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United Molded Shapes

Discussion in 'Traditional All-Wood Construction' started by crabyx78, Jan 22, 2011.

  1. crabyx78

    crabyx78 New Member

    Trying to find out about a canoe i have.
    About 18 ft long and on the bow is
    Algonguin,United Molded Shapes Inc,Alma Mich.
    It's in great shape and i'd like to use it unless it's more of antigue value.
    Any help or advice would be appreciated.:confused:
  2. Kathryn Klos

    Kathryn Klos squirrel whisperer

    I haven't heard of this canoe, but the title ("Molded Shapes") suggests it may be a molded plywood canoe. Pictures would help us figure out what you have and when it might have been built.

    Most of us believe canoes are meant to be used, whether they were built last week or in the last century... so, go ahead and have fun in your find.

  3. OP

    crabyx78 New Member

    Kathryn,i agree on using what you have.Canoes can be fun.
    I'll post some pics,would like to know some history of this one.
  4. OP

    crabyx78 New Member

  5. Kathryn Klos

    Kathryn Klos squirrel whisperer

    Yes, yours is a cold-molded plywood canoe, similar to those built by companies like Haskell (a Michigan company) and Plycraft. Several of the companies that were building wood-canvas canoes added canoes like this to their catalogs, including Old Town and Penn Yan. The era, as I recall, is the '30s to the '50s or so--- someone else may have more specific information. I've included links to three older discussions of molded plywood canoes, but couldn't find anything on United Molded Shapes.

    Here is a quote from the Wikipedia: "Cold-Molding is a composite method of wooden boat building that uses many different layers of thin wood, called veneers, oriented in all different directions, resulting in a strong monoque structure, similar to a fibreglass hull. Usually composed of a base layer of strip planking followed then by multiple veneers, cold-molding is becoming popular in very large, wooden superyachts."

    The first link includes an image from an Old Town catalog showing the construction of their molded canoe--- possibly the same method used in constructing yours.

    Your canoe appears to be in great shape-- congratulations.

  6. OP

    crabyx78 New Member

    Thanks Kathryn for the reply.
    A while back while researching this i found a mention of United Molded Shapes as a side note to an article that said they built some of the first Chris Craft hulls
    and went out of business due to death or maybe fire.
    One day may stumble across something.
    Mean while i'm waiting on warmer weather.
  7. Kathryn Klos

    Kathryn Klos squirrel whisperer

    Waiting for warmer weather--- ahhhh yes! A large number of folks are in that particular boat along with you!
  8. thompsonboatboy

    thompsonboatboy LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Wonder if this may have anything to do with U.S. Molded Shapes, Inc. of Grand Rapids, Michigan???? They made molded veneer hulls and sold the blank hulls to boat builders who finished them off. It was a part if U.S. Plywood to begin with but was purchased by Wagemaker Company in the late 1940s or early 1950s.

    They made hulls for firms such as Wagemaker, Delta Boats and MiloCraft of Chicago, and many others.

    There is some history and brochures at in the "Classic Library" section. Wagemaker started another subsidiary called Cadillac Boat & Motor Co. in 1953. I wrote an article about them for the "Channel Marker" magazine in late 2010. There is mention is U.S. Molded Shapes.

  9. map77

    map77 New Member

    They are quite unique indeed. On the other hand calling something superyacht doesnt automaticaly means that it is awesome. Some superyacht I have seen were quite a lemons. :D Still in this case, these canoes are awesome.

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