Help support the WCHA Forums by making a tax-deductible donation!

Unidentified canoe, new project

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by Blackfly, Mar 17, 2019.

  1. Blackfly

    Blackfly Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Hello Members. I am brand spankin'new to the forum. I recently purchased a project from a gentleman, who purchased this project from another gentleman several years ago. So I am the third person to have this canoe in its current condition. The first person had taken the canoe to a boat building school on the Maine coast as part of a class, in order IMG_5751.jpg IMG_5754.jpg IMG_5755.jpg IMG_5756.jpg IMG_5752.jpg IMG_5759.jpg IMG_5765.jpg IMG_5766.jpg IMG_5758.jpg IMG_5762.jpg to work on it. Some of the ribs have been replaced, a couple planks, decks and both stems. No serial number that I can find. I was told it was an Old Town Canoe. It has diamond headed bolts for the seats. Decks have replaced and are heart shaped. I was told they also are the orginal design. It is 20' long and light as a feather. I was hoping someone could identify make and model and which would help with the restoration. I am assuming the planking is cedar? Thank you.
     
  2. OP
    OP
    Blackfly

    Blackfly Curious about Wooden Canoes

    IMG_5761.jpg IMG_5760.jpg IMG_5757.jpg IMG_5768.jpg IMG_5768.jpg IMG_5764.jpg A couple other photos. IMG_5761.jpg IMG_5760.jpg IMG_5757.jpg IMG_5768.jpg IMG_5764.jpg
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2019
  3. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    It's nice to see some more/better pictures of that boat. It did not look like an Old Town even though it was listed as one. The planking pattern looked odd and more Gerrish like. I had been thinking White but there are some things about it that made me question that as well. The lack of taper in the ribs and the half ribs are the clues here since the decks are not original. Now that we can see how much work has been done it makes sense that the ID did not jump out.
     
  4. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    It clearly isn't an Old Town. My guess would be a White from before the 1940s, one of the smaller builders, or a home made canoe. There are a huge variety of options as the list at http://wcha.org/catalogs/maine-list.htm indicates. Good luck with the project,

    Benson
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2019
  5. Dave Wermuth

    Dave Wermuth Who hid my paddle?

    I also thought White, fwiw.
     
  6. OP
    OP
    Blackfly

    Blackfly Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Any other information that I could add that would help with identification, like dimensions? Were the diamond head bolts common to several different builders? The seats also look very utilitarian. I am attempting to get in contact with the owner that did the new work ( now 10 yrs old now) seen in the pics. I would like to verify if the decks are the original design and if any decals were on the canoe. Thanks to all that have replied.
     
  7. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    Many canoes were repaired with diamond headed bolts and the mixture of bolt styles on this canoe indicates that it has probably had several repairs. The utilitarian seats with slats were also common to White canoes as shown in the catalog page below from the 1940s. Good luck,

    Benson


    page-04.jpg
     
  8. OP
    OP
    Blackfly

    Blackfly Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Thank you for sharing the information. Great picture with the add. I do not think I will be standing in the stern tackling any rapids no matter how " dependable " the boat is.
     
  9. Fitz

    Fitz Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    I was gonna say White too, but you might check and see if the original planking edges are beveled. White did bevel the planking and it usually is very tight even on an old dried out canoe. The planks in this canoe don't seem to be beveled. The shapes of the thwart and half ribs don't shout "White" at me either. The stem profile and view of the canoe in front of the barn kinda looks Canadian, but half ribs aren't all that common north of the border. The seat could be a poor replacements. The planking pattern may help ID it.

    My $0.02. Big boat!

    Fitz
     
  10. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    At first blush it does look like a White but as you note, the planking would be lapped and it is clearly not. Half ribs are a Maine thing and these were skillfully made and installed. The hull has the lines of a classic Maine 20 footer....there were quite a few builders at one time...this could be from a number of different sources.
    I previously suggested that the planking appeared similar to that found on Gerrish canoes but after going back and looking at the way mine is planked, it not that. The gore pattern here is very different and far simpler and the planking is narrower. That said, mine is a very old canoe. Perhaps the way the Gerrish was built changed after Walton started building them? Could this be a Costigan Gerrish from the 20's or 30's? Without original decks and with so much tweaking done it's going to be hard to pin it down exactly.
     
  11. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    The planking pattern shown below is from a White with a tag if that helps.

