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A find in the UK

Discussion in 'Traditional All-Wood Construction' started by Blott, Oct 8, 2016.

  1. Blott

    Blott LOVES Wooden Canoes

    I and WCHA-UK were given this canoe for me to find someone to take her over and get her fixed and back on the water. Her last owner was given the canoe by his parents in 1949 when he was 14 but it looks far earlier and was probably 2nd hand then.
    I collected her from the home of William Shakespeare this morning.
    She will be a fine canoe again. Length 16'6" Beam 34 " Depth 12". No immediate identifying name plates etc. Anyone any ideas. The outwales are much like my Peterborough. Last
    On the drive home the rain washed 32 years of dust and crud off and it transpires she is striped.

    DSC_8807.jpg DSC_8808.jpg DSC_8809.jpg DSC_8815.jpg DSC_8821.jpg DSC_8823.jpg
  2. Kathryn Klos

    Kathryn Klos squirrel whisperer

    A beautiful canoe! I look forward to seeing pictures of her back on the water.

  3. Dick Persson

    Dick Persson Canoe builder & restorer

    Most likely one of the following:
    Thomas Gordon, Strickland or Lakefield. My bet is on Strickland.
  4. dtdcanoes

    dtdcanoes LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Dick should know. It looks about like mine..........but for what appears to be a really robust stem configuration. Great boat.......any plating on the coaming screws ? It seems there are many Stricklands without a keel or keelson as is mine and several others I have seen. Have fun and be true to the original. It seems you have evidence of pairs of floor board clips as well. There are boards in the Strickland as seen on the Thames Pilot site referring to " a decorated Canoe ". Perhaps you can see it and determine if it is correct for yours. I would like to know too ! have are a lucky fellow.
  5. alick burt

    alick burt LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Hi Kathryn ,Dave and Dick
    I am the lucky custodian of this beautiful craft courtesy of my good friend Nick Dennis and Jane (the boats previous owner).
    There doesn't appear to be any evidence of the plating on the coaming screws but I will have a closer look tomorrow.
    Dave ,Do you have a link to the Thames pilot site picture I would be interested to see it?

    Another curious feature is that the thwarts all seem to have been cut and I am wondering if this was for nesting during transport? There is also another similar boat in the UK see here

    that may even have come over on the same boat as it is possibly small enough to fit inside... The cuts are all at the same angle though they are not in exactly the same place on the thwart ends but are all with in three or four inches of the ends.I am amazed they have just been glued without a dowel or joint of any sort!

    Mean while here are a few more pictures of her during initial cleaning/woodworm treatment yesterday.

    Thanks for all the info so far it's great to be able to tap into such a wealth of knowledge.

    Kind regards

    Last edited: Oct 9, 2016
  6. alick burt

    alick burt LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Hello Folks
    Some more developments.Apparently Felix cut the thwarts and glued them in the 70's as to why we don't know but my guess is he was trying to convert for rowing in some way as he was a keen rower.It also looks to me as though he kept the pieces and glues them back in but possibly turned them around as they are butternut (not common in the uk) I will examine the grain again when I clean them later.

    Re the coaming screws and plating.I see no evidence of this but they are brass screws.(I took one off and scratched the underside of its head to be sure.) the heads may have been plated and it might have worn off..


    I also started stripping the inside and the dark strips look like mahogany especially when wet.


    Many Thanks

  7. alick burt

    alick burt LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Hi Roger
    That's a great model with a lovely patina. My boat has no keelson and the stems are less of a right angle but there are lots of similarities.
  8. Roger Young

    Roger Young display sample collector

    Note to readers: Alick's response above is going to look somewhat out of place without a bit of explanation. I had posted a comment concerning a recently uncovered sample model in the hands of the Peterborough Museum and Archives, Ontario. The model's origin is 'unknown'. It is of longitudinal cedar strip construction, 30" in length, with narrow, half-round ribs to which the strips are fastened with tiny copper tacks. The rib tops are bevelled; thin, wide, flat outwales are attached by tacks with large, flat heads driven through from the inside bevelled edge. Decks are one piece of medium length, with arc-shaped coaming. My apologies that photos are no longer able to be shown, as will be explained.

