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Double gunwales

Discussion in 'Research and History' started by thirsty, Sep 13, 2008.

  1. thirsty

    thirsty #8111

    Benson & everyone,
    We are about to start the 1909 OT double gunwale mentioned in another thread. I would like to take you up on you offer to assist. The canoe has had a fiberglass restoration, because it includes a bulky "double keel" as well as bulky gunwales, I'm assuming they are not original, and not to spec. Would you, and or anyone, be so kind to post specs and or photos to help determine the originality of the gunwales? Presently they have closed the ribs w/o capping them, like present day gunwales on a composite canoe. Also, this may be a not so dumb a question, was the keel a double keel as well? Or was the keel spec'ed like one say 1936? The decks appear to be original w/ the usual rot at the ends. Thanks for your offer to help.
    Dave & Peggy Davidson
     
  2. Canoeal

    Canoeal Canoe/kayak builder/resto

    The double gunnel pictures from the Old Town catalog are attached. I am not sure what you mean about the keel how ever . do the screws line up or are they staggered? If the are staggered it may have had a 3/" shoe kel 11/2" wide x 3/8" high. otherwise the keel would have bee most likley a standard keel 3/4 X 7/8.
    Al Bratton
     

    Attached Files:

  3. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    Hi Dave and Peggy,

    I have attached some pictures of my 1907 Charles River model which has mahogany double gunwales and long decks along with a copy of the original build record. My rough measurements indicate that the inside gunwale is about one inch wide (horizontally) by 7/8 of an inch tall (vertically) in the middle and tapers to about 1/2 of an inch wide at the ends. The outside gunwale is about 13/16 of an inch wide by one inch tall in the middle and tapers to about 1/2 of an inch wide by 3/4 of an inch tall at the ends. More information is available from the Old Town Catalog CD as shown at http://forums.wcha.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=36 and like Al attached.

    My canoe did not have the original keel when I got it so I replaced it with a standard one like Al described. Some canoes would have bilge keels along with the one in the middle for a total of three but I have never seen one with two keels.

    I compared my canoe with another one that had mahogany double gunwales and short decks at the Assembly in Keuka a few years ago. The construction details of both canoes were very similar so I think that mine is reasonably close to the original. The ribs were not pocketed into the inside rails like a Morris on either one.

    Let me know if you have other questions or want more pictures. Good luck with your restoration.

    Benson
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jan 21, 2012
  4. Canoeal

    Canoeal Canoe/kayak builder/resto

    I believe the only companies that pocketed the ribs into the gunnels were Morris and Rushton. To date I have not seen any other one.
    Al Bratton
     
  5. Dave Wermuth

    Dave Wermuth Who hid my paddle?

    define dbl gunwale?

    Benson, I am not understanding what a double gunwale is. Can you explain?

    Thanks, Dave.
     
  6. Michael Grace

    Michael Grace Lifetime Member

    Dave,

    I'm sure Benson will chime in when he's back online, but for now... "Double gunwale" refers to the application of an inwale and an outwale that meet flush against each other when viewed from the top. There is a rabbet in which the rib tops lie; rib tops do not protrude between the inwale and outwale as on a open gunwale canoe. Furthermore, there is no top cap as on a traditional closed gunwale canoe. See both the Old Town page posted above and the photo of Benson's canoe.

    Double gunwale construction is very pretty- a smooth, uniterrupted expanse of mahogany. Interestingly, on some early AA grade open gunwale canoes (teens Otcas for sure... I've seen several of them), the open gunwales transition into a double gunwale style alongside the decks. That is, the canoe looks like a typical open gunwale canoe but near the ends, the rib tops disappear and the inwale and outwale become flush with each other.

    I don't know how common double gunwale canoes are- I've seen very few of them relative to open or closed gunwales... perhaps less than 1% of canoes had them given that "double gunwales" isn't shown on the pie chart of Old Town option frequency:

    http://www.wcha.org/ot_records/options.jpg

    Maybe Benson has some info on this?

    Michael
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Sep 13, 2008
  7. Canerodz

    Canerodz Trout Bum

    Michael,

    That is a really good look! It appears from the pix that the outwale is the one that has the wider rabbet for the rib tops and the inwale is pretty standard in its taper? I don't think I'm gonna worry about splicing the tops of the cant ribs now!:cool:
     
  8. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    The Old Town database as described at http://www.wcha.org/ot_records/ only has two references to canoes with double mahogany gunwales so that is a bit small to make a reasonably accurate estimate of the total. I have come across a number of them while searching through old records so Michael's suggestion of less than 1% is probably correct.

    I have not taken my rails apart but the outwale does appear to be the one that has the wider rabbet for the rib tops. The page at http://forums.wcha.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=36 has a good description that confirms this. It does make a pretty looking canoe. Feel free to reply here if anyone has other questions.

    Benson
     
  9. OP
    OP
    thirsty

    thirsty #8111

    Thank you all for your feedback. Last evening I picked up the 1909 16' AA OT CR w/ 'double gunnels'. Gunnels are original, only the outwales are rabbeted. The fiberglass came off w/o much trouble. I'm attaching a few pics, and have a few questions, which will mount up as the project moves forward.

    Are the spiral seat spacers original?

    The keel is 1 1/4" wide x 7/8" high, could it be original?

    Was 1909 pre diamond headed bolts?

    No brass stembands, should it have them?

    I will keep the old gunnels and decks for future interest & specs. Thanks for your interest and expertise.

