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Unknown Chestnut. Project for a 20 year old Student?

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by NWL, Jun 17, 2011.

  1. NWL

    NWL Tripper

    Hello all who read my topic! Im a new member but hopefully I can add to the boards here. Ill spare you from a long bio on how I love all that is canoeing and get down to the point.

    Recently I was given a 16 foot Chestnut for next to nothing. Its beaten pretty bad I suppose and I would love to give it a proper rehab. Im bringing it up to a canoe builder In Algonquin Provincial Park I work with to give it a look over. Ill be spending the entire summer guiding up there so I wont really have any time to do any hard research on it myself. Im a student too so time is tight and money even more so during the next couple of months. My real hope is to get a good price for a rehab job and be in my boat ASAP. Im going to post some pictures of my boat. I looked for the serial number but couldn't find anything. All I know is that its a Chestnut and was built sometime in the 50's. Your advice, thoughts, criticism,etc...would be really appreciated. I love to talk canoe tripping so come at me with routes, rivers, gear, anything. Great to be here.

    PS Im new to posting here so my apologies if I screw up posting pictures


    Attached Files:

  2. OP

    NWL Tripper

    More pictures

    Attached Files:

  3. OP

    NWL Tripper

    Here is even a video I found on my camera. Sorry if it seems like overkill but I figured what the hell. [video=youtube;Pjrne3KFHd0][/video]
  4. WoodNCanvas

    WoodNCanvas LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Most Chestnuts didn't have serial numbers....but are you sure it is Chestnut???? Or could it be another Canadian built canoe???? Maybe a Huron made canoe....just wondering based on spaces in planking....and seats having rawhide (babiche)....maybe others here with more experience have thoughts....if it is a Chestnut, my guess would likely be Prospector....or could be Pal....can't tell much from photos....taking dimensions would help (width, depth)....but from photos canoe needs work....probably a fair bit....might be a while before you're actually paddling it....hard to tell just from photos....but appears needs some ribs replaced....even planking....also depends on stems (usual spot for rot)....also hard to tell overall shape of canoe without seeing photo of complete canoe....or actually seeing in person....I'm sure canoe builder will give better idea. Is the canoe builder you were referring to in Algonquin affiliated with the camp you're guiding for???? If so then that should save you a bit of money....builder could even provide lots of advice, maybe even help....also if you do most of work yourself it'll save money....but I wouldn't rush....take your time and do it right....check out info any questions....see YouTube videos on various aspects of restoration....get The Wood & Canvas Canoe by Jerry Stelmok and Rollins Thurlow.....and Building The Maine Guide Canoe by Stelmok....great reference guides....and check out Mike Elliott's canoe blog on restoration of wood canvas canoes,

    Bottom line is you've got a project....but no matter how long it takes you'll learn a lot and have fun....welcome to the wonderful addiction of wood canoes.
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2011
  5. Larry Meyer

    Larry Meyer Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    Fix canoe?

    Hate to be the one to say this, but from the pix I would not judge this one worth the effort. It needs too much: stems, gunnels, decks, planking, seats. I see evidence of it having been glassed. If this were an example of a rare model, maybe worth the effort, but there are Chestnuts out there much closer to restorability. If you are looking to save some bucks on this one, you won’t. I’m seeing easily over $1200 in materials. You are a young fella and you want to think long term. Looking at this one ten years from now, along with the hole it made in your wallet, I don’t think you will be happy with the decision.
  6. WoodNCanvas

    WoodNCanvas LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Larry's advice is paraphrase a builder/author: 'given a rib, you can build a canoe around it'....but is it worth it???? After reviewing the photos and video again, I think you could do a lot better saving your time and your money (which you said you have little of)....this 'project' will take a lot of time and could buy a much better canoe for far less than the cost of materials alone for the one that you have....spend time with the builder you mention near Algonquin and learn from by doing so....but after reading Larry's post....and looking at the photos you posted again in greater 2 cents now are it would be better to leave your canoe at home....if you got that canoe for free (which I hope you did) you have lost nothing on it yet....but transporting it to Algonquin....getting a canoe builder to restore it....those things will cost you....a quick estimate (based on what one can see from the photos) on restoration done by a pro builder (including recanvas) would be near $2500-3000....likely higher....of course if you did some work yourself that would lessen that amount....but Larry is right, you would be probably better off with a different canoe.

    Don't give up on the wood canoe addiction....and if you do decide to get a different canoe....but need a new home for the one pictured....I think Andre Cloutier might have a possible use for it at the Killbear Paddlers Rendezvous.
  7. Dave Wermuth

    Dave Wermuth Who hid my paddle?

    I do agree that it would be a major project. And for a first project -- a bit intimidating. And I'll stick my neck out. I think it's possible to do it yourself for perhaps $500 in materials if you have the right sources and can mill all the stock yourself. If you pay a pro $2500 to $3000 your canoe may still only be worth $1500-$2000. (And the pro will easily be well worth his fee.) If you have a mentor who can walk you through and you're not too persnickety you should be able to make it into a decent paddler. But then again they do call me Derelict Dave.
  8. webmax

    webmax Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Maybe a Thompson from Alberta

    This canoe looks a lot like one of mine. It's also glasses, has babiche seats and other than the different formed decks, it looks pretty much the same.
    I don't know for sure what mine is, but the best bet is that it's a Thompson Canoe, built in Hairy Hill, Alberta

    There is a post with more images in this forum - click here

    Don't know about fixing it, but it looks like its worth it if you can do the work yourself.