    I had been invited by a research student to offer assistance in identifying this sample model. My thoughts are that it is very likely of Lakefield, Ontario, origin, and possibly even made by Lakefield Canoe Co. In fact, I lean to believing it could be even earlier, and to possibly be by the hand of Strickland, prior to 1904, when he joined forces with Thomas Gordon to form the Lakefield Canoe Co. Although I have searched over the years to find a display sample by Lakefield Canoe Co., I have been unsuccessful. I was told some years ago, by an older, experienced antiques dealer, that he had once seen a Strickland sample. On seeing the model at PMA, and having been provided with some photos of it, I began to wonder whether this might be the elusive sample I had been seeking. Coincidentally, I noticed the posting, here, of the 'find' of the possible Strickland full-size canoe in UK, now owned by Alick. I posted pics and comments here about the sample which also had just come to light. My hope was to elicit comments from others possibly leading to a better identification of the PMA model.

    Alas, I have just been told that the photos of the sample, which were sent to me without reservation, were meant to be private and not to be shared. I was asked to take down my post, and I have complied; thus the post and pics are no longer present. I confess that I am totally dumbfounded by what I believe to be extremely myopic policies on the part of some museums and cultural institutions, the supposed guardians of public property, who do not allow the public dissemination of information or photos describing this supposedly public property. I especially do not understand or agree with such policy when the whole object of my exercise in alerting members of the WCHA to the existence of this hitherto unknown Strickland (?) sample was to disseminate information about it to the most relevant consuming public one could serve, as well as to solicit comment and critique from this very exceptional and knowledgeable audience as to whether or not WCHA members, in their collective wisdom, could shed any light upon whether or not this might be a Lakefield or Strickland model. In my view, such policies do more to further ignorance and injure the public than they do to serve its best interests. Anyway, that is the reason for the missing post which previously appeared between #6 and #7.

  9. alick burt

    alick burt LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Sad to hear that Roger
    I used to find when reading English books on cabinetmaking years ago they never gave quite as much information as US publications and it was as though the English craftsmen of the time were reluctant to give up their secrets.Having been a woodworker for 30 years now I think it is far more important to pass on as much information as you can to others lest it be lost forever so that is may attitude and I find it strange that anyone should think differently.Still each to their own and they are perfectly within their rights.
  10. alick burt

    alick burt LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Hello Folks
    Restoration continues and today I took one of the decks off to make stripping the varnish off the planking below it easier.The deck is very soft and crumbly so I know it will require both wood hardener and preservative in order to save it but it also has stains on the underside that I would like to remove.
    I tried some very careful sanding and it is evident that they are not going to shift.
    I am guessing I might have to bleach them out with something but will this weaken the timber further?
    The point and corners of the deck are very soft and crumbly so I don't want to make things any worse.Does anyone have any suggestions I know I could stain it all darker but want to avoid making it too dark?
    Also should I clean/bleach first or apply preservative.(I know the hardener goes on after the preservative).
    you can see pictures in my blog here
    Many Thanks
  11. Graham

    Graham Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    Thanks for the blog link... looking forward to following your progress.
    The tips of my butternut decks have dropped slightly from the sharp rise, but I'm waiting to see other solutions before changing anything.
    Good luck!
  12. alick burt

    alick burt LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Hi Graham
    You are welcome :) Re your decks there is a chapter on steaming the curve on decks in The Wood Canvas Canoe by Jerry Stelmok and Rollin Thurlow so you might be able to get them to go back...
  13. alick burt