    Dave & Peggy
     

    Attached Files:

  10. Canoeal

    Canoeal Canoe/kayak builder/resto

    keel

    My guess is that the keel is not original. I would find it hard to believe that the owner would order a boat as finely done as a double gunnel, and then go with such a chunky keel. It has been replaced. Go with a standard keel. This one was done when it was glassed.
    Al Bratton
     
  11. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    Hi Dave and Peggy,

    It looks like you have found a wonderful canoe. I agree with Al that the keel does not appear to be original, especially with the screw heads on the outside. The spiral turned spacers are probably original and match the ones on mine exactly. Diamond headed bolts do not usually appear on Old Town canoes before about 1920. The bolts on mine are counter sunk and covered with mahogany plugs that match the rest of the rail. Brass stem bands would have originally protected the stems. Have fun with the rest of the restoration and keep us posted.

    Benson
     
  12. OP
    OP
    thirsty

    thirsty #8111

    Benson & All,

    We are having fun with this project. The last few inches of the ribs are feathered to about 3/16", needless to say after 100 yrs. the rib tips look rough. If the temperature holds this week we'll restore the tips, and finish stripping/cleaning varnish. The top 9" of stems will be replaced.

    Two questions;

    1. We received the canoe with 3-4" of the deck tips cut off. Initially we were going to replace the decks, we have some nice mahogany. But, will it enhance the integrity of the canoe & the restoration if we splice new tips onto the original decks?

    2. How accurate is the New Haven Green depicted on our sites Old Town color wheel? I contacted Old Town & they no longer have the color or a sample, they suggested I contact Pettit. We're confident WCHA can help.

    This week we'll try to post a couple of pics.

    Thanks,
    Dave & Peggy
     
  13. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    Hi Dave and Peggy,

    Restoration by definition implies returning something to the original state so I would encourage you to splice in new tips. However, it is your canoe so do what you want as many other people have responded to similar questions here in the past.

    The New Haven green is thought to have been modeled after the New Haven Railroad's colors so you may want to see if some model railroad people can provide the exact shade. The page at http://www.banksofthesusquehanna.com/traffic/nh/ indicates that they used several different greens including forest, Pulman and hunter. You may want to try some paint archeology to see if there are any signs of original paint under the rails or some other place that was never exposed to the sun. I would encourage you to paint it with a color that you like since no one will probably ever know exactly what it really looked like originally. Good luck with your project,

    Benson
     
  14. OP
    OP
    thirsty

    thirsty #8111

    As promised, here are a few pics of on the 'progress' of our project. 99 years are not kind to rib tips that were not able to 'breath' because of the double gunnel construction.

    Notice in one pic how the last three inches of the outside of the rib tips have been shaved/tapered to approx. a 1/16 inch. tip. Almost all the ribs had rot around the ring nails holding them to the inwales.

    We are restoring all the rib tips with the exception of the 6 broken/cracked (X) ribs being replaced. Pic of before and after.

    We are restoring this canoe for a family in the community I serve. Although Peg & I wish it were ours, we are getting a great deal of satisfaction restoring it. The family puchased it from Burnip Bros, in Binghamton, NY., in 1909. Peg & I enjoy the memories the family is sharing with us. I am beginning to understand that this project is not just the restoration of a canoe, as well as the greater service the WCHA provides and the passion of its members. Thank you.
     

    Attached Files:

  15. OP
    OP
    thirsty

    thirsty #8111

    We just finished putting the stem bands on the 1909 AA OT double gunwale, and will deliver it to the Gambles' this afternoon. Attached are pics, including one of Mr. Gamble's father and grandmother, best quess photo taken in mid 20's early 30's. This afternoon we'll get some pics of it and family members, in the same location on the Susquehanna. The Gambles' are its original owners. The further we got into the project the more we realized the privilege and blessing we were entrusted with. How soon we forget the frustration of bending new mahogany gunnels. The decks are original with new tips spliced in. The seats and thwarts are original, (the front rail of the rear seat was replaced). The gunnels are replaced but spec'd to the original. Thanks for the advise/suggestions along the way, especially to Rollin, for his encouragement while bending the gunnels.

    Dave and Peggy Davidson
     

    Attached Files:

  16. Tom Widney

    Tom Widney LOVES Wooden Canoes

    I honor your perseverence, well done.
     
  17. tnyankee

    tnyankee LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Beautiful work. Thanks for sharing.
     
  18. JClearwater

    JClearwater Wooden Canoe Maniac

    Nice

    Really nice! I like the semi-gloss varnish. I think my next canoe will be finished off with semi-gloss. Sometimes I think the high gloss varnish is just too bright.

    Will we see it at the Assembly??

    Jim C.
     
  19. Denis M. Kallery

    Denis M. Kallery Passed Away July 3, 2012 In Memoriam

    Dave and Peg,
    Looks like an exceptional job!
    Denis
     
  20. OP
    OP
    thirsty

    thirsty #8111

    Jim,

    Thanks for the compliment, working the matt finish takes some practice. We just delivered the double gunwale, the Gamble's were pleased, they would allow us to bring it to Assembly. However, we can only haul two. We will be bringing our Indian Girl, to get some feedback and suggestions on moving forward with her. We also plan to bring our 1933 OT AA sailing canoe that is in great original condition, needs a new sail, possible re-canvas, but all the wood is in great shape. We're undecided what we should do with it, (attached are a couple of pics).

    Next year I hope to have our trailer on the road, enabling us to bring several.

    Thanks again, Dave
     

    Attached Files:

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