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

Double-ended Lapstrake Rowboat

Discussion in 'Traditional All-Wood Construction' started by Kathryn Klos, Oct 7, 2010.

  1. Kathryn Klos

    Kathryn Klos squirrel whisperer

    This boat was found in an old shed and picked up yesterday by lucky new owners Denis and me-- an 18' double ended lapstrake rowboat, which came with two pairs of really cool oars and all rowlock hardware. The boat was picked off the dump at the Huron Mountain Club (noted for having many Rushtons in its fleet) by an employee several decades ago... the fellow died, and his widow was happy to part with this great find.

    Although it isn't a canoe, it's very canoe-esque and I figured someone may be able to tell us something about it. We know it isn't a Rushton-- and there are no markings anywhere.

    It's in super condition-- wood needs refinishing, and that's about all.... nothing appears broken. Doesn't appear to have had anything done to it either (copper rivets are intact), except perhaps a layer of fiberglass along the keel-line and some coats of enamel.

    Ribs are oak (Denis believes) and about 3/4" wide, with about 4" between ribs on the average. Bow deck is 24" and stern is 26". Open gunwales are oak, coaming also appears to be oak, and most other wood is spruce or maybe pine.

    I'd like to get a handle on when it might have been built, but don't know when this type of rib wasn't used anymore.

    It's interesting that a boat in this condition would be taken to the dump. I'd love to investigate that dump...

    Denis is happy. Boats are great medicine.


    Attached Files:

  2. OP
    Kathryn Klos

    Kathryn Klos squirrel whisperer

    More pictures...

    Here are a few more pictures. Denis took some too and may post them later.

    Attached Files:

  3. Dave Wermuth

    Dave Wermuth Who hid my paddle?

    You guys must just live right.

    Wow, what a find. Outstanding, Spectacular, amazing.

    How do you know it isn't Rushton? Curious. I just jumped on to do some research and maybe ask a Q and saw your post. I'd be doing the happy dance.
  4. OP
    Kathryn Klos

    Kathryn Klos squirrel whisperer

    Rushton boats are marked well... I think there'd be a medallion on the bow king plank and there's no sign of one ever being there... no indication that any builder put anything on the coaming either. Rushton had his name even on his stem bands... I don't know about these particular boats, but on our Indian Girl, every bit of hardware is marked, except the oar locks (which are very much like one of the pairs on this boat).
  5. OP
    Kathryn Klos

    Kathryn Klos squirrel whisperer

    Also, if it was a Rushton, that would be "too good to be true."
  6. Todd Bradshaw

    Todd Bradshaw Sailmaker

    Try a google search for "St. Lawrence Skiffs" and I think you'll find a bunch of very similar boats. There was an article in WoodenBoat Magazine maybe 20 years ago on them and you might be able to order a back issue. I don't remember much else about them, or what companies built them, but that's certainly what it reminds me of. There were even a few with some sort of inboard motor and a shaft running through the stern stem with a small skeg, but I think most were just rowed. Nice find! I seem to remember something about them being fairly common for rental fleets in parks, but don't quote me on it.
  7. Andre Cloutier

    Andre Cloutier Firestarter. Wicked Firestarter.

    Wow, thats a great find and a terrific looking boat. I stumbled on one locally but the owner is on the fence about letting go; I'd love to have one. Good for you;)
  8. OP
    Kathryn Klos

    Kathryn Klos squirrel whisperer

    You're right, Todd-- it looks like a St. Lawrence skiff. It has a mast seat and step too, so our minds are turning to thoughts of sailing!

    Amazing what can come into your life when people know you like old boats.
  9. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    I think Denis is onto the right idea. He suggested that it looks like a Rangeley. I agree. It's not skiffy to my eye and obviously not Rushton. The Rangeley's had a period without the transom so that helps to date this.
    Nice boat! With oars! Are the oars locked in (as they would be on a skiff or Rangeley)?
    This will be a real beauty after it's cleaned up a bit.
    I'm off to the dump to sit and wait.

    Well, after looking at the video and the recent pictures, I am going to agree with the Skiff opinion. The stern seat is a dead ringer for the 23 foot Skiff I once owned and the decks and other details look like they are also similar to NYS construction.

    More time at the dump today, waiting....
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2010
  10. Fitz

    Fitz Wooden Canoes are in the Blood


    I think the lines are a bit similar to a Rangeley (this one looks deeper to me), but the seats, decks, coamings oarlocks, etc. are not Rangeley-like. I grew up painting them for "People from Away", and they are also not the right color:D.

    It looks well built. We should be able to find a builder somehow. If not here, post it at WoodenBoat and see what they come up with.
  11. Denis M. Kallery

    Denis M. Kallery Passed Away July 3, 2012 In Memoriam

    Later this afternoon I'll ask Kathy to post some of the photos I took along with measurements. This boat came from the Huron Mountain Club. These folks were some of the nations very wealthy - Like Ford , DuPont, Armstrong, etc.. So they had their own boat shop and builders. Though as Kathy said they did buy a pot load of Rushtons. So this may have been built along the lines of a Rushton Saranac or Pleasure row boat. Many years ago [ when I was in my twenty's] I found a similar boat on a pile of rocks in an old farm field. I took it home but it was beyond my scope. I removed the Rushton shield [which is somewhere in all my junk] and the rest went back to the earth. I wish I knew then what I know now --things would have been different. :eek:
    Later, Denis
  12. Dan Miller

    Dan Miller cranky canoeist Staff Member

    It appears to me to be a fairly typical St. Lawrence River Skiff. The oarlocks are likely replacements, and it may have had the typical pin oarlock or folding oarlocks originally. 18' is a smaller sailing skiff, but not unheard of. Any evidence of the removal of a centerboard? It may have had an Atwood board if rigged for sailing from the start.

    Construction details are similar for a number of St. Lawrence skiff builders. I don't have my notes handy, but A. Bain and St. Lawrence River Skiff Canoe and Steam Launch Co. both used flat ribs, three piece decks and similar seat braces. Any evidence of a plate or shield on the.deck covering board?

    Regarding the marking of Rushtons mentioned earlier - it is not the case that they are always well marked... The earliest (1870s and 1880s) are more often not marked. Two of three of mine are unmarked...

    Dan, on the road in San Diego
  13. Dylan Schoelzel

    Dylan Schoelzel born in a canoe

    Looks St. Lawrence skiff-ish to me. There were several builders both small and large that built St. Lawrence skiffs. It was a widely copied boat but they all seem to share some basic characteristics. The stems usually tip outward like your boat. The decks and coamings resemble the St. Lawrence skiff and so do the seat braces, full floor boards, and flat ribs. Nice find...........
  14. OP
    Kathryn Klos

    Kathryn Klos squirrel whisperer

  15. OP
    Kathryn Klos

    Kathryn Klos squirrel whisperer

    Denis took the attached pictures with his camera-- better than mine.

    Thanks for all the great feedback.


    Attached Files:

  16. thompsonboatboy

    thompsonboatboy LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Beautiful boat! She could be a Thompson. Do you have the Thompson Boat CD-ROM?

    Other possible builders: Dan Kidney, Racine, Rhinelander, Dunphy, Hayward.

  17. OP
    Kathryn Klos

    Kathryn Klos squirrel whisperer

    Yes, I have that CD and will plow through it! Thanks for the suggestions, Andreas!


Share This Page