1929 Charles River Restoration Help

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by cobrayns, Dec 5, 2013.

  1. cobrayns

    cobrayns New Member

    I'm looking for some direction on a new project.

    I purchased my 2nd Old Town canoe about a year ago. My first was a 1964 18' Guide that just needed stripped, varnished, and repainted.

    My new Old Town canoe is a 1929 17' Charles River. This one needs a "Little" more work.

    I started by stripping the fiberglass off the outside of the canoe. Based on what I see now I'm going to have to replace 10 ribs, several outside deck boards, and both outside gunwales. The one inside stem is slightly twisted and the outside stems and inner gunwales will need some work.

    My question is where should I start? Should I start with the rib replacement, the outside deck boards, or the twisted inside stem?
     
  2. mccloud

    mccloud Wooden Canoe Maniac

    If you've got the fiberglass off, you have already completed the most miserable part of the job. The next task is rib replacement. Don't remove more than 2 cracked ribs at a time. Cut, shape, steam, bend and install two new ones, then move on to the next pair. Replacement of planking comes after the ribs are good. I'm having trouble imagining a twisted stem. Would it show on a photo? Tom McCloud
     
  3. JClearwater

    JClearwater Wooden Canoe Maniac

    Cobrayns,

    If you post a few pictures I'm sure several people here can help you assess your next steps. You might also check into the local chapters near you. The Susquehanna Chapter is in your area and the Chesapeake Chapter as well. The members local to you may be able to give you some pointers. Good luck with your project.

    Jim
     
  4. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    The attached photo shows one example of a stem that has twisted at the bottom. I have also occasionally sighted the length of a upright canoe and seen the tops of the stems twist in various directions. This is clearly an area where pictures help.

    Benson
     

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  5. kayamedic

    kayamedic Kim Gass

    IIRC at Assembly a few years ago James Raffan of the Canadian Canoe Museum presented the lofted lines of Bill Mason's Prospector. You could see that the bow was twisted.
     
  6. OP
    cobrayns

    cobrayns New Member

    Thanks for the advice. My stem looks very similar to the picture in Benson's post. I'll try and get some pictures and post them.
     
  7. mccloud

    mccloud Wooden Canoe Maniac

    Benson, This is an ugly looking stem, unlike any I've seen. Is it even possible to straighten one like this? Or is replacement the only solution? Tom McCloud
     
  8. OP
    cobrayns

    cobrayns New Member

    Here are 2 pictures I took today.
     

    Attached Files:

  9. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    I suspect that twisted stems can't easily be straightened so replacement is likely to be the only solution. However, they may not pose a structural problem and could just be an aesthetic concern. The one in my picture is from a canoe that is 106 years old so it has probably been that way for a long time. Others with more restoration experience may be able to offer additional comments.

    Benson
     
  10. Treewater

    Treewater Wooden Canoe Maniac

    I'm going to try and straighten a twisted canoe. Here is the boat, a UFO that I think is Canadian. that far saw horse has a 1 5/8 inch gap on the left side.
    Any ideas how to fix?
     

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  11. MGC

    MGC Paddlephile

    I've had worse....you have a few options that you can try...the most obvious is to replace the entire stem.
    If the majority of the stem is good and if the twist is only at the top the easier repair is to strip back the planking and splice in a section of stem from where the twist starts. You'll be able to pull the stem to center to a certain extent when you put the decks back in and replank. Try to make the splice as long you can get away with but don't get too crazy with it...once the stem is locked in again it's not going to move much.
    It's also possible (I've done this on a very twisted elm stem) to build up the side of the stem where it dips away and the square it all back up by reshaping it right on the canoe... the point I'm trying to make is that there are many ways that you can attack this depending upon how much time and effort you want to invest and also depending upon the actual condition of the stem.
    I think your next step will help you make up your mind about what to do..time to start pulling some planking to see what you are dealing with.
    I'll be interested to see how you go about this.
     
  12. Treewater

    Treewater Wooden Canoe Maniac

    Thanks, while I said the stems are twisted it is actually the whole frame. Yes, I made up my mind. I built a jig to hold the ends at the first rib from the end. That was the longest part, cutting the four pieces of scrap lumber to fit. Once the ends were gripped I took the boat outside and fastened it to a plank and leveled the one end and fastened well.
    Now going to the opposite end I twisted, carefully, and actually took it past "center" or past level. Fasten that in place and now I wet the whole canoe down. It is in the sun. I will keep soaking it and letting it dry for a few days. We'll see.
     

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  13. MGC

    MGC Paddlephile

    Hmmm... that seems pretty ambitious. It will be interesting to find out what happens.
     
  14. Treewater

    Treewater Wooden Canoe Maniac

    Worked great. Less than 24 hours in the stocks. I kept is plenty wet, even poured hot water on it. Took the stocks off an hour ago. It stayed in position, did not spring back.
    I carried it in the shop. fastened it to the saw horses with clamps, tweaked the level getting it perfect. Now to let it dry and see what happens. Bottom line is, wet wood bends. Question is how it will dry.
     

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