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Mystery Canoe 2

Discussion in 'Research and History' started by Fitz, Feb 19, 2011.

  1. Dick Persson

    Dick Persson Canoe builder & restorer

    Dave and Andre,

    I believe it is original. The two Robertsons with torpedo stems I have in the shop at the moment both have the layered two-piece wales. Andre, the old Riverside model I got from you a couple of years ago I am sure was equipped the same way.
    As the wale actually have a rolling bevel along its length it is not surprising that a change was made to a layered wale. If your bevel is off you don’t have to replace the whole wale just the top piece.

    Dick Persson
    Buckhorn Canoe Company
    Buckhorn, Ontario
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2012
  2. Larry Meyer

    Larry Meyer Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    There's a Brodbeck hereabouts that has some of the most complex inwale rib joinery imaginable.

    I'm going from memory but I believe its closed gunnel. Rib ends are individually morticed into a rolling bevel inwale. As it has much tumble-home, top of inwale is narrower than bottom of inwale, so visible side of inwale appears vertical or near verticle. Invisible side of inwale is like 70 degree angle, but is also a rolling bevel. So two sides of the inwale are rolling bevels. I don't know how he milled the inwale to start with. As it has much tumblehome I don’t know how he pried it off the form.
  3. Dylan Schoelzel

    Dylan Schoelzel born in a canoe


    The shim you speak of is 100% original to your canoe. These are very common on Charles River long decked canoes. In fact I have had more canoes come through the shop with them than without.

    Under the decks they serve the purpose of bridging the gap between the deck beams and establishing the crown of the deck along the outer edge of the deck. They usually feather out toward the end of the deck as the crown diminishes.

    The shims also carry this crown or angle down the length of the rail. If you have ever seen a courting canoe with the cap rail like pieces (that are fastened to the top if the inner rails) angled upward toward the center of the canoe, chances are, there’s a shim under there.

    If the cap rails are parallel to the inner rails, then there is no need for this shim.

    Having built and restored courting canoes there is no doubt about it that the shim is way better arrangement than trying to introduce this angle in a thicker piece of rail stock. It’s quicker, cost effective, and accurate.

    I have pictures somewhere I’ll try to find and post.
  4. Andre Cloutier

    Andre Cloutier Firestarter. Wicked Firestarter.

    Thanks Dylan, I was hoping you would weigh in. I didnt doubt that they were original, but am not too familiar with other Charles River builders or their methods. It was intact, albeit pretty tough, so I have examples of how all the decking, coamings, and outwales join up. Once I stabilize and rebuild the wales, beams and stems then I will turn to the rib tips and repairs, then finally to planking it. Do you think it appears to be a Robertson, or perhaps another builder? It also had evidence of the clips for a canopy in the extra layers of paint that were on the coamings but they had been removed.
  5. Andre Cloutier

    Andre Cloutier Firestarter. Wicked Firestarter.

    Progress! (?)

    All the steel is out, and original seat hangers found. Wedges off and catalogued, ready to be stabilized and repaired. Next is 4 duplicate deckbeams, repair coaming backers and re-assemble upper structure and true it. Then on to rib tips and re-fastening, new inner stems and replanking. Then ring in 2012 and finish in the spring:rolleyes: Doubt we'll be paddling it at Paul Smiths...

    Attached Files:

  6. Dylan Schoelzel

    Dylan Schoelzel born in a canoe

    Boy, I usually have better luck down at the tracks than id-ing those Charles River canoes. But don’t tell my wife that I’m down there betting money that has been appropriated for shop improvements. She’ll tan my hide.

    In all seriousness, I would imagine Robertson. I have gone back and looked at all the pictures you posted. There is not a lot to go on but the stem profile, and the size and shape of the canoe look like his.

    I think Waltham used a similar stem profile but I’m not sure their model was as big or robust as Robertson’s. I have pictures of one similar to yours, though the decking arrangement is slightly different, but I am having a heck of a time with the pictures on my computer. The way I keep them organized got changed and I can’t really find anything at the moment. So bear with me as I grope this one out.

    Can you supply a picture of the garboards as they are attached to the bottom of the stem? The reason I ask is I have observed somewhat of a consistent pattern in the way Robertson let the garboards run along the bottom of the stem and then transition to the stem face. At least I think I have.
  7. Andre Cloutier

    Andre Cloutier Firestarter. Wicked Firestarter.

    As requested, garboards, forward stem profile and decks, if that helps. I imagine the thwarts vary even among the same builder, but I have the majority of one for a pattern. I guess there were no steel tacks availalbe or they'd have used those too!

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  8. dtdcanoes

    dtdcanoes LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Andre's challenge

    ANDRE, Isn't it a treat to have the likes of a Dick and Dylan on board to assist here. Wow, always something more to learn and someone who will help you do so. Keep at it, and wait until the gold get on there. Oh Boy !! Dave DeVivo
  9. Andre Cloutier

    Andre Cloutier Firestarter. Wicked Firestarter.

