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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?
     

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  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
    OP
    monkitoucher

    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

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

    Bruce
     
  5. Andre Cloutier

    Andre Cloutier Firestarter. Wicked 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
    OP
    monkitoucher

    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!

    Cheers!
    Bruce
     
  8. OP
    OP
    monkitoucher

    monkitoucher Canoe Curious

    Thanks!
    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. Wicked 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.
     
  10. OP
    OP
    monkitoucher

    monkitoucher Canoe Curious

    Hey folks,

    I'm beginning to finally start work on this Bob's. We started to do the inner gunnels (Ash) last weekend. Just did two ends because I soaked the wrong ends on the other two. Glad I thought those through.

    I have a question regarding the seats. This boat has heart-shaped decks and the older logo, seen above. I'd like to build the seats as they were. Any idea on whether they were rounded off on the sides... all around the frame... or not at all? Photos would be really awesome.

    Also... If you were to guess what era is she?
     
  11. Graham

    Graham Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

  12. OP
    OP
    monkitoucher

    monkitoucher Canoe Curious

    Little update on the Chestnut... Finally starting work on her. I ended up getting a lot of rough stock from Rollin at Northwoods Canoe. So It took me a couple of Zen-filled days to mill down the rib and plank stock for this and my next project. We shaped the inner gunnels with a set of forms. The angle ended up a little too severe. I think I'll end up hitting them with a little steam to help them relax a bit. But for a canoe that hasn't had a proper inner gunnel on it for about a decade. She's really shaping up.

    I'm currently in the process of bending the ribs. There is a section dead center where there are 6 ribs that are pretty mangled. my plan is to bend and replace the ribs inward. That way I have a solid rib to bend against as I replace the ribs inward.
     

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  13. Paul East

    Paul East PFE1944

    Love looking at pic's of people working on their projects.
     
    monkitoucher likes this.
  14. Pook

    Pook Chestnut Canoe fan

    And the Alfa GTV parked next to the Chestnut...

    Great taste in canoes AND cars!

    Cheers!
    Bruce
     
    monkitoucher likes this.
  15. OP
    OP
    monkitoucher

    monkitoucher Canoe Curious

    Some more progress. I was able to build out the center section by where I had 6 ribs broken in the dead center of the boat. I bent the ribs nearest to the ends of the boat. Then I tacked those in and bent the next rib over that. Walking it up in three sessions. So far It looks pretty good.

    I think I'm able to save the majority of the planking. There are some really warped planks that I'll need to replace. But for the most part, there isn't going to be a lot of planking replaced.

    I scarfed in the stem tips and fitted them in with the inner gunnels. This is the part that I'm not too good at. But I'm getting better. I was able to install the original deck and it's pretty snug.

    Hopefully this weekend, I'll have the rest of the rib tips and planking on. Then I can start staining the new wood to match the old and maybe start finishing.

    BTW- compared to my Old Town I'm not too impressed with the build quality of this boat. The stems aren't mated as well to the ribs... some of the ribs were bent really poorly over the stem in places... the flat sawn planking has warped to the point where it may never be faired. That said... I'll be pretty proud of her when she's done. And she should be a lot of fun to paddle.
     

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    Last edited: Oct 12, 2018

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