    Benson



    Planking-White-16-48-920.jpg
     
  12. OP
    OP
    Blackfly

    Blackfly Curious about Wooden Canoes

    The planking is square edged and not beveled if that helps. The planking pattern on my canoe is similar to the pic above. The canoe in the picture above has a rudimentary keel and mine does not. :D
     
  13. mccloud

    mccloud "Tiger Rag" back on the tidal Potomac

    The canoe in the photo that Benson posted is one I restored, a White from 1948 which has the serial number stamped into the inside oak stems, the brass tag says White (not EM) and the planking is beveled. It may have originally been a 'Boy Scout' canoe, which did have a small keel, but no seats. The original brass bolts holding in the 3 original ash thwarts are like #12 stove bolts, round head. With so many 'tweaks' already done on your canoe, it's going to be a challenge, but for sure keep us informed of what you learn! TM..
     
  14. OP
    OP
    Blackfly

    Blackfly Curious about Wooden Canoes

    I was poking fun of the 2x4 as a keel held on with rope. I asked the gentleman that I bought the canoe from permission to talk to the previous owner to get a bit more history. I will post what I find out. Right now it is too cold in the barn to strip the canoe so I have started the process of finding tools like a clinching iron, tack puller, and plank gauge. I next need to source cedar for a few more planks to be replaced. I will need clinching nails for the planks. I figure I could also start trying to figure out supplies to steam the mahogany for the outer gunwales.
     
  15. OP
    OP
    Blackfly

    Blackfly Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Removed some of the planking to reveal how the ribs were attatched to the inner gunwale. There is also a nicely cut scarf on the gunwale at midway of the canoe. It looks like it may have been part of the original boat when it was built as saw marks match on both sides, finish seems the same. However the center thwart which stradles the scarf joint was removed at one time. The diamond head bolts have left an impression under the machine bolts that replaced them. The gunwale in cross section seems to resemble an isoceles trapezoid with the outer and inner angles being very slight. IMG_0544.jpg IMG_0546.jpg Screen Shot 2019-03-19 at 6.10.22 PM.png
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2019
  16. mccloud

    mccloud "Tiger Rag" back on the tidal Potomac

    I would not expect to find screws attaching rib tips to inwale on an original build. Steel nails were routine for nearly all builders. Inwales not square are sometimes seen - the most extreme I have observed were in a Kennebec. TM
     
  17. OP
    OP
    Blackfly

    Blackfly Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Yeah. I guess with a canoe this old it could of had several repairs by several different people. Both gunwales are attatched with slotted screws. Some of then not very straight. The picture above of just the rib end has a half circle mark in the end of the rib. I am assuming this was probably from a c-clamp. Still waiting on my canoe restoration books. Any enthusiast in the Belgrade Lakes, Maine region?
     
  18. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    Lots, contact Bob Bassett to join the Northeast Chapter. The page at http://www.wcha.org/local-area-chapters has his contact information. The next meeting is April 13 - 1:00 PM for lunch at The Miller's Table, 42 Court St., Skowhegan, Maine. I hope to see you there,

    Benson
     
  19. Howie

    Howie Wooden Canoe Maniac

    If it was a White wouldn't it have huge V-shaped brass bang-plates where stem-bands are usually found? If so you would expect to find a ton of small holes up & down the whole arc of the stems where the teeny nails held the bang-plate in place. If these holes aren't there then maybe it's not a White.
    20180924_163423.jpg 20181024_155217.jpg
     
    MGC likes this.
  20. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    Reading Howie's post (true dat!) I went back to look at the posted images and also the related comments.... this one with the odd scarf joint and the picture of the rail cross section leads to a few more comments.
    First, that scarf....I've never seen a rail scarfed that way....that's in the direction the hull/ribs flex. Usually the scarf runs the other way.
    Next, screws to hold things together....that is certainly not factory.
    Then, the rib top is below the rail...that's odd. You cut the rib flush to the rail. If the rail is that high it suggests repair that didn't quite come together the way it came apart. Not original! Finally the shape of the rail.....is the illustration greatly exaggerated? The outside can be tapered to match the tumblehome but this boat doesn't look like it has all that much. Taper on the inside? That's really odd...it serves no real purpose.

    I have a feeling that one of the boy's from Atkinson will look at these pictures and immediately know who built this. If the canoe was used as a project at a boat repair class in Maine there's a pretty good chance they will know the canoe and have some more details for you.
     

Share This Page