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We now own our first wood canvas canoe (and I need some advice)!

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by Feathers, Apr 26, 2014.

  1. OP

    Feathers Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    I do have a line on an old barn that supposedly is storing 5-7 old wood/ canvas canoes. I really want to just go "visit" them. That's all.

  2. Larry Meyer

    Larry Meyer Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    Yes, the owner route to custody of a W/C canoe is a bit different from the owner/restorer route.

    I got one when I first rebuilt one (and told that story long ago in Wooden Canoe). What was just as important as having one was to learn how they went together. My problem then was that I had spent 100 times more hours rebuilding a canoe than I had paddling one! That got fixed too.

    You know, the esthetic is not be underestimated. I don’t think I ever would have gotten as interested in canoeing as I have if my options were just aluminum or Kevlar. If I could do a real long wilderness trip, where cracking up the canoe was a real risk, I think I’d still prefer W/C. It’s not rational. But I’d always prefer to end the day looking a beautiful canoe.
  3. Old_Paddler

    Old_Paddler Canoe nut

    One of the canoes I had a while back had been "rode hard and put away wet" at a girls summer camp for a number of decades.

    When I got her she was in "ready to burn" condition, but her seats, inwales, thwarts and bolts live on in other canoes.

    To "fix" the broken ribs someone had added curved metal pieces that seem to have done a good job.
    Not sure that was a good solution, but those were the only sections of the canoe that had any structural integrity.

    I am a novice when it comes to restoring canoes - thankfully I have a mentor who guides me.

    Regarding hitting a rock...back in the 80's I had a 1944 Yankee that I fixed (vs. restored). Put a nice hole in her on a river. Though I was upset I fixed her again and she served me well. To me a canoe is not something to hang from the rafters, but a living thing that needs to get out and face challenging rivers.
  4. OP

    Feathers Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    I'm mostly with you. But last summer's Boundary Waters trip involved 21 total miles of portaging with double portaging. So that's 7 miles of hauling the canoe and small pack, 7 miles of just hiking back, , and then 7 miles with a pack. The year before that we went in Stuart River and that's a 1.5 miles just to reach water, and then 7 miles of beaver dams and portages to reach the first lake with a campsite. At the end of the day that W/C would be beautiful with the fire crackling and a small glass of wine while sitting on the rocks- but at the beginning of a portage (and this may be the wrong forum to admit this) that Kevlar has a beauty all its own.
  5. Kathryn Klos

    Kathryn Klos squirrel whisperer

    They sometimes have a way of coming into your life even if you aren't actively searching. You become the guy who "likes old canoes" and someone who has an old canoe in their barn will get word of this, and ask you to check it out.
  6. Fitz

    Fitz Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    I think you have to go a long way to beat wood and canvas. I have told this story before, but my best friend from second grade lives in Maine, has been in the woods all his life. He is a no nonsense type of person. " If it don't make sense, why do it?"

    We did a trip years ago on the West Branch of the Penobscot. I had my 17 foot Prospector. He had a 16 foot royalex camper. Despite a leisurely pace, they could not keep up with a heavily loaded Prospector. I had convinced my friend that there is a better way than oil canning to each waypoint.

    Kevlar is a bit different. It has fine entry, it is a rigid hull, but I think some weight is desirable when paddling. Also there is the ease of field repairs to be considered.

    My friend is now restoring his own wood and canvas canoes. He has not moved on to the next synthetic material. Did I mention he is cheap? I also think repairing and re-using materials makes sense in this day and age.

    I meant to mention portaging. There is the weight, but I seem to recall the cold rain , waste deep water, clouds of mosquitos, heat, cold, falling on rocks more. You get to experience these things with Kevlar too.
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2014
  7. rpg51

    rpg51 Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    I think you have a lovely canoe and you will enjoy it for years to come - maybe for the rest of your life. I agree that WC is the best way to travel. I feel that in the past I have been almost seduced by a madison avenue type marketing campaign to believe that I will be best served by the lightest material available for my canoes. I'm done with that. There comes a time if you are exposed to paddling WC that you realize all the advantages of WC far out weigh the few drawbacks and you really don't enjoy paddling plastic and composite boats. At least that is what has happened to me. I get nothing out of Kevlar.
  8. OP

    Feathers Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    You folks truly love your W/C canoes! I have a total paddling time of 15 minutes in the W/C and that was between sheets of still melting ice. Go easy on the new guy.

