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Looking for a plan view OT Ideal / Charles River model

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by Douglas Kestell, Sep 4, 2021.

  1. Douglas Kestell

    Douglas Kestell Lignum Linter Fanaticus

    I’ve started work on my 17’ 1915 OT Charles River. It’s been without gunnels for who knows how long, so it’s lost it’s shape.

    Is there a resource that has a plan view / top down view of the canoe? Without it, I’ll just be guessing based on the length of the seats/thwarts/ and what is listed as maximum width.

    Any help is greatly appreciated.
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2021
  2. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    I am not aware of any available plans for the Old Town Charles River or Ideal models. The list at includes a variety of similar canoes. Your best resource may be the Charles River model shown at but this is only 16 feet long. This canoe is at my house if you want more detailed measurements. The catalog specifications at may also help. There are two 17 foot long Ideal models listed at so you may be able to negotiate with one of them to provide you with detailed measurements in exchange for some valuable consideration. Good luck,

    Last edited: Sep 7, 2021
  3. OP
    Douglas Kestell

    Douglas Kestell Lignum Linter Fanaticus


    I am wonder if you know what the thickness of the rib tops should be? Mine are thinned down to nothing and I’m not sure if mine are just rotten.
    With the inwale only 1”, that doesn’t seem like a lot of meat for the rib to attach to.
    I would think the rib top would be at least 1/8” and the rabbit on the outwale would just have to be deeper.
    Thanks in advance for all of your help and insight.

  4. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    The double mahogany gunwale canoes like yours and other closed gunwale canoes have the rib tops tapered to a 'feather edge' which often require repairs and splicing during a restoration. See for some pictures. You can increase the thickness of the rib tops and rabbit on the outwale (or even convert it to open gunwales with no feathering of the rib tops) but this is not how it was originally built. Let me know if this doesn't answer your question.

  5. dtdcanoes

    dtdcanoes LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Doug....I have a CR - 17' all Mahogany , open gunnel, from 1917 that we can uncover for your measurements . If your are close to Rochester, N.Y. come by and help me get it out . I am assuming by gunnel you are referring to the inwale that is not extant ? Otherwise, if it is there you should should be able to study the areas where the rib where nailed and see all kinds of clues as to whether the tips were feathered eg. if some nails are there they would probably show how far they were driven in and reveal the thinning rib top. I have two boats restored that showed how nails could tell a lot even with the heads missing or only the shaft left at the wale surface that when removed showed nail length overall. So it goes...Have fun. Dave
  6. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    What Benson has described is how the double gunwale canoes were constructed. It seems illogical as Doug has pointed out. However, it is correct. The ribs taper to join the rail. If the canoe is properl cared for this holds up surprisingly well.
  7. OP
    Douglas Kestell

    Douglas Kestell Lignum Linter Fanaticus

  8. OP
    Douglas Kestell

    Douglas Kestell Lignum Linter Fanaticus

    Thank you for the information. Unfortunately I like in Wisconsin so stopping by isn’t an option.

    There are a few pieces of inwale to get a rough sheet line, but I hadn’t thought about using the nail holes in the ribs without inwale as a reference. That’s a great idea.

    Due to no inwales, the hull is rather misshapen, so figuring out the rib height I can translate into inwale height.

    I am thinking to level the hull level port to starboard and use what does remain of inwale to translate a shear line around the hull.

    I have 1 seat that is attached, one thwart that has a hole in one inwale, one deck, and the max width the center, I think I can reproduce the shape.

    What a great challenge.

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