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Chestnut #36 9738

Discussion in 'Serial Number Search' started by Jim Eckler, Mar 10, 2021.

  1. Jim Eckler

    Jim Eckler paddle on...

    Let me share some pictures and ask a few questions, please, about my new Chestnut wood/canvas canoe restoration project. I think it is a Bob's Special. It is 15' max length with a 34 3/4" beam (canvas to canvas). Ribs are 2 3/8" wide (maybe 2 1/4") and spaced 1 1/2" apart; they are 1/4" deep. Serial number is 36 9738. The stem top is visible at the rail/deck tip. It measures 13" deep amidships. Rails are attached with Robertson steel (galvanized?) screws. The outwale is quite rounded; (not what I've read to be common on Bob's Specials) and measures about 3/4" by 3/4". I don't know spruce by sight but I'd like to know if that's what it is. Both inwales and outwales seem like same species. I'm hoping they are ash as it is easier for me to find. It has a deep wooden keel which has remnants of a metal stem band running the whole length bow to stern. That seems odd, and that's one of the things on my list of items I'm wrestling with whether or not to replace as is. You know, the old restoration question of staying true to original or not. The rest of that list, right now, has reusing the semi-rusted steel screws, rounding the outwale or using the square dimensions described elsewhere, and re-attaching the deck decal off center (kidding!). See that one photo attached and you have to wonder how that could have happened at the factory?! So, thanks for staying with me on this long post and thanks, in advance, for any information, recommendations or stories of any kind.
    IMG_3479.JPG IMG_3466.JPG IMG_3537.JPG IMG_3538.JPG IMG_3510.JPG IMG_3478.JPG IMG_3486.JPG IMG_3471.JPG IMG_3533.JPG
  2. patrick corry

    patrick corry Curious about Wooden Canoes

    That's an interesting project for sure. I'm negotiating with someone about what I think is a Bobs Special at the moment. If it becomes mine it will be fun to compare notes.

    I notice in your seat picture a detail that seems to be a feature of Chestnut; the manner of weaving the cane differs from the typical furniture seat pattern. Chestnut appears to have favored a pattern in which both strands of the 90 degree crossings overlay the first pair of canes. These 2 over 2 crossings are then stabilized by four way diagonals woven over and under in a typical fashion.
  3. Dan Miller

    Dan Miller cranky canoeist Staff Member

    More likely it is a 15' Pleasure model (Chum, Doe). I've got the Peterborough version (Minetta), and it is a fantastic solo paddling canoe.

    A Bob's will be 37" beam, have thinner ribs, and (at least usually) heart-shaped decks.

    The rails look to be ash or oak. Easy enough to leave the keel off, you can always add it later if desired. (You will have to explain to folks the unused screw holes...).

    Must have been a late Friday afternoon when that decal was placed!
  4. Andre Cloutier

    Andre Cloutier Firestarter. Wicked Firestarter.

    (You will have to explain to folks the unused screw holes...).

    not if you cut the screw and put them in with the cup washers, they never figure out it has no keel....
    Andy Hutyera likes this.
  5. OP
    Jim Eckler

    Jim Eckler paddle on...

    Thanks, folks. Now I'm really interested in trying to identify it to model (and year, if possible). I thought the rib width, depth and spacing was a good clue, and it matches what I've read as a Bob's Special. I remeasured that beam and it might be 35 1/2" and ribs are 2 3/8". I'm happy to hear that the rails might be ash. Dan, I think I'm in favor of putting the keel back on it... with so much rocker, I have to believe the 'designers' gave it some thought. I just didn't think I'd put the stem bands all the way from bow to stern. Thanks, Andre, for the nifty 'work-around'. I'm busy collecting those as I get deeper along in the canoe rescue business. Patrick, please do keep in touch if you end up with that canoe.
  6. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    Unfortunately, Chestnut build records aren't known to exist, so pinning a year to the canoe is unlikely.
  7. OP
    Jim Eckler

    Jim Eckler paddle on...

    Dan, I found measurements online from someone's 2 Chestnut Chums which put the beam at 30" canvas to canvas. The beam on my Chestnut project is 35 1/2" and shows good tumblehome and what appears to be an original thwart. Why did you think Chum was a good fit?
    Now I see Mike Elliott's description of Chestnut Chum and Doe models which is a closer match to mine: "Over the years, the ribs of the pleasure canoes came in two different sizes – either 1½” wide and 3/8” thick with 1½” spaces between ribs or 2-3/8” wide and 3/8” thick with 2” spaces. The 16′ was called the Pal or the Deer, the 15′ was called the Chum or the Doe and the 14′ was called the Playmate or the Fox."
    The only difference between mine and what Mike E. lists as a later (larger) rib dimension is that mine has 1 1/2" spacing of the ribs and Mike lists 2" spacing. But that seems pretty significantly different, doesn't it? Why would that change?
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2021

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