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Who has the Chestnut form for the 17' Prospector?

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by rpg51, Feb 23, 2014.

  1. D_Sabine

    D_Sabine Procrastinator

    Great Spirit Canoes was formed by buying the Cedarwood Canoes business a few years back, so they would have the original Chestnut molds that Carl Jones brought to Cedarwood, plus any molds that Carl and Stephen subsequently built, I suppose.
     
  2. Larry Meyer

    Larry Meyer Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    So it seems like, 35 years after Chestnut closed, the bloodline of “authentic” Prospectors is thinning out further. Those builders who got the last forms, Fraser, Jones, and Solway, are out of it. Headwaters (Hugh Stewart) builds on original forms, but has not a 17 foot form, it seems. (Given the history, Great Spirit Canoes has yet to prove its sticking power.) The last 15-20 years of Chestnut production, say from ‘65 to ‘79, is suspect for production quality issues even. Yet even modest contemporary witness is that the Prospector is still at the top of the heap as a tripping canoe – the testimony that got Prospector its reputation going all the way back to the mid -20s, (R. M. Patterson).

    I don’t have a problem with what Dylan confirms; that Prospectors could get out of whack over time. If you want a deformity proof hull, get one in cedar strip. But I think it still would not feel the same to paddle as wood canvas.
     
  3. OP
    OP
    rpg51

    rpg51 Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    Would it make any sense to store the canoe sitting on the floor right side up during the off season instead of hanging upside down?

    I did take a look at the information in "The Keewaydin Way." The wanigan bars are indeed full length, gunwale to gunwale, as depicted in the book. My memory was off. But, of course, you knew that.

    I wonder what you all think might be the cause of this tendency of the wood canvas hull to round out over time. The bends in steam bent cedar are not necessarily permanent? Is one species of cedar more prone to this than another? Is there a building technique that prevents it from happening?
     
  4. Dylan Schoelzel

    Dylan Schoelzel born in a canoe

    A typical long trip at Keewaydin is 6 weeks on the water. Provisions are carried for 3 weeks then the section is re-outfitted and another 3 weeks of food is carried. During those 6 weeks a lot of weight is put in each canoe and they can get very water logged.

    I can remember pulling out on the Hudson Bay and weighing the canoes at the airport so the airline could charge us by weight to get them out. Most of the canoes weighed 110-115 pounds. They probably started out around 85 pounds in the beginning of the trip. With wet saturated hulls, heavy loads, broken ribs, running whitewater, etc the hulls have a good chance of rounding out. There is really no way to prevent this from happening in these types of circumstances with year after year of heavy use like this.

    I wouldn’t worry about your prospectors changing shape. We have re-canvassed and seen many Prospectors, both Chestnut and Fraser, that have retained their shape very well over the years. Many were and are used for canoe tripping but are not the hard working canoes to the degree of those at Keewaydin.

    Wood is wood and it is going to do what it wants to do at times. There are some things that the builder can do to help prevent hull movement such as the quality of wood used, particularly the cedar, and making sure that the ribs are adequately steamed before bending on to the form.
     
  5. greyghost

    greyghost Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Just a note about Great Spirit , Stephen Jones is still very much involved with building canoes . Not only did Great Spirit buy out Cedarwood's inventory but Stephen made the move as well . Stephen started working at Chestnut , then moved on with his father to Cedarwood and is now in Oromocto at Great Spirit .

    A while back someone said that they thought Keewaydin was getting Chestnut forms (Prospector , Cruiser/Guide Special ) from Don , this is contrary to what he has told me . I know Keewaydin has an interest in them , but so does the Fraser family .

    These original forms are built like tanks , despite their age I really don't see how a canoe coming off of them today would be any different than one built 40 yrs ago (less builder differences) .

    I have seen some rough Chestnuts from the 60's and 70's , but one of the nicest ones I've owned was a 16' Ogilvy made in late Chestnut years at Oromocto .
     
