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Help with identifying this canoe?

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by Doug Stephens, Apr 29, 2021.

  1. Doug Stephens

    Doug Stephens New Member

    Good Day,

    I was just given this 13'6" canoe with a 34" beam, free. Can anyone help me identify it? I found absolutely no makers plate, serial number, stamps, nothing. It also does not appear to me to be of truly fine craftsmanship. Seems to be a pretty generic little boat.

    Still, none of the ribs are cracked, the planking is in good shape with only a couple of partial cracks. I'm wagering I'll need to do some work on the stems.

    There is not much to go on but I would appreciate any help with identifying the maker/vintage of this boat.

    The seats are of laced rawhide, which, if the seats are original (and I can't be sure of this) might be a clue.

    Best regards,

    Doug Stephens
    Anchorage, AK

    Attached Files:

  2. Gary

    Gary Canoe Grampa

    Hi Doug, from the babiche seats, the wide planking, and shape of the decks I'd say you have what is typically called a Huron canoe. These were made in Quebec, by a number of builders who all build variations of very similar canoes. They were not know for their exquisite materials or fine details but they do paddle very well and are a good canoe. Sort of the VW of canoes. I've restored a couple of them and they are happily being paddled by their new owners.
    If you search this site you'll see many references to Huron canoes from past discussions which may give you more insight on your canoe.
    Nice price I might add.
    Here is one I restored recently just to show you what one put back together looks like.
    Best of luck with it.

    Attached Files:

  3. OP
    Doug Stephens

    Doug Stephens New Member


    Thank you very much, could't have asked for better info. I'll start searching for "Huron" canoes to see what I can find.

    Your renovtion sure turned out nice looking. When I get there I'll have some questions on the current state of the art/affairs when it comes to skin material and filler.

    I've built skin on frame kayaks using nylon or polyester fabric coated with two part polyurethane. It comes out pretty bombproof but is anything but traditional. I also fear it will adhere the the planks making the next re-skin a real trial.

    Later on and best regards,

    Doug Stephens
    Anchorage, AK
  4. Howie

    Howie Wooden Canoe Maniac

    It could also be a Langford. I've restored both a Langford and a Bastien, and they had the same features as your canoe: babiche seats with a chunk of wood for the front seat spacer instead of dowels, chunky straight deck, non tapered inner rail tips, and rail caps. And steel nails and wood screws. No serial # non other identification. And the planking was very roughly shaped on the outside of the canoe. Both were/are made in Ontario Canada. I thinking I remember that Bastien was absorbed by Langford at some point, but could well be wrong.
    IMG_20170912_142434.jpg IMG_20170412_180210158.jpg
  5. Gary

    Gary Canoe Grampa

    Hi Doug, glad that you found it helpful. There are many on this site who are far more knowledgeable than I and you'll get all the help you'll need to restore your canoe. I, having just researched the Huron canoe for a restoration I just did last Summer, would add that the Langford canoes traditionally used a recurve design on their decks while the Huron builders had the heart shaped decks like yours. You'll also note that there are large gaps between the planking when you do get to removing the old canvas don't let this scare you or try to fill these gaps. It was customary for these builders to leave the bigger gaps and once re-canvased, or whatever you choose to use, they wont detract from the structure or function of the canoe.
    I should note that in the picture I sent I took a few liberties in restoring my Huron canoe. When replacing the rails I ran the outwale past the stems which is not correct for these canoes and I added a contoured center yoke, again not traditional.
    In Mike Elliott's book "This Old Canoe" he has a good section on these builders and their canoes along with lots of helpful information. Also Rollin's and Jerry's book "The Wood and Canvas Canoe a Complete Guide to its History, Construction, Restoration and Maintenance" is well worth purchasing.
    Be sure to give us updates as you proceed.
    Cheers, Gary

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