    You know Dave, if we're taking about gold leaf, silver leaf would look pretty sharp against the right shade of blue, dont you think?:cool:
    I've seen some very nice motorcycle tanks with that colour combo and they looked fantastic; my favourite colour for Norton Commandos was the blue with silver letters, like my 1970 was.
  10. dtdcanoes

    dtdcanoes LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Gold vs Silver

    Andre, I agree with you on the silver with a rich blue, but it can be a much cooler tone than the gold would give, and not historically correct.( OOPS, there I go ). I sold my 1950 Triumph 650 with the sprung hub. Boy, what a mistake, but it provided a lot of moon lit riding....sort of a prelude of things to come with the Boston boat fascination 40 years later.
    I'm going to check into silver leaf , now I 'm curious. If you are going to nickel plate the hardware, this may be very pretty, indeed. Dave D.
  11. Andre Cloutier

    Andre Cloutier Firestarter. Wicked Firestarter.

    Let the Healing begin.

    As the old saying goes, you can never have too many clamps. Clearly I don't, so i stopped there.:rolleyes:

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  12. OP

    Fitz Wooden Canoes are in the Blood


    Okay, you thread jacking, canoe jacking, auctioneer from the Great White North, start your own thread! ;)

    In all seriousness, this canoe needs a separate thread to document your great work, the expert input, and so we can find all these details in the future!


  13. Andre Cloutier

    Andre Cloutier Firestarter. Wicked Firestarter.

    Yes, this is the mother of all thread hi-jacks. Good thing I know nothing of forum etiquette. I blame Dave DeVivo entirely. Can i borrow some clamps?
  14. Dylan Schoelzel

    Dylan Schoelzel born in a canoe


    I am sure you saw the Robertson Robert Ross had at Keuka when you took delivery of your canoe. Two photos of it are below. The deck configuration is a little different than yours but the overall shape and size of the two have some resemblances.

    I did not exactly see the picture I was looking for of the stem/garboards so I will try to explain. I will probably end up talking myself into circles on this one So round and round we go.

    As you know the two opposing garboards are butted together along the centerline of the canoe and fastened along the bottom of the stem. As the garboards make their nearly 90 degree twist to the sides of the stem there is a transition in which the garboards leave the bottom of the stem and end up on the stem face. This is usually aided by a rolling bevel.

    As you can imagine the profile of the stem can dictate how or when this transition is achieved. A lot of builders either have no rolling bevel, they poodle faked it by running a continuous bevel down the stem that just stopped somewhere around the last fully bent rib (more or less) or they put a quick rather abrupt transition in their bevel that kind of works.

    Robertson and some of the other Charles builders seemed almost meticulous about this part of building. In the second picture above that you posted of the stem, you can notice the bevel on the stem is carried pretty far back, almost back or even past where the keel to outer stem joint is, at least that is what I see. This is typical of CR builders. If you can imagine how the garboard would run and transition along this bevel you might be able to envision that the bottom edge of the garboard, or the edge running along the centerline, would have to be finished off somehow.

    It’s been my experience that Robertson canoes would leave the plank edge full thickness and plane it off parallel to the bottom of the stem. He also seemed to cut his bevels fairly precisely. Other CR builders would thin the thickness of the plank edge. Does any of this make sense? It’s probably more than you ever wanted to read about stems, garboards, and bevels.

    Also the joint between keel and outer stem on your canoe, the simple bevel cut, was, I believe, the way Robertson did it.

    Just keep in mind that these are just observations and by no means a definitive answer to the way Robertson did things. I am sure more than one Robertson exists that blatantly defies all of this. Real helpful, eh?

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  15. Dylan Schoelzel

    Dylan Schoelzel born in a canoe

    Here are some pictures showing the shim. It’s interesting to note how the coming braces where fit into this canoe. They were done in manner, as other were other aspects of this canoe, that suggested this canoe was built by a smaller builder who wasn’t as commercialized as say Robertson. By all means it was a very well built canoe, just that you could tell the builder was not as versed in long deck construction as some others. Almost made the canoe better in weird way.

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    Last edited: Feb 26, 2011
  16. Dylan Schoelzel

    Dylan Schoelzel born in a canoe

    More pictures of the shim, another way the coming braces can be attached, and the planking/inner rail/stem joint at the deck which I believe you inquired about some time ago.

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  17. Andre Cloutier

    Andre Cloutier Firestarter. Wicked Firestarter.

    Perfect, thanks very much - thats the view i needed. I was unaware that the gunwales were inletted like the stem top, but it makes sense now. I also needed to see the gunwales on top of the stem like that; this area will need some careful attention. I seem to have elements of both those boats in the photo of Ross' stuff, as i have rounded stems like the white one but the decking is done like the black one, without the gunwale cap on top. I prefer the lines of the white one but the finish of the other.
    My coaming braces are also longer at the sides, and there is some inletting in the wales and shim to accomodate them, they're drinking cpes right now but I can post them if i havent already. They were as dry as driftwood.
    By the way, i saw one of your cruisers (i think) last time I was up at Swift in South River. I was going to pick up the last Keewaydin cruiser that Bob had there, but it looks a little to beat since I've got other projects lined up. That, and honestly I was afraid it was an Oromocto boat.
    If I could find a need for yet another boat I would go for a Clearwater, as far as canoes go i think it just looks "right".

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