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Reliving the past

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by Hunter Gee, May 10, 2021.

  1. Hunter Gee

    Hunter Gee Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Thanks for letting me join. Hoping for some suggestions from you knowledgeable folks.

    In my 70th year.
    Decided to buy an old wood canvas canoe to fix up enough to paddle around Quetico Provincial Park, reliving my student days.
    Also, covid lockdowns make a person do things they never thought they might.
    The canvas is fair enough that I simply gave it two coats of good quality paint. For now. Will likely replace it and sand down the hull this winter.
    The outwhales were totally rotten, due to the previous owner's mistake of leaving it on the garage floor for the winter while he was in Florida. Now removed. The decks are no hell, but will make it through this summer.
    Have purchased new ash outwhales and am in the process of dry fitting as I speak. My first question: Why don't more canoe builders attach their screws from the inwhale side in the middle of the canoe, to avoid any possible hand contact with edges of any kind?
    I understand the necessity of working from the outside at both ends, but what are the downsides of producing true "rubrails" where we will be paddling?
     
  2. OP
    OP
    Hunter Gee

    Hunter Gee Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Further to the above, my canoe is 14' 2" long with no visible sign of who built it. There have been at least 2 previous owners that I am aware of. How can I tell how old it is?
    I'd like to maintain its original style, but if it was just a back yard build, maybe not so important?
     
  3. OP
    OP
    Hunter Gee

    Hunter Gee Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Here's my third post. If I understand the forum rules properly, I should be able to provide you with some images after this.
    Hopefully, then someone can reply to my questions.
    Thanks in advance.
     
  4. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    Pictures will help... Stem profile, deck shapes, seats, gunwales, stems, all can provide clues.
     
    Hunter Gee likes this.
  5. ticonderoga

    ticonderoga "Just one more"

    Welcome! I never gave much thought to what side the outwales were screwed on from because all my canoes (a bakers dozen)are from the outside in. Then I got a Rushton Indian and they are attached from the inside rail to the outside, and what difference it makes in the looks and feel while paddling. From now on all my restorations with new rails will be screwed from the inside out.
     
  6. OP
    OP
    Hunter Gee

    Hunter Gee Curious about Wooden Canoes

    pklonowski, I'm still figuring out this posting to a forum thing. Here goes...
     

    Attached Files:

  7. OP
    OP
    Hunter Gee

    Hunter Gee Curious about Wooden Canoes

    This photo gives a better sense of the inside of the canoe
     

    Attached Files:

  8. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    I can't identify it, but somebody here should be able to do that.

    Looks like someone moved the seats toward the center. It also looks like it might have seat mounting holes more toward the ends, away from both seats? I've seen tandem whitewater canoes set up that way, though whitewater is not my forte (I live in the flatlands). The lack of a keel could also indicate moving water use, though it's also a personal preference for many, even on flat water.
     
  9. OP
    OP
    Hunter Gee

    Hunter Gee Curious about Wooden Canoes

    In the hopes of identifying the canoe, here are some better (closer) images as suggested by pklonowski.
     
  10. Dan Miller

    Dan Miller cranky canoeist Staff Member

    The heart-shaped decks and truncated inner gunwales suggest this canoe was built by the Bastien Bros, of Village de Huron (now Wendake).
     
  11. OP
    OP
    Hunter Gee

    Hunter Gee Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Thanks Dan
    I will check into that company.
     
  12. OP
    OP
    Hunter Gee

    Hunter Gee Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Dan, thanks but I don't think it was Bastien Bros now that I have researched their boats. Did I mention that it is only 14' 2" long and 33" beam?
    The new avatar is a closer image, with possibly the original seats. The rawhide is VERY old, with many coats of varnish making them very hard.
    About the outwhales:
    I have kept them clamped to the hull for the past 4 days in the hopes that they will take on some of the bend. Now that it is warmer (highs of 20c or 68f), I am spritzing them with water 3x daily. Am I kidding myself?
    Any thoughts?
     
