the keel and external stems were good structurally but were a bit ugly cosmetically so I painted them - except for the repaired tips that got varnished. The deck 'ID plate' a decal I made and not original.
    IMG_4440.jpg IMG_4463.jpg IMG_4456.jpg IMG_4441.jpg IMG_4458.jpg IMG_4446.jpg Carleton 19280-17.jpg
    MGC and 1905Gerrish like this.
  2. mccloud

    mccloud Wooden Canoe Maniac

    Howie, I've been studying these photos you posted of your Carleton restoration. With 3 thwarts, it must be a 17 footer. It's a good looking canoe. I've got a 1924 Carleton 16-footer with both stem tips so badly rotted away I'm not sure how much to extend the stems. Your photos show quite an 'upsweep'. Did Carleton join the inwales to the stems like Old Town, sitting on notches in the stem tip? Tom McCloud
  3. OP

    Howie Wooden Canoe Maniac

    Gosh - I don't recall how the rails were attached to the stems. Old Town bought Carleton in 1910, and I believe from that point on construction details were very similar to Old Town's.

    O - wait... I've restored two Carletons, and I seem to remember that their stems were extremely thin - so thin that there's no way they could be notched. At least, that's my guess. Can't find any good pic showing stem details of the 17 footer, but here's a pic from a 15' Carleton - maybe you can enlarge it to see something:
    2014-08-20 23.25.29.jpg

    Say... I also remember that both my Carletons came with a big thick chunk of wood located below the decks. They were sort of wedge shaped, tall, and thin. I've forgotten how they were attached. I assumed they were used to beef up the wimpy stems. Did your Carleton have such a thing?
  4. MGC

    MGC Paddlephile

    Tom, I have a 1920's Carleton in the's in fairly original condition. I'll see if I can get a few pictures for you later today.
    I've had Carleton's that were built on Old Town forms...the only thing that differentiated them were the carry thwarts. OT would sometimes take a finished Old Town and ship it as a Carleton.

    IMG_20190726_104102125.jpg IMG_20190726_104006166.jpg IMG_20190726_104015387.jpg IMG_20190726_104057522.jpg
    I'm not sure if these are would be better if it was pulled apart....
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2019
  5. mccloud

    mccloud Wooden Canoe Maniac

    Hmmmmm, they really pulled those inwales in! And it's no wonder that long, thin deck tip rots away. Kinda looks like the stem tip extended to the height of the inwales, but was cut down to very thin, and the stemband covered it. We're not going to be to that stage for awhile. Thanks for all the info. TM...
  6. MGC

    MGC Paddlephile

    The decks taper to a sliver.
  7. PGC

    PGC Curious about Wooden Canoes

    I’m just getting started on a 1916 Carleton that had been fiberglassed (a pain, but it seemed to have preserved the integrity of the boat). Mine had capped or closed gunnels, so I’ve removed those and plan to remove at least the outwhales, bang strips, and keel so I can go to work on the fiberglass. Howie, what’s your advice on whether to leave the inwhales and thwarts in place as I start to remove the fiberglass?
  8. OP

    Howie Wooden Canoe Maniac

    Gosh - Do not remove the inner rails. Ditto the thwarts. You need them both to hold the canoe together. Outwales likely need to be removed though - I suspect the are sitting above the fiberglass. Remove them carefully - hopefully they can be used.

    Um... Why were you considering removing the inner rails? Are they rotten? Broken? IMO they are the hardest things to replace on a canoe - they need to be steam bent into the right shape.

    As to the fiberglass... There are those who are deeply respectful of any wood on an old canoe - they'll spare no effort to retain as much of the planking wood as they can. I'm not so respectful - I know the canvas will hide many cosmetic sins on the outside of the planking. So what I mean to say is this: if you're lucky much of the fiberglass will strip off relatively easily by hand. Some wood may well come it along with it. I live with that. But there will likely be areas where the fiberglass adheres too strongly to the planking & the planking starts to splinter too much. Where the fiberglass sticks too firmly I use an old (but sharpish) wood chisel to separate wood from fiberglass as much as I can. If needed I simply replace planking in this area. Then when I've removed all remaining chunks of fiberglass I use a belt sander with high grit paper to hit the uneven spots. I go through a lot of paper as it gums up from the heat generated.

