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Chestnut Canoe for family use

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by cndnflyr, Jun 3, 2014.

  1. cndnflyr

    cndnflyr New Member


    I am looking into a couple of Chestnut canoes that are for sale about 5 hrs from me. I don't have very much information on them yet, but will be going this weekend to have a look and hopefully purchase them. What I do know is that

    -they were bought in the 70s,
    -the owner considers them in good condition
    -16 ft,
    -one of them has a sail,
    -they weigh about 70lbs each and
    -they have been stored in an attached garage for the last 20 years.

    One thing I am confused about is the add said they were "fiberglass", but on looking into Chestnut, they don't appear to have made anything but wood canoes, with fiberglassing on the hull. Is this a right assumption? The fellow who posted the add doesn't seem to know much about them and is selling them for his in-laws. There aren't any pictures available. The price he is asking is very good for any canoe that is floating. This post is a little bit pre-mature as I'm still going back and forth with the seller, but I was wondering if someone would be able to give me some pointers on what to look for and what questions to ask. I have no experience with wooden canoes, I've mostly used aluminum in the past. I'm hoping to get a couple canoes that my family can use as paddle boats on the local lakes.

    Thank you
  2. Larry Meyer

    Larry Meyer Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    1. If originally the canoe were canvas covered and later fiber glassed (after the canvas died), they are likely more trouble than they are worth. I would not even make the trip to look, myself.
    2. Chestnut was struggling to stay open in the 70s, and quality declined. Their canoes from the 70s are a very mixed bag therefore.
    3. Try to find out what model they are, Prospector, Ogilvy, Cruiser, Pal. They perform pretty differently.
  3. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    No, Chestnut sold some all fiberglass canoes and boats in the 1970s as shown in the catalog cover below although these may have come from another builder. Find out if the ends under the decks have a foamed flotation bulkhead or if they are open. The catalog collection at has lots of additional information that may help your search. Good luck,


    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jun 3, 2014
  4. OP

    cndnflyr New Member

    I hope that is the case, it would make more sense, judging by the information the seller gave me. What is the significance of the floatation chambers? I asked about the model, but it's unknown.

  5. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    There is nothing special about the flotation chambers except that might be an easy way to distinguish between an all fiberglass Chestnut and a wooden Chestnut with fiberglass in place of canvas. It is often difficult to get detailed answers from a seller who doesn't know anything about canoes and may not be able to send pictures. Don't ask why I know this to be true,

  6. rpg51

    rpg51 Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    I was shopping for a used 20 foot old town tripper something that can be fairly hard to find. I saw an ad for a 20foot tripper on craigs list. I called the seller who lived about 3 hours away from my home and spoke with him at length about the condition and confirmed that it was a 20 foot tripper. When I got down there I discovered a 16 foot old town Camper model with a home made name plate "Tripper" after the man's son. Ugh. Waste of a day and a tank and a half of gas.
  7. OP

    cndnflyr New Member

    Hahaha! Not funny at the time I'm sure. I'm afraid that might be me in a few days :) Oh well, I can't turn away now. We've bundled the trip in with a visit to family so the disappointment won't be too acute if it doesn't work out.
  8. Larry Meyer

    Larry Meyer Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    According to Ken Solway’s book, Chestnut did make some fiberglass canoes in the last few years of doing business, after it was sold to Lock-Wood. He also lists some fiberglass canoe molds that were in their possession when the last of Chestnut’s assets were being sold at the very end to pay off creditors. These molds, unlike their wood canvas canoe forms, were considered to have no value and so likely found no buyers. Two of these molds were 16 footers. I’m guessing that the total production of Chestnut fiberglass canoes was very small.
  9. Rob Stevens

    Rob Stevens Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    And of course, it may be that the owners are unfamiliar with standard wood-canvas canoe construction, so just think they have a fibreglass covered canoe. Another possibility is that it was retro glassed, as many are. Let us know what you find! Photos are always good.

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