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A Bob's Special Followed Me Home Last Night.

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by monkitoucher, May 17, 2018.

  1. monkitoucher

    monkitoucher Canoe Curious

    I found this Chestnut in Colorado Springs.

    Canvas canoes in Colorado are pretty rare. So when you see one I'm finding that there is typically a good story that goes with how it got here.

    The gentleman who sold it to me came here from Illinois. He built strippers for himself and he ended up being given this Bob's by his buddy. The Buddy acquired and began the restoration on her over a decade ago. This looks to be a project that has taken an anguishing turn.

    Prior to seeing the canoe for myself, from the photos, I was really puzzled by the state of the gunnels. It looked like the ribs weren't attached at one end but there weren't any nail holes in the gunnel. Looked odd. On the other end, it looked like the gunnel was broken. Again... odd. Also, some of the ribs indicated that the canoe was in mid-restoration because they were darker than the rest and had a "B" written on them. So there were about 7 broken ribs that I could see from the photos. I kind of suspected where this was leading before I got there.

    It looks like the poor guy (the buddy) who had been working on this, got as far as replacing the inner gunnels with mahogany. When he got to the ends he tried to bend them upwards. The first gunnel cracked a little bit. But it was bent enough to get it fairly close. The second gunnel snapped completely at what looks to be a knot. I figure the project stopped at that point.

    So... the buddy who had a friend (the gentleman I bought it from) who built strippers. So he gave this project to him.

    So now I have a project for the end of the summer and fall.

    Everything is there except the seats and the gunnels. I will need to reconstruct the stems and replace the cant ribs. The sheer line is a little suspect now because I think he wasn't able to curve the first gunnel enough. It looks like he trimmed the ribs down to where the gunnel landed. I think I can find enough of a line from the sheer on the other side to reconstruct the line.

    The ribs are a little messy. Hopefully, I'll be able to get good ribs bent over the hull. most of the damage is midship. I may have to steam bend and then re-steam and re-bend in place.

    The planking is a little rough but I'm going to try my best to keep as much as possible. It's Eastern Cedar. So I really don't have a local supplier of that.

    I do have a little question about retaining and restoring the deck with the logo. I was all for sanding it off and replacing it with a new decal. But when I saw it I thought it would be a darn shame to destroy that little piece of history. Has anyone done any sympathetic restorations of their decks? What was your process?

    Attached Files:

  2. Graham

    Graham Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    Nice project ! I try to avoid touching the decal in any way, including any coatings over them. And this one appears to be in good shape.
    It's the best connection to the canoe's history, as there are no records for Chestnuts. But it's up to you of course, there are good reproductions available.
  3. OP

    monkitoucher Canoe Curious

    I'm about ready to start on the this Bob's Special. What type of wood was used on the gunnels for these? I was thinking that I'd use Sitka but I'm not totally in love with that idea. I used Sitka on the inner gunnels of my OT and ash for the outer. The Spruce is already taking on "character".
  4. Pook

    Pook Chestnut Canoe fan

    Typically the gunwales were ash but Sitka on inwales- why not?
    Good luck!

  5. Andre Cloutier

    Andre Cloutier Firestarter

    The early 60s bobs I picked up has spruce inners ash outers. Sitka would be fine as it’s in keeping with the slender and lightweight intentions of the model, and there is very little sheer kick up in the ends to be bent . There were all sorts of inner/outer combos over the years, all spruce , all ash, oak, and soft inners/hard outers.
  6. OP

    monkitoucher Canoe Curious

    I'm starting to lean towards ash now. The Sitka dings pretty easily. I'm looking to make this a little workhorse of a canoe up at our cabin. Used for mainly fishing on the lakes up there.

    Thanks for the input.
  7. Pook

    Pook Chestnut Canoe fan

    Yes the ash will be harder wearing for sure. Good luck!
    By the way when I needed to repair the deck on my Pal, I decided to completely replace it with a new maple deck with a new decal but I kept the original deck with original deck- it has s place of honour on my bookshelf!

  8. OP

    monkitoucher Canoe Curious

    I think the game plan on the deck is to carefully apply te-ka and finish around the edges of the deck where the old finish has chipped off. I think I can save the decal and it's patina this way.
  9. Andre Cloutier

    Andre Cloutier Firestarter

    You might find that after you have bent up the sheer and made your stem joint that the original decks may not be the same angle, and wont fill the space tight to both sides. cutting new decks will at least let you match wood species , i've had a lot of chestnuts and a few have been mismatched. keep the old deck for a souvenir.

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