    There are other, gentler, methods to remove fiberglass though. For example, I know MGC has used a heat gun to soften it. I've never done this.
    PGC likes this.
  9. mccloud

    mccloud Wooden Canoe Maniac

    Kathy Klos posted a video to youtube some time back on fiberglass removal using a heat gun
    I've done two this way. Never fun. And keep a bucket of water handy. The wood sometimes starts to smoke. There will be residual resin on the wood, but like Howie says, easy to get off with a belt sander. Wear long sleeves & a good dust mask/respirator.
  10. Dave Osborn

    Dave Osborn LIFE MEMBER

    I use a heat gun for the tough spots.
    Sometimes it’s not needed. Glass pulls off in sheets.
    Be sure to wear gloves. The edges are sharp.
    Once the glass is off, I will occasionally use paint remover on the resin that may be left. It may take a couple coats of it, but if it is polyester it will kinda get sugary and can be scraped off.
    Whatever resin is left over will get heated up with a heat gun and scraped off with some kind of a pull scraper.
    I personally don’t use a belt sander because I’ve had problems removing too much wood and not enough resin.
    Photos below are of the extremes...
    Your mileage may vary....

    Attached Files:

  11. MGC

    MGC Paddlephile

    Yes, I use heat...heat gun, propane torch...(XC racer from the lignistone and pine tar days) whatever. My mission is to save as much original wood as I can so I almost never pull big sheets loose unless I have pre-heated the section. Once the cloth is off I remove any remaining resin with the heat gun and a putty knife. It comes off with time and care. Next I pick out anything that remains in the planking and pick out the resin that covers the tack heads. When I'm done I don't want it to be apparent that there was ever glass on the hull. As we've discussed, the effort is too time consuming and maddening to do on anything except an exceptional old boat. I usually block sand by hand when I'm finishing the hull but I will occasionally use my palm sander in places...but for faring, a long wood block by hand. I always curse the person that covered the hull with glass while I'm working on it.
  12. PGC

    PGC Curious about Wooden Canoes

  13. PGC

    PGC Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Thanks for the advice on removing the old fiberglass. After I removed the gunnel caps and the outwhales, the fiberglass came off quite easily in big pieces. I did remove the seats and thwarts because they were loose and impossible to tighten because the bolts were rusted and just spun in their holes. I removed them by drilling out the caps and pulling down. I was surprised to see that they were steel. My plan is to refinish the seats and thwarts and reinstall them with stainless bolts since they will not show when covered with the gunnel caps. I have removed a broken rib near the stern that caused a bulge in the planking. One other rib near the middle is cracked in two places but with no deformation. I’m thinking about reinforcing this rib with layers of glass cloth and epoxy, but it is in a pretty noticeable spot. I’d like reaction to this. I’ve tried to send some photos taken with my iPad but can’t seem to get the site to accept them.
  14. PGC

    PGC Curious about Wooden Canoes

    BE899EAC-41C6-45D8-8DCC-F4BEF89E3689.jpeg BE659B8E-A40B-460E-9204-34BF08927556.jpeg 4E12E126-2A06-47F2-958D-6C8ACD0CA153.jpeg B3F69AF0-5594-44C4-82F0-C729B896BCE4.jpeg

    This is my 1916 Carleton. I thought the picture of the stem might help MGC. The inwhales do taper to nothing and the whole upper stem seems to be held in place by the last course of planking the outwhales are nailed to the deck and the stem. Then in my case, the gunnel caps cover the seam deck and outwhale.

    I’ve currently stripped the inside of paint and varnish, found and removed four more cracked ribs, and successfully bent one of the five while breaking three replacements. The steamer is going right now. I have been using the poly tube technique, but I’ve made my own tubes from 4 mil sheet poly by cutting strips two inches wider than the ribs before rolling the edges and stapling with a paper stapler. The tubes seem to work fine but I’m experimenting on the time. Currently, I’m trying about 30 minutes.

    I just looked at the phots and realized that the finished canoe is an Old Town that I spotted by the road near me. If anyone is interested, I have a photo of the ID number and the used furniture place that’s selling it. I think they’re asking 650.00.
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2019

Share This Page