1939 Kennebec, 17' type B

Craig Johnson

Lifetime member
When I was restoring this canoe I couldn't find any photos of this specific model so here are some stats and photos. It is a 1939 17' Kennebec (make) and Kennebec (model) with type B finish, which is mahogany rails, seats, thwarts, and 20" decks with coaming. It has outside stems which were extra. 33 1/2" widest bilge and outside of gunwales, about 1" tumblehome, it varies. 13" deep. Ribs are 2 1/8 wide with no taper. The seats, coaming, and rail caps were missing when I got the boat. The seats are just a generic guess but I am fairly confident about the caps and coaming,if not the thickness and height, at least the location, as it was obvious from the shadows left by originals. I put the caps on with screws but they were originally copper nails. The diamond escutcheon is original but the mooring ring is wrong. One thing I found odd was the trim was all Honduran mahogany but the thwarts were Philippine mahogany. If anyone has a similar boat I would love to hear about it.


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Lovely restoration and photos! Using that fishing line is a great idea for not visually cluttering the lines of the canoe.

Beautiful, excellent work! The interior blends well with the mahogany trim.
I presume that you stained the interior planking and ribs. If so, what stain did you use?

Yes the inside was originally stained mahogany to match the trim. After I stripped it I did a little sanding and then realized the sanding was removing the stain. I was worried that I would have to sand the whole thing and re-stain it to get it even but luckily I was able to just re-stain the sanded areas and it looked fine. I used a red mahogany rather than a dark mahogany to get a good match.
Phillipine has a lot of whitish streaking throughout the grain pattern and Honduran does not. Honduran has a color and grain that looks similiar to the Redwood of our West coast. Phillipine is also a much denser and therefore is a heavier wood than Honduran that splinters readily and steam bends poorly. Honduran does not have these negative qualities.