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    Last edited: Jun 18, 2011
  9. Denis M. Kallery

    Denis M. Kallery Passed Away July 3, 2012 In Memoriam

    I tend to agree with Dave Wermuth. If you can find a mentor to help you I see no reason someone of your age should not be able to do this project. The outlay of cash for the materials would be the only drawback. However, should you take this on, and complete it you will have something that will last you a long time, something you will be proud to show and use and will teach you many skills that will serve you in the future. It could even lead to a possible career. Learning woodworking at a young age is a benefit that will keep giving the rest of your life. If you can swing the material cost I urge you to go for it. You can always come to this forum and ask questions. You also can use the search engine and see what other folks did. Go for it and have fun and good luck. Remember - it is to be used and it is not a piano, so if it is not perfect - so what - you've got to start somewhere.
  10. Kathryn Klos

    Kathryn Klos squirrel whisperer

    Bert's B-Day Coming Up

    This may be the place to mention that Bert Morris would have been 145 years old this coming Friday, had he survived like the guys in the Old Testament. He was born in 1866, and when his factory was producing canoes that were sold through dealerships, he was but a lad of 26. He was probably messing about in boats with big brother Charles when he was 20. Just a thought.
  11. WoodNCanvas

    WoodNCanvas LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Wise words Kathyrn....and Dave and Denis might be right about it being worthwhile taking on this project....despite the amount of work long as NWL can afford the cost of materials....and the time involved....and better yet has a mentor to assist with....of course the WCHA forum is always here too....and although I seem to be going back and forth with any advice, really whatever NWL decides is up to him....and whether NWL takes on this project or another one....I just hope NWL is firmly afflicted with the wood canoe addiction....and I look forward to hearing whatever is decided....and seeing any pictures....besides (as Kathryn reminded us all): Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing- absolutely nothing- half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. – K. Grahame –The Wind in the Willows
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2011
  12. Gil Cramer

    Gil Cramer The wooden canoe Shop, Inc.

    Go for it. Start by stripping inside and out with a good methylene chloride chemical stripper. The woodwork is fairly straightforward and the rails have very little upsweep in the ends. Do as much yourself as possible-you'll appreciate it more.
  13. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    Great quote...worth noting that a distracted "Ratty" rammed the boat into the shore short moments later....a favorite line since childhood.
  14. chris pearson

    chris pearson Michigan Canoe Nut

    Don't listen to Gil, he'd restore(or burn) just about anything! Guys, sounds like he doesnt have the time to restore her himself, at least this summer. Its not worth a professional restore, like discussed, do it yourself with guidence from the forum and those that know. Don't think its a quick restoration though, you're talkin some major work, I stay away from it if it were me. I'll let Andre chime in with his lit match icon, just kidding.
  15. Greg Nolan

    Greg Nolan enthusiast

    From the first post -- "Ill be spending the entire summer guiding up there so I wont really have any time to do any hard research on it myself. Im a student too so time is tight and money even more so during the next couple of months."

    Restoring this canoe is certainly feasible, and the benefits that Denis and others describe are real BUT -- if there really isn't "any time to do any hard research" and "time is tight" this may not a project for this summer. It will take a good deal of time to do a reasonable job. And if money is also tight, you should price a couple of gallons of stripper, a few quarts of marine varnish and paint, a large piece of canvas, some brass stem banding, and the various bits of wood you will need. While not extravagantly expensive, these things will add up (don't forget to add tax and shipping when figuring costs), and may well be a budget buster for a student on a tight budget. I'm not saying to not do it, but I am saying you should be realistic about the time and money that will be needed.
  16. chris pearson

    chris pearson Michigan Canoe Nut

  17. John Anevski

    John Anevski Curious about Wooden Canoes

  18. MackyM

    MackyM LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Maybe, but the planking on my Richardson is only about 1.5 inches wide.
  19. Dan Miller

    Dan Miller cranky canoeist Staff Member

    The planking is not correct for a Richardson... Richardson planking is full length and tapered, with no goring.
  20. Glen Toogood

    Glen Toogood Builder/rebuilder

    People that glass a wood/canvas canoe deserve a spot in hell just slightly cooler than the ones who turn them into shelving.

    One thing that can help to get fiberglass off is to scuttle the boat for several weeks, even months. Polyester doesn't adhere to cedar all that well, and allowing water to seep in can help to release it from the wood. The judicious use of a heat-gun and pliers can help.

    The staggered screw holes in the garboards suggest it once wore a shoe keel, it seems to have untapered ribs, and no half ribs. Are the ribs 3/8" or 5/16"? It may be a Chestnut or Peterborough, maybe one of the Pleasure models. The deck isn't convincing though. Can't really see the planking pattern either. Not a Prospector (not big enough and they have tapered ribs), not a Village Huron or Picard (usually with floor half-ribs, gunwale caps and often an arrowhead deck), not a Richardson (planking too wide).

    It is doable, if you have the time and patience.
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2011

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