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J.B. O'Dette & Sons - looking for an existing canoe or plans to build one

Discussion in 'Open Forum' started by johnmetts, Oct 14, 2016.

  1. johnmetts

    johnmetts Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    Jean Baptiste O'Dette (sometimes spelled "John") was my great-grandfather. I was named after him and grew up hearing my maternal grandmother talk about him and our family has one of his small models that he made in the early part of the last century.

    Having been a lover of canoes all of my life I have decided it is time that I try my hand at building one. I would love to find an existing J.B O'Dette & Sons canoe (either in working condition or that I could restore). My hope for a retirement job is to build a few canoes/year under the name "J.B. O'dette & Great-Grandson."

    If anyone has any information, plans or knows the whereabouts of an existing canoe I could purchase, please let me know.

    Other than that, keep on paddlin'.

    John
     
    Dave Wermuth likes this.
  2. bluedcanoed

    bluedcanoed LOVES Wooden Canoes

  3. Kampclare

    Kampclare New Member

    Hi John, I came across your blog on this forum about your relationship to Jean O'Dette and thought you might like to know that I am quite sure that the canoe mold that I have is one built by your great grandfather. In the mid 1950's when I was around 12 years old, my father had purchased the mold from someone on Little Lake in Peterborough Ont., if I remember correctly, he told me it was for building the O'Dette Trapper model. He went on to build either 5 or 6 canoes off the mold, (in the basement of our small wartime home) all were covered with a light fiberglass skin, 12 to 13 ft. in length and weighing 35 to 40 lbs in weight, I still have one of them today. My father and brothers spent a lot of years of hunting, fishing and or just paddling in these stable, strong and lightweight vessels. After my father's passing in 2003 the mold ended up being stored outside for a period of time and unfortunately suffered some water damage before being stored in a dry shed. I have had intentions of restoring the mold and like my father take on a project of building a canoe but have not yet taken it on. Attached are some pictures of the mold and the metal box used for steaming the stems and ribs, I would be interested to get your feedback, thanks Pete.
     
  4. Kampclare

    Kampclare New Member

    Hi John, attached are pictures as mentioned
     

    Attached Files:

  5. Kampclare

    Kampclare New Member

    IMG_2289.JPG Hi John, this is a picture of the canoe that my father had built back in the 1950's off of what I believe is your great grandfathers mold he made, Pete.
     
  6. OP
    OP
    johnmetts

    johnmetts Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    Thanks for the photo, Pete. That sure looks like one of his.

    Here is a picture of the canoe after I restored it. I put it in the water for the first time last summer and it paddled like a dream. I spent several hours on the lakes and rivers last spring, summer and fall. It was a deeply moving experience each time I did as I felt like I was paddling my history. I got to show it to my mother just before she passed away (94 years old) and she immediately recognized it. I only told her that I had a canoe I wanted to show her. I wheeled her out in her wheelchair and when she saw it she smiled this great big smile and said, "That's one of Grandpa Bat's canoes!" She ran her hands along the gunnels and sides and just kept smiling and laughing and saying "gee whiz." She had a bit of Alzheimer's and it amazed me that she remembered it like it was yesterday. She talked about how she would go down to her grandpa's shop and watch him build canoes when she was a little girl back in the 1920's and 30's. I think seeing her light up like that was the most important part of my entire journey with this canoe.

    Thanks again for giving me and my family this opportunity. They have watched along as I did the deconstruction and the restoration (via email pictures) and they are all thrilled about it. I have willed it to my nephew, Daniel. When he was young we went on many canoe trips together and he has a special place for it.

    I hope this finds you and your loved ones well.

    John
     

    Attached Files:

    Benson Gray and Norm Hein like this.
  7. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    Great story! Can't beat a canoe with a family history!
     
  8. Kampclare

    Kampclare New Member

    Hi John, thanks for the reply, looks like you did a great job of restoration on the canoe, what length is it? I remember my father had told me that he had the opportunity to get a 16 foot mold at the time (mid 1950's) that he bought the Trapper mold but he did not have the room to store it. I was wondering if you had any family history you could share with me regarding the time frame when your great grandfather had built his molds, how many canoes were built off the Trapper mold (att'd picture) or any other relevant information, would be greatly appreciated, regards Pete.
     

    Attached Files:

  9. OP
    OP
    johnmetts

    johnmetts Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    I tried uploading some of what I have but the file is too big. If you send me an email to metts37@yahoo.com I will send you what I have later tonight.
     
  10. OP
    OP
    johnmetts

    johnmetts Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

  11. jeff mclean

    jeff mclean New Member

    Hi John, my name is Jeff and Jean Baptiste O'Dette was also my great grandfather. His son George was my grandfather and his daughter Carol my mother. Would love to see any information you have on our family history.
     
  12. OP
    OP
    johnmetts

    johnmetts Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    Hi Jeff, Great to hear from you. I received a note from another O'Dette a while back. I tried to message her back, but never received anything more from her. Here is her message. Maybe you will have better luck.

    Hello John!
    I just stumbled upon a few of your forum posts while researching some J.B. O’Dette & Sons canoe info. I hope you don’t mind me reaching out to you.
    I am an O’Dette from Peterborough, and currently live in Peterborough (right near Bat’s house on Crescent Street, actually). I’m doing some research on my family history, as I don’t know much, unfortunately.
    I saw the biography you posted for John Baptiste O’Dette. Is that from your own recollection? Is he your grandfather? I am trying to piece together a family tree, but I don’t know much about his children/how many etc.
    In addition to the family tree, I am hoping to find some more info on their canoes, etc. I would love to purchase one in the future, if I come across one someday. I have been to the Canadian Canoe Museum and the folks there said they had some O’Dette canoes in storage, but not on display due to limited space. They cert
    Thank you again for any information, it is much appreciated, and I hope this message doesn’t come across as too prying. :)
    Kind regards,
    Madison O’Dette

    That is all I have from her. Maybe you will have luck contacting her. My brother has traced the O'Dette history back quite a ways. If you email me at metts37@yahoo.com I will send you what I have.

    John
     

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