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Chestnut- odd decks and ferrous nails?

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by Wrothgar, Jun 28, 2020.

  1. Wrothgar

    Wrothgar Curious about Wooden Canoes


    Hi, this is my first post. I found this chestnut on garbage day. I took it home for the thrill of portaging in the city. Now I'm restoring it to paddle around the mouth of 16 Mile Creek in Oakville, Ontario, with my daughter....and possible for solo trips or as a second canoe on a trip. There is a canoe club there that is really good with kids.

    Anyway: is this deck the result of a previous repair? The inwales don't reach the end?

    The stems are white oak, front one might need rebuilding. About half the fasteners at the stems are steel....all but one fastener for the ribs were steel. All tacks are brass. Gunwales screws are bronze. Keel is while oak. Undersides of thwart and seats were left unfinished.

    Also: any hints on how to get planks off without splitting them? The iron nails are hard to get to...but I guess I'd better get them all.

    IMG_20200606_180035.jpg IMG_20200606_175931.jpg
     
  2. OP
    OP
    Wrothgar

    Wrothgar Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Oh, it's also about 15' (a few inches shorter than) and 36" wide.
     
  3. mccloud

    mccloud "Tiger Rag" back on the tidal Potomac

    Your canoe appears to be in good shape, and certainly restoreable and usable. That style of deck joinery is more typical of Huron canoes I have seen, and there is nothing wrong with it when properly done, but I suspect it was done during an earlier restoration by cutting off rotten inwale tips, then filling that space with a new oak deck ( and a reproduction Chestnut decal). If the canoe is as old as WW2, a lot of steel nails were used, and if rusted into place, difficult to remove. Don't remove any more than necessary, as a lot of collateral damage to wood will occur. I worked on one where I touched a soldering iron to the steel nail head to create a small burn around the nail, which allowed it to come out, but I'm not saying this is a great idea. Keep us informed about your progress, and we like photos. TM..
     
  4. Dave Osborn

    Dave Osborn LIFE MEMBER

    I have a Peterborough River Model (Prospector) with a deck like that. It was a previous repair.
    Not sure what to say about steel fasteners in a Chestnut. Word on the street says that steel was used during WW2 because brass was going to the war effort. Old Town used steel, albeit galvanized, to fasten the ribs to the inwales, until they went to the long @#$&## staples. They are generally no problem. Unplated steel screws are a problem normally. Hard to remove, but should be replaced with brass or bronze IMHO.
    I’m working on a 1945 Old Town with steel clinch tacks. They are hard to remove as well. They don’t “unclinch” when you pull them out, so they normally pull a good size chunk of plank and rib with them. For the most part, I leave them if possible. if there are steel tacks and planking is to be replaced, I will break up the planking, leaving the tack stand proud.
    Then use an angle grinder with a 36 grit wheel to grind the tack flush with the rib, leaving the clinched portion buried in the rib.
     
  5. OP
    OP
    Wrothgar

    Wrothgar Curious about Wooden Canoes

    I might leave the steel in the stem, but replace all the rib fasteners. I was going to steam bend a front stem, but could only find kiln dried white oak. Air dried ash was only available as 22 foot boards....yikes. I will replace white cedar planks with red cedar....just because I have some clear grained cedar rescued from thrown out fence posts which are 2.5" x 5.5 "....and I can't find white cedar that easily. A lot of the planks have knots....some planks have really nice grain. I might have to rebuild the decks as is....tips are a bit black. Stem to deck joinery is hard to make out.
     
  6. OP
    OP
    Wrothgar

    Wrothgar Curious about Wooden Canoes

    So I may laminate a front stem....
     
  7. Pook

    Pook Chestnut Canoe fan

    Wrothgar,

    Welcome to the WCHA! And this forum.
    You'll find an awful lot of knowledgeable and helpful folks here, as you've already seen.

    If you'd like to make your repairs using ash and white cedar planking, there are a couple of sources pretty close at hand.
    Noahs just off Kipling Avenue in TO has lots of builder/repair supplies. Even closer to you is Peter Code at Tendercraft Boat Shop in Mississauga. He has ready cut planking and gunwales available.

