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Missing Thwart on Ideal Model. Is it the same as Charles River?

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by Brian J Knudsen, Jun 15, 2021.

  1. Brian J Knudsen

    Brian J Knudsen Curious about Wooden Canoes


    I have a 17' Ideal model (1922) with a missing center thwart. I have been told that the Ideal is the same as the Charles River model. Do you know if this is true?

    Also, does anyone have a measurement for a center thwart on either of these canoes for a 17'?

    Thank you,
  2. Greg Nolan

    Greg Nolan enthusiast

    Sorry I don't have the date of the catalog from which the following are taken:

    OT dimensions.JPG
    Old Town ‘IDEAL MODEL’ Canoe”

    Here is a canoe of surpassing refinement and distinction. It is the regular Charles River Model in A. A. Grade, with open mahogany gunwales and fitted with the special feature of Half Ribs. Embodies charm of beauty in appearance and utility. The practical feature of open gunwales and half ribs, with high quality, stamp it as the canoe par excellence.

    The only differences in the specifications listed above between the Ideal and the Charles River are the weights -- the Ideal is 2 pounds heavier -- probably because of the half ribs.

    In her history The Old Town Canoe Company: Our First Hundred Years Sue Audette writes:

    "It seemed that each year the company offered something new. One modification, in particular, was revolutionary: open gnwale construction. This was first seen on the 1907 Ideal Canoe, availablein the AA grade of the 16-foor and 17-foot Charles River models. Prior to its introduction, canoes were all fiished with closed gunwales, and when the boat was stored upside down, water did not drain easily, causing the gunwaless to rot. The new method finished the canoe with inner and outer gunwales, which were rabbeted to cover the top edges of the planking and canvas, leaving the tops of the ribs exposed, thereby creating drainage holes between them. This extended the life expectancy of the gunwales considerably.
    "The Ideal's second new feature was half-ribs between the full ribs. This construction technique became an option on other models and eliminated the need for floorboards to protect the planking. (E.M. White had utilized this technique in the3 early 1890's.)"
    pp. 46-47.

    Sue also reproduced a page from the 1908 catalog:
    Ideal 1908 catalog Audette sm.jpg
    p. 139

    By 1922, when your ideal was built, open gunwales were standard on Old Town Canoes, but the half ribs were only an option except on the Ideal, where they were standard.
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2021
  3. smallboatshop

    smallboatshop Restorers

    $90.00 for a 17 foot "AA" OTCA - bit more today...
  4. Dan Miller

    Dan Miller cranky canoeist Staff Member

    Oh, I've gotten them for less than that. Oh, wait, you meant ready to be paddled... :D
  5. OP
    Brian J Knudsen

    Brian J Knudsen Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Thank you Greg for the catalog picture. This seems like a silly question, but if the canoe has a "Width Extreme" of 34" does that mean the distance from the outside of the two outer rails should be 34?" That would be the extreme in my mind, but perhaps that is the measurement from the inside of each inrail.

  6. Greg Nolan

    Greg Nolan enthusiast

    Your guess is as good as mine -- I would think it means the distance between the outside of the outwales -- but these canoes do have some tumble home, so the wide point of the outside of the hull proper could conceivably be the extreme width. I expect to be in Maine in a week -- I'll take my tape measure to my canoe.

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