    As I've already mentioned I have plastic yaks, the aluminum canoes I grew up in, a Kevlar MNII that was a surprise Christmas present from my wife (an 18.5' canoe under the tree), and now this 1920's St. Louis Meramec. If this W/C causes me to not enjoy paddling composite boats anymore- well I'm in a whole lot of trouble...
  9. Larry Meyer

    Larry Meyer Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    Truth to tell, the St. Louis might not be a good tripping boat. Then you gotta get yourself a Prospector!
  10. rpg51

    rpg51 Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    Actually, you are in fine shape, you can do what i am doing - you can sell and gift all that plastic stuff and use the proceeds to support your WC habit. Sure the kevlar feels nice on the trail - but a canoe is meant to be paddled in water. In the water is where WC shines.

    I'm waiting to take delivery on a new 16' prospector and I'm already obsessing over how to finance my next WC after that - a 17' prospector, or maybe a high sided White or Atkinson.

    It can become an obsession in a way. But I am prone to that sort of thing.
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2014
  11. OP

    Feathers Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    Pretty sure you're all trying to throw me under the bus here. Honey, if you're reading this thread one W/C canoe is all I need. I mean, if I ever found a second one, then yes, maybe, just so the first one isn't lonely. And if there were ever three and I had to build a small shed to store them, then that would be the limit. Or if they spilled out of that and I had to find an old barn to house them, well that would be it. I promise I will never need a second old barn...
  12. KAT

    KAT LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Yes, that works, not really a problem at all. I did my first one 3 years ago, sold it while doing the second with the 3rd waiting it's turn. Started the third one two summers ago but it didn't get full treatment until a year ago, just finishing it up now, but I have 4 more in the queue now, including a 18 foot Y-stern picked up for a song... should be acquiring a rarity this Summer, after driving 2000 km round trip to pick it up...

    Need a bigger warehouse...
  13. yankee2

    yankee2 Curious about Wooden Canoes

    As a supplement to what a few others have suggested, regarding putting some epoxy into that crack, if you use plasticine, clay or Play-doh to make a dam either side of the crack, and position the crack at the lowest point inside the canoe, then you can put epoxy on the crack, and let it run inside without running out onto your planking. You could better fill the crack that way, as well as being neater, making a better repair. I DO agree that doing nothing might be the best thing, until re-canvassing time comes. Glueing it now is not really necessary, and COULD create complications when the time comes for a proper repair.
  14. OP

    Feathers Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes


    We just go back from a wonderful afternoon on the water with the old canoe. We paddled for over two hours and I kept an eye on the crack during that time. It didn't seem to be affected by being in the water at all. I'm wondering if the strap around the canoe while it was on the car forced the crack a bit wider and that's what I noticed the first time on the water. Else it was just the excitement putting it in the water for the first time. We really only paddled it about 10 minutes that first day .

    But today we got to know the old boat. She's plenty stable and we were comfortable even with a lot of motorboats on the lake. The lakes to the north are still frozen over, and with it being the opening of fishing, the open water on the river (well, flowage where we were as there is no current to speak of because of the dam) brought out droves of big fishing rigs. Even with the cold water we were never uncomfortable dealing with the multiple wakes. Saw a loon that is surely waiting for the lakes to the north to thaw (as no loon would choose to spend the summer where we were paddling). It was a joy to be on the water in the old canoe and we had a wonderful time. The idea of forming a dam for the epoxy is a pretty good idea but I think I'm going to just take the advice of just leaving it alone. If you look in the upper right corner of the photo you can see the ski hill still full of snow in the background. May 4th Paddle-3.jpg
  15. OP

    Feathers Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    Thanks to everyone for the advice. We really appreciate it. This, by the way, is the canoe. May 4th Paddle-7.jpg May 4th Paddle-8.jpg

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