    alick burt LOVES Wooden Canoes

    I have been doing other work this week but have one stumbling block that I have been thinking about in the meantime.
    Around the stems there appears to be some white sealant/ filler /putty like stuff that I think is probably white lead.see below.
    My question is how do I tidy this up?
    I suspect it is doing a good job of sealing gaps around the stems.I have discovered it has softened slightly during my stripping process but is still difficult to remove without a lot of effort and possible damage to the timber underneath which I want to avoid.
    My instincts tell me to leave it alone but I would like to at least tidy it up around the edges.
    Has anyone else come across this stuff before on a boat that will have a varnished finish if so how did you deal with it?
    Would it have been used to seal this area originally or is it a later addition? If the latter then I would feel more inclined to remove it completely...
    Many Thanks
  14. alick burt

    alick burt LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Today I cleaned the hull and decks with Teak cleaner and found a possible maker's mark under the importers plate on one of the decks.
    My guess is that this says Gordon! though I was unable to read it beyond the G O and R so the rest is guesswork. What do you think?
    I took pictures from all angles and this was the best I could get and it didn't show at all until I wetted it with the cleaner.
    I did notice it has a border line across the top and wonder if anyone else has come across this stamp on a known Gordon Canoe?

    You can read my full blog here to see how I unexpectedly made the discovery.



    Attached Files:

  15. alick burt

    alick burt LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Hello folks
    This afternoon I spent a bit of time picking the white lead off the stems (very carefully with a chisel).
    This has revealed a bit of a gap between the stem and planking in places and I suspect I will need to re fill it with something.
    Is there something anyone can recommend for this that won't look as unsightly as the white lead or should I just use white lead again and maybe paint it brown to blend in?

    I also inspected the ribs for cracks.Most of them are sound and the worst ones are probably these three.
    The planking around them seems fine and the ribs don't move around.I could make the crack move a little (no more than 0.25mm) when I flexed the hull.
    I treated the worm when I first got the boat and will do so again.I also intend to give it a dose of wood hardener.
    I don't think the ribs need replacing but what are other peoples opinions? There are other ribs that are not cracked but have similar amounts of woodworm.Would worm treatment and hardener be enough to keep them from breaking?
    I intend to treat her with care and will only be paddling on flat water.
    Many Thanks
  16. OP

    Blott LOVES Wooden Canoes

  17. alick burt

    alick burt LOVES Wooden Canoes

    yes I was also thinking sticks like **** in clear might be good.Just looked at data sheets which both advise contacting the makers for other applications so might make some calls.One concern for both these materials is of course that they are modern so some may not approve.(Please feel free to comment/ suggest alternatives everybody:)
    Also in reading about white lead I read that it does have a degree of fungicide anti rot element and has stood the test of time.
    Another thought is that I could use epoxy but I think I need more flexibility.
    The gaps are not big probably only 1.5mm max although I do not know how deep they go and am uncertain of the condition of the timber of the stems and planking deep down.
    Incidently the arbokol data mentions a minimum joint size requirement of 6mm (not sure it matters but may ask if I call them)
    and the Sticks Like says its not suitable for water immersion although that may be just during curing.(That's what I will ask if I call them)

    Cheers :)

    P.S. I just did a search for marine sealant which bought up loads more options.see here !
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2016
  18. alick burt

    alick burt LOVES Wooden Canoes

    What are my ribs made of??

    Hello Folks
    Today I have been playing with making some replacement ribs but I am still not sure what the originals are made from??
    There are quite a lot with worm in and some are cracked right through so i think it will be sensible for me to at least replace the worst ones.
    Looking at them I thought they might be butternut but it is difficult to tell as they are so thin so there isn't a lot of grain to look at.Whatever it is the woodworm like it.
    They aren't Ash as the grain is not pronounced enough and they are too pale for mahogany.
    Anyway I happen to have lots of poplar in my workshop so I machined some up steamed it and put it in the hull to set.It was very easy to steam and bend and I know it isn't particularly durable (neither is butternut) but will it be ok once varnished? I am fairly confident I can stain it to match reasonably as its grain is very similar to whatever the originals are made of.

  19. Dick Persson

    Dick Persson Canoe builder & restorer

    Hi Alick,

    The ribs were mostly made from Rock elm or White oak.
  20. alick burt

    alick burt LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Thanks Dick
    I have plenty of white oak and some elm though I don't think it is rock elm I will see how they compare.:)

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