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wood canvas advice

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by calman, Jul 28, 2008.

  1. calman

    calman Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Hi there,

    I'm thinking of buying this cedar canvas canoe. Additional specs from the seller say that it is 16', width is 36" with a depth of 13" and has a keel.

    I'm wanting to get more of a classic boat to do some flatwater tripping on and I'll often be doing it solo. I currently have a paluski fastwater for the family and when I try and solo it I find the wind really catches it. The above boat is definately not as deep so I'm hoping that it won't catch the wind as much. I like to heel the boat over when I solo and I'm wondering if the keel on the bottom will interfere with the advantages heeling gives.

    Any suggestions.
  2. Larry Meyer

    Larry Meyer Wooden Canoes are in the Blood


    Its pretty much agreed that all Peterborough wood-canvas canoes were actually made by Chestnut (“Peternut”). Dimensions you give line up with a wide version of the Pal/Deer (36 vs. 34 inches). The yoke is a dead ringer for the optional yoke detailed in old Chestnut catalogues.

    As for the keel, I don’t like them as a rule. At least marginally they retard maneuverability when paddling solo, heeled over. However, if your needs are flatwater tripping, the keel shouldn’t be a deal killer. Flatwater tripping (with a load) you’re not going to get that far heeled over.

    Construction quality of this canoe looks great. Chestnut production quality slid steeply down in the late 60s. Looks like it ready to go.
  3. OP

    calman Curious about Wooden Canoes


    thanks for the replay. I have heard really good things about the pal design being not too bad for soloing. It looks like there are some scratches from the side view picture and I'm just wondering what is involved in maintenance of minor scratches and how much (scratches) is too much? I mean.. a canoe is going to get scratched on the bottom no matter how careful you are.
  4. Larry Meyer

    Larry Meyer Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    While he’s best known for favoring the prospector, Bill Mason’s first w-c canoe was a Deer, according to Ken Solway, and it’s in a lot of his films. The Pal/Deer form was widened in the 50s, according to Ken Solway.

    Yeah, its gonna get scratches. I shellacked the bottom of my prospector, so I don’t deal with paint scratches there. Others may chime in on that problem.

    It’s a good price on a good canoe. Any cracked ribs or canvas problems? If not, get the hull wet asap.
  5. OP

    calman Curious about Wooden Canoes


    The seller says that there is 1957 stamped on the front stem. Would that be a date or a piece of a serial number?
  6. Larry Meyer

    Larry Meyer Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    It’s pretty much agreed that Chestnut/Peterborough never developed a dating system based on numbers stamped on stems, (unlike Old Town). (Usually a “17” on a Chestnut stem means is a 17-footer.)

    However, 1957 is a pretty good guess as the build date of the canoe, based on the construction quality evident from the photos. The “Peterborough” on the side may also help date, however. Peterborough gained control of Chestnut in 1954, but then itself folded in 1962. Chestnut struggled on for about 15 years or so.
  7. OP

    calman Curious about Wooden Canoes

    small split in one rib... WOW!

    I just went and had a look at the canoe and it is really nice. It seems to be all original ribbing and planking with one rib that is damaged slightly. It apparently was damaged when it was canvased 6 years ago and they decided to not replace it because it really wasn't that bad and they didn't want to have one rib out of place to the rest of all the originals. They did however replace the gunnels with ash and seats, thwarts and decks. The canvas has one minor scrape at the stern right before it start turning up and is trimed with a peice of metal (don't know what these peices are called). I'm not really sure if it is the canvas that is scratched or just the paint. The rest of the scratches all seem realy minor and obviously just paint. Anyway, I paddled it with my daughter and wow!!! This is my first time in a wood canvas boat and I have to say what an experience. It started with all of the looks that we recieved unloading this beauty fromt he car and bringing it down to the beach. The seller thinks that the boat weighs about 80lbs however it feels lighter than my fastwater paluski which is polyethylene. It is supposed to wiegh 75lbs.

    As far as the keel goes, I was surprised by the width of it. It seemed to be about 3/4 in depth and 2 inches wide. This is the first time i have paddled a boat with a keel and I was surprised at how it still handled. I couldnt' heel it over too much because my daughter was in the front however even not heeled over, I was able to, without too much dificulty turning the bow into the wind. This is my main concern for solo paddling.

    Now.. all i have to do is convince my wife to let me spend the 1300 on this beauty. Wish me luck.

  8. Larry Meyer

    Larry Meyer Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    Stemband. Go to it. You done your homework. A recent recanvas and new gunnels. The decks did look pretty fancy: better than OE. A very fair price for a great 50-year-old canoe.
  9. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    I believe you've got what's called a Shoe Keel on it. With the lower profile, it impedes turning much less than a regular keel; it's supposed to be better for moving water.

    Nice find!
  10. OP

    calman Curious about Wooden Canoes

    chestnut vs. pal

    So let me get this straight. After much research (well as much as one can do in a few days before making a decent purchase) it would appear that this canoe is most likely a chestnut pal even though it has a Peterborough name on the side. There are no Peterborough models with the 16' 36" 12-13" measurements and they just happen to fit the chestnut pal perfectly. I think I remember reading somewhere that chestnut often did this after the 3 companies merged.

