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Pal or Fort?

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by fjalt, Oct 5, 2009.

  1. Dan Miller

    Dan Miller cranky canoeist Staff Member

    What's with all the "F" words coming from north of the border??? Heck, even I listen to Kingston radio!
  2. OP

    fjalt Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Excellent, A picture is worth a thousand words. That looks exactly like my canoe, only mine isn't pretty yet. Mine has double thwarts and the chestnut decals, serial number and red in color. Thank-you for the pictures.
    So, on these canoes are the planking and ribs all white cedar?
  3. davelanthier

    davelanthier Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    White Cedar ribs, Red Cedar planking. Pictures don't do the Red Cedar justice. Here's a few Chestnut Prospector pictures with wide ribs and White Cedar planking/ribs. Note the factory hand caned seats rather than the standard slat seats.

    Attached Files:

  4. davelanthier

    davelanthier Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    Here's a few Chestnut Pal pictures with wide ribs and White Cedar ribs/planking. Seat cane was replaced with 1960's car seat belt material.

    Attached Files:

  5. OP

    fjalt Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Thanks again, the pictures really help. So, now I know that my canoe has red cedar planking on white cedar ribs. The gunwales and thwarts and seats are ash. I know where to locate all the materials that I will need except one and a half inch ribs in white cedar but I could cut down a wider rib which they sell at Northwood. Now if I could find some help in recanvasing the canoe, anybody out there who lives in Washington?
  6. OP

    fjalt Curious about Wooden Canoes

    to keel or not to keel

    So, I've got the canoe stripped and ready to install new ribs and planking. I have two questions:

    1. If I use epoxy on the end of the ribs, won't it show white on the top exposed portion of the rib even with the outwale on?

    2. I can't decide whether to put the shoe keel on the canoe or leave it off. Pros and cons of either way please?
  7. Dan Miller

    Dan Miller cranky canoeist Staff Member

    1. assuming you are using a typical marine epoxy (e.g. West System, MAS), it cures almost clear, and is not noticeable under the varnish topcoat.

    2. IMO, keels are a hindrance. Search the forums for past discussions. Leave it off, you can always put it on at a later date.
  8. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    See if this works: Leave the keel off, but don't destroy it... then if the next owner wants it, they can have it.
  9. davelanthier

    davelanthier Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    Just to be the Devils advocate--- the shoe keel will probably quickly distort to render itself useless if you don't re-instal it. I have several snake looking ones in the firewood pile. Further, ribs become fragile with age so the keel helps to protect them even though it is only about 1/2" thick. Because it is so thin it won't hamper the canoe handling to any degree. Finally, interior rib/keel screw holes are unsightly without the nice brass screws. Keep it original, instal the keel.
  10. Andy Hutyera

    Andy Hutyera The Red Canoe Guy - Life Member

    If those screw holes bother you, just cut off a bunch of screws and epoxy them into the holes. I'd personally just ignore them. They won't hurt a thing and after a bit really won't be that noticeable. For what it's worth, I'm also of the no keel crowd. The only time they come in a bit helpful is on big water in a wind. I own a bunch of canoes. Only one has a keel and it is always my last choice. For solo canoeing I think they are a real impediment.
  11. Andre Cloutier

    Andre Cloutier Firestarter. Wicked Firestarter.

    I'm with Dave on this, my favorite paddler has a shoe keel, not much of a nuisance and I'm typically solo. Plus being lazy I like to drag it over beaver dams and such so its a benefit. But if you just cant have a keel Andy's suggestion is a great one. I couldnt look at empty holes in every other rib.
  12. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    I have the original keel from my 1946 Otca in the rafters, and it's still pretty straight. Probably depends more on the specific piece of wood, than whether it's on or off the boat. Guess I got lucky on one!?!?!?
  13. OP

    fjalt Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Keel or no keel

    Well, it sounds like six of one and half dozen of the other. I am leaning toward the no keel option, I tried to see if Mason's canoe on "Waterwalker" has a keel but couldn't tell. What is the best sealer if I do put the keel on? thanks for all the help. Fred
  14. Andy Hutyera

    Andy Hutyera The Red Canoe Guy - Life Member

  15. davelanthier

    davelanthier Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    A "shoe keel " is a lot different than a standard keel. Have you ever used a canoe with one?
  16. Dan Miller

    Dan Miller cranky canoeist Staff Member

    I have paddled canoes that were otherwise identical (my Minetta and Dave McD's Chum of the same vintage) one right after the other. Mine has a shoe keel, Dave's did not. For my style of paddling, there was a very noticable difference, and now that my canoe is needing a new canvas, the keel will not be reinstalled. Empty screw holes don't bother me, and someone can always put the keel back on down the road if they desire.

    The only place where I see a keel as being of use is in a livery setting, where the canoe is regularly slid in and out of a boathouse of off the dock.
  17. Dan Lindberg

    Dan Lindberg Ex Wood Hoarder

    I'm in the leave it off camp,
    I just have a hard time putting holes in a perfectly good, piece of new canvas. :)

  18. Dave Wermuth

    Dave Wermuth Who hid my paddle?

    Ditto that Dan

    And I have no desire to jump from a perfectly good airplane. I recall that about 90% of the OT canoes that left the factory had keels installed. I did a small survey based on posted data in the serial number search thread and extrapolated. Interestingly, the current bent is toward leaving them off, but I cannot say what the percentage is other than a clear majority of those who recanvas. Itd would be interesting to hear from someone who worked in the factory and what the reason is that so many had keels. Interview with a retiree? that would make for a great article.
  19. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    I worked at the factory but all of the people who could accurately answer your question aren't alive any more. My guess is that most canoes shipped with a keel because people ordered them that way. It is slightly easier to keep a canoe with a keel going straight so the skill of the paddler may be a significant factor in the decision. The sale of kayaks with rudders seems to follow a similar pattern. This is not to say that everyone who has a keel on their canoe or a rudder on their kayak is a low skill paddler.

    Last edited: Nov 2, 2009
  20. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    I think Benson's got a good concept, and I also wonder how much of it is due to the European tradition (2000 years plus) that all boats had keels... Did Native American canoes & kayaks have keels & rudders? I haven't seen many myself, but I don't recall seeing keels or rudders. So when European descendants started building canoes, keels may have "seemed missing," and thus got added, whether they were needed or not.

    Or was the keel added as part of sailing rigs, to keep boats going straight?

    Just speculating, on all counts... I have absolutely no information on which this is based.

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