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"New" pre-fire? Chestnut Bobs/Bantam canoe..

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by yankee2, Jan 16, 2015.

  1. yankee2

    yankee2 Curious about Wooden Canoes

    IMG_7410.jpg IMG_7414.jpg IMG_7423.jpg IMG_7422.jpg

    Hello ALL,
    A couple of weeks ago I purchased what I thought was a pre-fire Chestnut Bobs (introduced 1916), or more likely Bantam (open gunnels) in EXC, completely original, unrestored condition; now I'm not completely sure (that it's pre-fire, that is). As can be seen from my photos, it has heart-shaped decks. It WAS my understanding that these are associated with pre-fire Chestnuts, though I have always detected that there may be exceptions, for example, the 1960 catalog shows the recreational models, as well as the Bobs, with heart--shaped decks! The decks on my canoe are strongly crowned, and thoroughly undercut (see photo), as I believe is correct for these decks. My canoe also has:

    1) cant ribs the same width as the rest,
    2) keel screws in every rib (Morris-like),
    3) slotted screws all around, which appear to be original (which Dick Persson says he has seen only in pre-fire canoes, "as late as 1919-1920"),
    4) 2 3/8" W, tapered ribs,
    5) 3 3/4" W planking,
    6) and both inner and outer gunwales are (I believe) spruce.
    7) I haven't taken the old canvas off yet (I think I'd like to paddle her before I do the restoration, in the Spring), so I don't know about the stem heads.
    8) The inwales do not show much if any taper.
    9) I can't tell whether the tacks are copper or not; will know better when I take the canvas off.
    10) the wood shows a few flaws, i.e. a knot has popped out of a rib, and the planking shows a few de-laminations (perhaps breaks) along the grain, suggesting second-grade, as would be the case for a pre-fire, open-gunnel Bantam.
    11) traces of the original Chestnut decal can be seen in one of the photos.
    12) The seat frames are somewhat shaped, i.e. the inner edges of the side pieces are curved on the inner edges.
    13) The seat frames are bolted directly to the gunwales, except the rear seat, which has short spacers in the back (as is the case for PSYCHE, the oldest known Chestnut).

    I have complete provenance for this canoe, which has had 3 owners, though I don't have dates for the earlier owners (names are marked on the canoe, and the most recent owner has the story, according to his family). It was found under a camp about 150 miles N of Ottawa, and has been rarely used since the late 1940s, "because it was in the back of the rack," and "because it leaked." It has ZERO rot, in the tips or anywhere else, as far as I can tell, and ORIGINAL caning in the seats.

    Any comments would be greatly appreciated!
     

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    Last edited: Jan 16, 2015
  2. Easternrivers

    Easternrivers Traditionalist

  3. Kathryn Klos

    Kathryn Klos squirrel whisperer

    Similar to ours, it seems...
     

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  4. Kathryn Klos

    Kathryn Klos squirrel whisperer

    a couple more...

    Two more images, which remind me of a time without snow...
     

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  5. OP
    OP
    yankee2

    yankee2 Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Similar to yours..

    It is. It's hard for me to see, but it appears yours (NOT a Morris!) also has keel screws in every rib, and the screws appear to be slotted (the part I strain to see), too. Have you come to any conclusions about yours? Do you think the screws in every rib could be due to influence from Morris? Do you think that suggests that these are early canoes?


    (this intended for Ms. Klos... I must have hit reply, instead of reply with quote)
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2015
  6. OP
    OP
    yankee2

    yankee2 Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Nice looking boat you have there. It seems that spruce gunwales do a good job of holding shape. The sweep of the gunwales seem (I imagine) about as fair today as they ever were (my boat's gunwales are all spruce, and very fair, as yours also appear to be).

    (this intended for Ms. Klos... I must have hit reply, instead of reply with quote)
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2015
  7. OP
    OP
    yankee2

    yankee2 Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Yours does appear to be a Chestnut, but not a Bobs. For one thing, it's a 16 footer; for another it appears deeper and it has a different thwart arrangement. Otherwise similar. I don't understand why any canoe which can be handled by a single man/woman would lack a center thwart! Did you ever come to any conclusions about its age? Have you, BTW, restored it? It looks highly restorable.


    (this intended for Easternrivers... I must have hit reply, instead of reply with quote)
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2015
  8. Kathryn Klos

    Kathryn Klos squirrel whisperer

  9. OP
    OP
    yankee2

    yankee2 Curious about Wooden Canoes


    I think it is a Bobs, but I wouldn't necessarily take my word for it; when I purchased it, I thought it was a Twoser (or a Gooseberry)! It wasn't until a week later that I actually took a tape measure to it, and at 37 1/4" wide (outside canvas, widest part), it couldn't be much else. It has considerable tumblehome! At first I was a little disappointed, but in fact I think a Bobs is exactly what i want, along with quite a few others! My boat, BTW, unlike yours and somebody else's, has flathead slotted screws (I'll have to check to be sure they're not steel, which I don't think they should be) securing the gunwales, but the keel screws are oval-head, slotted, and apparently, brass (could be bronze, but not apparently steel).
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2015
  10. OP
    OP
    yankee2

    yankee2 Curious about Wooden Canoes

    The decks on your boat are undercut much like a Chestnut, and the heart shape is a lot like that of a Chestnut, but I wonder if it actually is one? I wouldn't expect the decks to be that much different in shape on a 16 footer than on a 15, and I don't believe they are. The ribs are the right width. I do notice that the decks seem to be held on with philips-head screws, which suggest it has been messed with, later and in the US. The decks might not be original, though I think they are, because they seem to have about the same amount of age on them as the rest. I also notice that the stem is shaped to receive the planking all the way to the top, which is not like pre-fire Chestnuts, which were rectangular in section the top couple of inches, with the planking fitted around. I expect there will be odd boats, and exceptions to every rule, but this canoe lacks, it seems, the preponderance of attributes that would show that it's a Chestnut. There were quite a few canoes with heart-shaped decks, and probably small-time builders who used them, too. Probably even early in the 20th century, builders tended to emulate Chestnuts, so their products would just naturally resemble them. This canoe seems most likely to be one of the many others. Did YOU ever decide, once and for all, what it is? It's a nice looking canoe.
     
  11. Fitz

    Fitz Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    Early Bob's

    Hi Yankee: The Bob's has thinner (1/4 inch) ribs to cut down on weight. It looks to me like your canoe has the thinner ribs.

    I have a Bob's. I have thought it was post-fire from the 30's. It has brass slotted screws in the gunwales and I think screws in every rib for the keel. I think that the reason I call it post-fire is based on the cant ribs, but I can't recall.
     

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  12. Easternrivers

    Easternrivers Traditionalist

    The guy I bought it from said the maritime museum in HFX told him it was possibly Peterborough. I dunno, maybe no way to say for sure.
    I was thinking pre-fire Nut cuz of the deck mostly, but also because of how the stem heads were carved and the last planks were set into the sten beneath.
    Thanks for the input.
     
  13. rpg51

    rpg51 Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    I can't provide more info about the id - but I just thought I would comment that I notice the presence of a carrying bar and tumpline in the pictures. Not to many folks use those items these days. Typical of the Temagami camps.
     

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