  11. Larry Meyer

    Larry Meyer Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    It’s all in Ken Solway’s book, the Story of the Chestnut Canoe. From 1923, Chestnut and Peterborough basically had cut a deal where the w-c canoes were built by Chestnut on Chestnut forms. This was not popularly known until his book came out in 1997. “The Peterborough and the Chestnut canoe companies perpetrated one of the greatest shell games in Canadian business. Only at the end of the Fredericton assembly line did a wood-and canvas canoe receive a brand name.”

    Ergo, if it’s a Peterborough and its wood canvas, look at the Chestnut canoe models.
  12. Canerodz

    Canerodz Trout Bum

    Dan Miller calls them "Peter-nuts" a term that cracks me up every time I hear it.
  13. davelanthier

    davelanthier Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    To the best of my knowledge Peterborough never had side decals on any of their canoes. They were used on some of their motor boats though. Chestnut did use side decals on their canoes in the later years only. Usually you can decipher whether it is a Chestnut or a Peterborough by the serial number since they were often the same canoe.
  14. OP

    calman Curious about Wooden Canoes


    I'm assuming that the Peterborough decal would have been added after the canvasing was done about 6 years ago. I guess in actual fact, we may be dealing with a chestnut that someone decided to put a Peterborough decal on after a recanvasing job. After getting the final ok from the misses, I'm hopefully going to be picking this canoe up today so I'll be able to take more precise measurements when i get it home.

    I can't WAIT!!!
  15. Dick Persson

    Dick Persson Canoe builder & restorer

    Not much substance to go on! Apparently the canoe has been refurbished and many of its parts been replaced (canvas, gunnels, decks, thwarts, and keel).

    So before we ascribe this canoe to Peterborough or Chestnut lets ask a couple of important questions!
    - Is there a complete serial/model number stamped into the inner stem and what is it?
    - What is the size of the ribs and what is the spacing?
    - What is the outside width of the canoe; not including the outside gunnels?
    - What is the centre depth; top of gunnels to outside hull bottom not including the keel?
    - Are the seats, visible in the sales advertisement, the original seats? (To me they seem to be rawhide seats hung to the gunnels with a big spacer bar. Peterborough or Chestnut never used rawhide seats to my knowledge.)
    - Did the original canvas have a decal on the side? (The only “proper” Peterborough canoes that to my knowledge had a side decal were of the year 1961. After the bankruptcy of the Peterborough Canoe Company, Chestnut sold canoes with “Peterborough” side decals in1962 and 1963. After 1963 the company which purchased the trade name “Peterborough Canoe Co” sold canoes for a few years marked Peterborough, but those were manufactured by various small Quebec builders and of low quality.)

    Dick Persson
    Headwater Wooden Boat Shop
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2008
  16. OP

    calman Curious about Wooden Canoes

    The canoe is at it's new home!

    Ok... Thanks so much to all for helping me out on this. I brought the canoe home today and unfortunately it is pouring rain. I fully plan on finding out as much as possible about this canoe and I'm really thankful for all of your help. I'll definately get measurements in the next couple of days and I can't wait to try and unravel this puzzle. I did confirm that the side decal was just chosen by the new owner and that there wasn't a decal on the side on the original finish.
  17. OP

    calman Curious about Wooden Canoes

    some facts now that the boat is home

    Ok.. It has stopped raining and I could finally get out and take some measurements for myself.

    The width of the boat not including the outside gunnels - 34"
    The ribs are 1 1/2" and the spacing is 1 1/4".
    The depth of the boat from inside of planking to the top of the gunnel - 12" so I would imagine that the planking and the canvas would add a bit onto that.
    The only markings on the boat are on the bow stem which is "1957"
    I do not believe that there were any decals on the canvas before the recanvas was done.

    Everything else has been changed so the seats, gunnels, decks and thwarts are not orginal so they can't be used to identify.

    The measurements do seem to match the Peterborough Champlain or Champlain Cruiser looking at Dragonfly's site however the date/number on the inside stem seem to beinconsistant with these models.

    Any thoughts?
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2008
  18. Dick Persson

    Dick Persson Canoe builder & restorer

    Congratulations Calman on your purchase and welcome to WCHA.
    With a canoe rebuilt to the degree of yours it’s not easy to determine either maker or model. Detail pictures and measurements sometime helps.
    Again, looking over the pictures that were posted in the advertisement, your canoe’s shape reminds me of the early Faber Ranger models.

    Peterborough Champlain’s ribs are 5/16” x 1 ½” and spaced 2” apart. If a Champlain your canoe should also have a model number followed by a serial number stamped into the inner stem or to a metal-tag. The Champlain’s had the following model numbers; before 1939 model # 26P or 26C, and after 1939 model #1434, or 1435 or 1492. The numbers 26 C, 1435 and 1492, being the Champlain model with low ends.

    Dick Persson
    Headwater Wooden Boat Shop
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2008
  19. OP

    calman Curious about Wooden Canoes

    A weekend of paddling

    Well, I wasted no time getting this beauty in the water and have to say, I wasn't thinking of measurements too much during an amazing sunset paddle on the weekend. They say a picture is worth a thousand words so I thought I would share some.

    Attached Files:

  20. Larry Meyer

    Larry Meyer Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    Yeah, that's the ticket. Can't put a tape measure on a being part of a sunset like that.

    Glad you're happy with it, whatever it is.

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