    Good luck and I look forward to seeing another Chestnut resurrected and paddled again! Can never have too many Chestnuts!

    Bruce Lac La Biche resized.jpg
     
    Andy Hutyera likes this.
  8. OP
    OP
    Wrothgar

    Wrothgar Curious about Wooden Canoes

    I know Noah's....last I checked tendercraft is closed.
     
  9. OP
    OP
    Wrothgar

    Wrothgar Curious about Wooden Canoes

    I look the rope in the gunwale...do you have a photo of how that works?
     
  10. Pook

    Pook Chestnut Canoe fan

    IMG_1907.jpg IMG_1908.jpg Wrothgar,

    Are you saying Tendercraft is "closed" closed? Peter always had an unusual schedule, but calling him and making an appointment worked in the past. Its been about a year and a half since I spoke with Peter, however...

    I trip with all my canoes and needed some way to securely attach water bottle, camera, drybag, etc. Our large Voyageur canoes all had attachment points for individual paddlers and I thought something similar would be useful. All I did was feed some thin cord in and out of the gunwales between rib tops, secured at each end by a knot. I do a section at the centre thwart and two other sections at bow and stern seats. With knots its easy enough to adjust till you get it exactly right- ie close enough to reach but not in your way when paddling.

    Bruce
     
  11. OP
    OP
    Wrothgar

    Wrothgar Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Cool, thanks. I emailed him about 2 weeks ago....he may be just closed for covid.
     
  12. OP
    OP
    Wrothgar

    Wrothgar Curious about Wooden Canoes

    What's the best way to clean brass stem bands for reuse?
    IMG_20200712_100812.jpg IMG_20200712_100725.jpg IMG_20200712_100725.jpg
     
  13. Andre Cloutier

    Andre Cloutier Firestarter. Wicked Firestarter.

    scrape off the crud, paint remover if necessary, and then autosol and fine steel wool will shine them right up. Then you will get a nice overall patina from there on. Enjoy the steel, its a chestnut hallmark. Looks like a bobs or a later, widened chum. try to get some white cedar, its easier to work and the red will stand out considerably. looks like someone previously did the arrowhead decks instead of a gunwale splice, but if they are solid just leave them.
     
  14. OP
    OP
    Wrothgar

    Wrothgar Curious about Wooden Canoes

    The ends of the decks are crumbling (well the front is)....I had some butternut from a table I bought at a garage sale that I used to make new decks....not original species but it is light and the colour is great. If I fail at bending red cedar ribs I will look for white cedar...I'm trying to not kill any more tress than I have to. I tend to collect too much wood as it is, and the wife is happier when I use it up.

    The iron nails are only in the stem and the ribs.
     
  15. Andre Cloutier

    Andre Cloutier Firestarter. Wicked Firestarter.

    thought it was planks. dont try to make ribs from red
     
  16. OP
    OP
    Wrothgar

    Wrothgar Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Guess I will look for white cedar. Does it have to be air dried?
     
  17. Andre Cloutier

    Andre Cloutier Firestarter. Wicked Firestarter.

    likely wont find kiln dried. where are located? pm me if you like
     
  18. OP
    OP
    Wrothgar

    Wrothgar Curious about Wooden Canoes

    I'm in Oakville....Ontario. I might be able to get air dried 8x8 but with knots. Exotic woods is close....5$ bdf....Noah's marine is 8$ bdf and likely have more clear grain.
     
  19. mmmalmberg

    mmmalmberg LOVES Wooden Canoes

    FWIW I used a pair of putty knives with a screwdriver in between to pry planks off without cracking the wood. This worked also very well separating rib ends from the inwales where steel nails were used. http://forums.wcha.org/index.php?attachments/img_7011-jpg.44313/

    The screwdriver goes right up to the nail and then you can pry. The putty knife blades spread that force across the grain protecting the wood...
     
  20. Craig Johnson

    Craig Johnson LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Andre. What is autosol ?
     

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