  6. OP
    OP
    rpg51

    rpg51 Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    Unfortunately I do not see many 6 week trips in my future. I wish it were not so. I'll be very lucky to string three weeks together in the next 10 years and I won't see retirement until age 72. We'll see if I have the steam left for a couple of long trips when that day comes. More likely my canoes will see one, maybe two, 1-2 week trips per year at most. Sad to say. But, I will make the best of it.
     
  7. Larry Meyer

    Larry Meyer Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    Can you make a guess as to how many Prospector forms, 16, 17, and 18 footers, were distributed to others when the factory closed?
     
  8. Dylan Schoelzel

    Dylan Schoelzel born in a canoe

    Thought you might enjoy this picture. All 17' Fraser prospectors with a few Fraser cruisers leaving the shop and headed back home up north. Emily and I didn't want to see a green canoe for awhile after that..........
     

    Attached Files:

  9. OP
    OP
    rpg51

    rpg51 Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    Nice. Headed up my way (Vermont) or to Ontario?
     
  10. greyghost

    greyghost Curious about Wooden Canoes

    I can only speak for the 17' form , it's my understanding that Mr Fraser has the only one .

    To own a canoe that was "built on a Chestnut form" is great , but the 17' canoe that you own may have come off a 16' or 15' form.
     
  11. Andre Cloutier

    Andre Cloutier Firestarter. Wicked Firestarter.

    A while back someone said that they thought Keewaydin was getting Chestnut forms (Prospector , Cruiser/Guide Special ) from Don , this is contrary to what he has told me . I know Keewaydin has an interest in them , but so does the Fraser family .

    I said that was what he told me when he politely refused an offer to purchase the cruiser form, dont have any idea what else he might have said. Doesnt really matter, i was lucky enough to get one of his cruisers, its a great boat. I'd buy one of his prospectors based on the quality of his builds if i could find one that wasnt destroyed from tripping. I was after his permission to reproduce his decals for my restoration, to which he said no problem, so now the boat is back to the way it left his shop.
     
  12. Larry Meyer

    Larry Meyer Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    That's about the number I would have guessed, given that Solway found their most popular model, the Pal, required 3 forms to keep up with demand.
     
  13. Dylan Schoelzel

    Dylan Schoelzel born in a canoe

    Nice. Headed up my way (Vermont) or to Ontario?

    Temagami, Ontario. As far as I know Keewaydin in Vermont (Dunmore) have never had Frasers in their fleet.
     
  14. SWEETWATER

    SWEETWATER LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Dylan , what is the preferred canoe at keewaydin for tripping?
     
  15. yankee2

    yankee2 Curious about Wooden Canoes

    I understand that Cedarwood sold out to the "Oromocto Indian Band," and became Great Spirit Canoe Co. So whatever Cedarwood offered, which I believe included a Garry (17' Prospector), should now be available from Great Spirit.
     
  16. yankee2

    yankee2 Curious about Wooden Canoes

    I may misunderstand completely (and please forgive if this is stupid!), but wouldn't the ribs STRAIGHTEN slightly as they spring back, making the canoe that comes off a form slightly FLATTER than the form, not rounder? Would that not require making the mold slightly ROUNDER than the boat the lines were taken off of, not flatter?
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2015
  17. Dan Miller

    Dan Miller cranky canoeist Staff Member

    That would be true if the ends of the ribs were free. As soon as you nail them to gunwales, the dynamic changes, as the hard bend around the bilge tries to straighten, the bottom rounds. You can witness this on a new canoe build - once you remove the strongback prior to removing the canoe from the form, you can see the ribs lifting off the form.

    One of our esteemed pro builder once told me that to build a truly flat-bottomed canoe, one would need to build hog into the form. I do not know if any of the big manufacturers did this.

    Dan
     
  18. yankee2

    yankee2 Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Thanks Dan..

    Dan,
    I knew there had to be a simple explanation, and was guessing it had to do with the sides, and the way the rib ends were constrained, but couldn't quite think my way through it. In other words, there is more straightening force applied by the sides straightening, constrained by the gunnels, than by the bottom, forcing the bottom rounder. Hand it to a guy who actually builds canoes! I do understand better, and will understand better still once I've actually built a canoe. Thanks very much!
    Rick
     

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