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

Charles River Canoe

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by JClearwater, Oct 29, 2019.

  1. JClearwater

    JClearwater Wooden Canoe Maniac

    I recently acquired a canoe from Tom Whalen with torpedo ends and long decks. There is no builder tag. Tom thought it was an Arnold but was not sure. I could not see a serial number on the bow stem. The canoe is 17’2” long, width at gunwales is 30 ¾”, extreme width is 32 ¾”, The ribs are 2 ¼” wide and about 4” center to center. They taper to ¾” wide at the inwale. They are not pocketed like a Morris but sharply thinned and lock onto champhered slot on the outside of the inwale. The inwale is a full inch thick. The gunwale caps are missing as well as the six canopy brackets. Keel is attached with screws every other rib. Kevin Martin did not think it was a Kingsbury. I don’t think it’s a Robertson.
    IMG_2883a.JPG IMG_2896a.JPG IMG_2897a.JPG IMG_2891a.JPG IMG_2902a.JPG IMG_2913a.JPG IMG_2894a.JPG
    Thoughts anyone?

    I know that all the Charles River builders, Arnold, Nutting, Robertson, Kingsbury and others, had shops and boathouses within walking distance of each other and likely traded ideas, employees and even had related families so pinning down a builder may be tough.

    Benson Gray likes this.
  2. dtdcanoes

    dtdcanoes LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Oh, Jimmy what a good one. I can taste the GOLD. Great lines and condition , just fine. I have a CC and it came from Lake Quinsigamon ( SP?) I think I see similar ribs and keel end. I will check. Mine has a wide thwart with a straight edge ]for a seat back. Yours looks symmetrical though. Great boat. I almost called as I have two brothers right up the way from Meredith .
  3. OP

    JClearwater Wooden Canoe Maniac

    Thanks Dave,
    H.E. Crandell had his shop on Lake Quinsigamond (you were only missing the 'd') in Worcester, MA and he was the son-in-law of John R. Robertson. My Crandell and every Roberson I have seen has un-tapered full width ribs which is the reason I figured this canoe is not a Robertson. Kevin M. figured it was not a Kingsbury for the same reason. However all these guys were experimenting and trying different things all the time so anything is possible. The top ends of the ribs are not feathered out thin like my Crandell either. They are clipped off at a steep angle and fitted in a champhered slot under the inwale. It's hard to explain. Maybe I'll try to take a better picture. I should also pull off the canvas so the planking pattern can be seen.

    It's going to be a while before I can start on this one. I have to finish the solo I'm working on and an Old Town then I can start this one. Jean has claimed the rights to pick the colors. And yes, Gold leaf would be sweet. I would need a coach however as I have never done it. Maybe there's a YouTube video.

  4. Michael Grace

    Michael Grace Lifetime Member

    Hi Jim,

    I think I may have one of these. Features are similar - tapered ribs, no serial number (that I've found) and other things I can see in yours are similar in mine. Even though mine has a circular profile at the stem (not torpedo), it sure reminds me of yours. I'll have to get to it and see how the ribs meet the inwale. I've always been baffled by this one; maybe we have sibling canoes and can learn from each other. More information coming as soon as possible.

  5. OP

    JClearwater Wooden Canoe Maniac

    Thanks Michael. I'll try to take a couple more pictures tomorrow. It's all great stuff. Stay tuned.

  6. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker's a good one.
  7. OP

    JClearwater Wooden Canoe Maniac

    Attached are a couple more pictures. Planking pattern and outside stem/deck connection. I tried to take a picture of the rib/inwale connection without luck. Attached is a sketch of how it appears to be built. IMG_2945a.JPG IMG_2953a.JPG IMG_2958a.JPG Thanks, Jim
  8. Old_Paddler

    Old_Paddler Canoe nut

    I think you need a few more boats, will keep my eye out or you.

    Shari Gnolek likes this.
  9. Michael Grace

    Michael Grace Lifetime Member

    Hi Jim,

    I don't know where the time has gone, but I finally remembered to get back to this thread. The canoe I mentioned may well be by the same maker as yours, but a different model. It came out of Massachusetts, for what that's worth. It is still in canvas so I can't compare all of the details you provided, but here is what I can tell you about this one, other than the fact that it's unusual among Charles River-area canoes I've known otherwise:

    - rounded stem recurve, not torpedo like yours
    - 16'11" long; beam 28.5" inside the gunwales and 31.5" to the outside of the outside rail caps
    - ribs 2.25" wide, tapered to 1 1/8" at the bottom of the gunwale
    - planking 4" wide
    - coamings 1 3/8" high; kingplanks 1.5" wide at coaming
    - seats frames have only slight roundover of square edges; bow seat 10 1/8" x 15 1/8"; stern seat 10.25" x 10.75"
    - stems ends look like yours - edges chamfered at the ends which land between, not on, ribs
    - outside stems are "chubby" in cross section (biconvex)

    Does your canoe have inside rail caps? My notes say that mine does, but I'd need to do the contortionist thing to check now.

    I've looked for identifying marks but no luck so far. Oh, and I don't think the seat and thwart bolts are original because I wouldn't expect them to lie on top of the top rail caps.


    Attached Files:

  10. OP

    JClearwater Wooden Canoe Maniac


    Thanks for the pictures and measurements of your canoe. My canoe does not have inside rail caps. The coaming looks exactly the same as yours. The kingplank is 1.5" wide, same as yours. The stern seat is 10" x 10.5" tucked under stern deck same as yours. Bow seat is 9 3/8" x 14 3/8". The edges have a slight round over same as yours. Mine does not have a floor rack and I don't think it ever did. The wide thwart is exactly the same.

    Seems to me that both canoes have the same parents but what's the family name still is a mystery. I guess I'll just be happy calling it a "Charles River Canoe". When we get it all restored we will deck it out with pillows, canopy and a rug. We already have an Edison record player and a bunch of records.

    Thanks for your help.

    Jim C.
  11. 1905Gerrish

    1905Gerrish LOVES Wooden Canoes


    I looked this canoe over well. I think Tom thought it was his prized possession. I has some beautiful lines for sure. Those tapered ribs and lots of tumblehome are a beautiful combination. When I went in the barn he brought me over to it first thing. It certainly has interesting features and will be a great discussion piece of the origin.

  12. Supermario

    Supermario Curious about Wooden Canoes

Share This Page