  13. OP
    OP
    Hunter Gee

    Hunter Gee Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Here are some pix that I thought were already posted 20210511_084224.jpg 20210511_084323.jpg 20210511_084612.jpg 20210511_084300.jpg 20210511_084248.jpg
     
  14. Todd Bradshaw

    Todd Bradshaw Sailmaker

    Can I ask a dumb question?
    Well sure Todd, that never stopped you before. :D
    Just looking at the photos, my first reaction from the start has been "Is this really canvas?" because the lumpy nature of the outside surface sure looks a lot more like a bad glassing job to me. What does the outside surface feel like Hunter? Can you see any cotton fibers at the edges?
     
  15. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    I'd go with Dan on the builder...it has the look and typical marks of a Bastien Huron boat, including those babiche seats you mention. A 14 footer was one of their common offerings. Follow the link in Dan's signature to the Wooden Canoe Museum to read about these builders or follow this link to Bastien Bros on Dan's site....Bastien Brothers | Wooden Canoe Museum
    I'm also with Todd on the "dumb" question...it looks like whoever massaged the decks and slapped those bits inside to true up the planking also glassed it.
    Your outside rails , they look a bit chunky but regardless they should pull into place without too much effort. The hull is not particularly high on the ends. Think about the direction of the grain, use lot's of clamps and or give them some steam.
     
  16. OP
    OP
    Hunter Gee

    Hunter Gee Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Thanks for your help Dan, Todd and MGC.

    I'm going with Bastien based on your thoughts. Ironically, I bought it from a guy named Bastian!

    The babiche seats are pretty crusty - I'm thinking of re-doing them in webbing like the bow seat. Btw, the third smaller seat was positioned in the stern, behind the larger babiche seat. Maybe for a small child or a small dog? Not sure if I need that one put back in at any rate. Did Bastien Bros. actually make a third seat for that purpose?

    The glass vs canvas question should be settled by these two images attached. I do believe this old, crusty canvas just looks like glass. Now that you see these pix, would you agree? It will be coming off this winter, but I am hoping that my recent paint job will hold it together for this summer's paddling. (assuming our government will even let us out on the lakes) Pretty sure that the bumps are a result of age and lack of careful storage. The hull may need some serious sanding at the same time.

    Now, about the outside rails: I am glad to hear you call them chunky, MGC. I bought them like this and have not done any sanding or shaping as of yet. Should I do some of that prior to attaching them? My thinking is that a good 25-30% of the wood will come off before applying spar varnish. They need to twist in two directions, so my thinking is to take off as much as is prudent prior is a good idea. Yes?

    Cheers,
    John (Hunter Gee) 20210514_124914.jpg 20210514_125004.jpg
     
  17. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    Hi John...you are right. It's canvas. That's the better alternative for sure.
    I can't answer your seat question but it looks like the one that you say is smaller and stern mounted might be the original seat. Does the current stern seat fit in the bow? There are extra holes in the rail (on both ends) marking the original seat locations.
    I don't know if you have paddled while sitting on that webbing? I prefer the babiche. The nylon kind of grabs your bottom and keeps you from being able to slide around on the seat without lurching out of the seat to pull away from the webbing.
    I don't own one of these boats but someone watching this forum might be able to provide you with the correct dimensions for the outside rails....or I can measure the ones on my 14 foot Chestnut. They should be close to correct.
     
    Hunter Gee likes this.
  18. Todd Bradshaw

    Todd Bradshaw Sailmaker

    OK, That's good, and removal and re-covering will be a lot easier than un-glassing and then re-covering would have been. It must just be a really lumpy filler job.
     
    Hunter Gee likes this.
  19. Dave Osborn

    Dave Osborn LIFE MEMBER

    Or a lumpy hull.
     
    Hunter Gee likes this.
  20. OP
    OP
    Hunter Gee

    Hunter Gee Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Dave, I think both you and Todd are correct. Lumpy on both counts likely. The canvas was cracking badly when I bought it.
    At any rate, that is for later. I will be working on shaving the inside of the new gunwhales enough to have it fit better. They were originally milled to go on a Fletcher canoe (from Atikokan). So, they are a bit on the hefty side for this Bastien Bros baby.
    My hope is to get one side on today. Trying not to rush the process, so as to make a mistake that I will regret later. What do you think about leaving them slightly over-sized so that when I get to smoothing that lumpy exterior later, I won't find the outrails to be too small?
     

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