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Rob Roy Canoe

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by Richard Nissen, Aug 8, 2021.


Canvas canoe made in Canada?

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  1. Richard Nissen

    Richard Nissen New Member

    I have inherited a Rob Roy type canoe and live in the UK


    I think that it was built is about 1872 and was covered in Canvas, which I am about to replace
    I have a feeling that it was built in Canada. Do any of you think that it was? upload_2021-8-8_19-6-35.jpeg
  2. Rob Stevens

    Rob Stevens Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    Very interesting.
    Doesn't look like any Canadian canoe I have ever seen.
    Can you identify the wood used in the stem, deck and planking?
    What are the ribs made of, and what dimensions?
    And what sort of fasteners?
  3. Blott

    Blott LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Hi. Richard.

    My suspicion is that it may be a Turks boat. Graham Mackereth has a couple. This is one of them
    286B0B51-D250-40B0-B6CF-DD46040400C9.jpeg BDBB75E3-94AC-4175-93E7-00964D3E6F98.jpeg

    Hope this helps.

  4. Michael Grace

    Michael Grace Lifetime Member

    That's a very interesting canoe, Richard. Doesn't look like anything I'm aware of from any professional Canadian builder.

    Nick - what makes you think the canoe is from Turk? I'm certainly no specialist on British builders, but if "Marjorie" is a Turk, I don't see the similarity. Richard's canoe and Marjorie appear to be completely different: the rake of the stem, the shape of the stem above the deck, the depth of the stem, the number of hull planks, the fact that one has wooden panel decks while the other would be canvassed, shape of cockpit, knees in the cockpit of one but not the other... To my novice eye, there just don't seem to be any obvious similarities.

    In any case, Marjorie is gorgeous and I believe Richard's canoe will be too when restored.

    We need to see more of these European boats here on the forums and in the pages of the journal (spoiler alert - Nick has a beautiful story coming out in the upcoming issue of the Wooden Canoe Journal!).

  5. Blott

    Blott LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Turks were a boatyard and manufacturer in the late 19th and early 20th Century based in Kingston upon Thames. ( They are still around) Rob Roy’s came in variations and Macgregor had several refining and redesigning for each adventure which he undertook. Manufacturers then as they do now would have made variations.
    Craft of this era on the Thames can be attributed to builders and yards along the river. Examples are Turks at Kingston and Salters at Oxford.

    My suspicion is that it is likely to be a Thames boat if that is where it was found but imports from Europe cannot be ruled out ( the French pop up everywhere) and this can get Richard started on his trail of investigation to confirm or deny. If it had a brass plaque on saying “Turks” or “Salters” that would be an easy result. A multi planked deck and the non lapstrake finish to the hull suggests as Richard say, points to a canvas covering.
    The detective work is part of the fun of any restoration.

  6. OP
    Richard Nissen

    Richard Nissen New Member

    I cannot give all the answers, the boat seems to be made of some sort of Soft wood. The deck is of cedar as John Macgregor (whose canoes were all called Rob Roy) specified. a lot of the structural members are of Elm including all the deck supporting ribs.

    I have replaced the broken hull ribs with Steamed Ash (perhaps the originals were too). Everything including the hull is held together with brass screws (no rivets!)

    It is quite clear that the hull was covered in painted canvas (as per Canadian practice) as was the deck. I have had to take off the original 2" deep keel to get to the hull in order to re-canvas her which his my next priority

    I have found a picture of a similar boat from France. This picture shows the stowage compartment behind the cockpit as mine is.

    This really helpful string makes me wonder whether this was a British or French made boat, which copies Canadian practice of the period

    Macgregor describes the mast thwart of a mast of 1 3/4" but the hole in the deck which you can see in the picture is about 2" in diameter and Macgregor suggests that this thwart was below the deck ribs in order to accomadate a brass mast collar. This makes sense but there are no holes (for screws) to attach the collar and the deck had a turned bung to close off the deck mast hole.

    My next worry is the stowage comaprtment behind the cockpit. There seem to me no holes here too. I should have expected something to hold the lid on in the event of of a capsize.

    I wonder if the craft was never sailed only paddled but it seems as if it were designed to be sailed. Any ideas on the sail (balanced Lug) and size. Macgregor only had a 15 sf ft sail

    Thanks for all your replies thus far


    Attached Files:

  7. Blott

    Blott LOVES Wooden Canoes


    You could contact Colin Henwood. He used to be Henwood & Dean boat builders but has now set up on his own. He was involved with the restoration of some Macgregor canoes which were found in Aberdeen so may be able to help with ID

    Here is a link

    Here is a link to what was found Scroll down for the article .

    Keep us posted. There will be another Thames meet at Lower Shiplake in the autumn so get your skates on !

  8. OP
    Richard Nissen

    Richard Nissen New Member


    Thanks for your reply
    Colin Henwood is already helping me.
    I live at Bourne End near Marlow on the Thames

    I am sure I shall not have the boat finished this year.
    I now wonder if the paddler say in th middle of the cockpit not as I had supposed at the end
    The canoe is 12' 6" long and 28.5" wide


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