Adelaide is done


Wooden Canoes are in the Blood
I have finally finished the Crandell I have been working on for two years. Attached are a few pictures. When the weather improves I’ll take some better ones. Frequently Crandells are stamped “H.E. Crandell, Worcester, Mass.” at the ends of the thwarts and on a metal tag tacked to the bow deck. This Crandell is completely unmarked with the exception of the serial number, 17 361, which is faintly stamped on both stems. Prior to starting work on it I brought it to the WCHA Assembly in 2007 and the general consensus was that it is a Crandell based on the deck shape, thwart shape, general form and dimension.

After stripping the purple and orange paint I replaced two ribs, the tips of twelve others, 8” of each stem, 14” of the ends of both inwales, both seat frames, and several feet of planking, mainly in the ends. Gunwale caps and side caps were replaced as well as the outside stems, canvas, varnish etc., etc. I deviated from convention in that I painted rather than varnished the outside stems and I did not bend the brass stem band over the top of the stem as is commonly seen. I saw no reason to cover up my perfect gunwale cap joint with the stem band. I also lowered the bow seat an inch because this canoe is very tender on center. The scroll work on the canoe was applied with an air brush rather than the conventional hand brushing. The air brushing was the only work I did not do myself.

The canoe is named “Adelaide” after my paternal grandmother. She, my grandfather, my father and his siblings spent my weekends camping and canoeing prior to WW2. I’m sure she would approve.

I wish to thank our former president Bill Conrad for the photos and dimensions of his marked Crandell which were helpful in recreating the correct seat frames.

Prior to the addition of the scroll work I re-launched this canoe at Gilford Pinchot State Park on Columbus Day weekend with the Delaware Chapter. In the water this canoe is a rocket, it really moves. With a pair of competent paddlers it would give the high tech Kevlar carbon fiber crowd a run for their money.

Jim Clearwater


  • 12-16-09 005.jpg
    12-16-09 005.jpg
    550.9 KB · Views: 456
  • 12-16-09 002.jpg
    12-16-09 002.jpg
    576.3 KB · Views: 437
  • 12-16-09 004.jpg
    12-16-09 004.jpg
    273.2 KB · Views: 426
  • 12-16-09 006.jpg
    12-16-09 006.jpg
    259.7 KB · Views: 396
  • Crandel013.jpg
    652.4 KB · Views: 411
  • Crandel 012.jpg
    Crandel 012.jpg
    612.7 KB · Views: 401
I need to make new caps and outer gunwale strips for my White, can you explain the process to some extent?

Very nice ride Jim! Thank you for sharing the photos.
Thank you

Thank you everyone for your nice comments.

The paint color is a 50/50 mix of two Kirby greens, now forever known as "Clearwater Green."

Gunwale caps. This is how I did it, don't know how it's supposed to be done.
I knew the gunnwale cap was supposed to cover the entire width of the inwale plus overlap the side cap slightly, but not completly. So in order to determine the correct width of the top cap the side cap needs to be installed first. I ripped strips out of a clear Sitka Spruce board of the correct thickness, sanded them smooth. (Tip: measure twice, it's really annoying when the strip is an inch too short *@&#!!) Using C clamps I clamped short wood blocks on top of the inwale so I would be able to gage how high to pull up the side cap as I tacked it on. I did not want to end up with a gap between the side cap and the top cap. I started in the center, working toward the ends, bending it dry. The blocks provide a fulcrum to pull against also. At about five feet from the ends you have to steam them to avoid breakage. I accomplished that using a flexable hose, teapot and Coleman stove. I left the caps stick beyond the stem. I should mention that I tappered the side caps from the full width to about 1/2" wide at the ends for the final 18" or so before I steamed them. It looks better that way. The top cap is more difficult. On this boat it tapers from the boat center all the way to the ends where it takes an 'S' curve around the deck. I elected to do the taper on the bench. I measured the required width at several points along the canoe and transfered them to the stock. Using a block plane I cut the taper. Again I started tacking it on at the center working toward the ends bending it dry. Steaming again is required for the final quarter. At the stem I clamped the four pieces (both side caps, both top caps) together until they were dry. I then cut the joint where they are suppose to mate with a back saw and a chisel. After they were nailed in I cut for length and cleaned it up. The finished top of the outside stem was done at this time too, so everything fit right. I should point out that I measured out and marked the tack locations before I started so they would be spaced evenly. The chamfered edges were done after the caps were installed. This was accomplished over several days. I found it very stressful. I needed a cold bottle of "Stress Management" every day.

There, clear as mud.

I'm out of town and away from this machine until Saturday so if you have questions you'll have to wait.

Stay warm,
Jim Great job on the Crandell! Looks like that two years of effort paid off. Bill
Jim-- What a beautiful tribute to your grandmother! Adelaide is lovely. Your paint colors are similar to what we plan for our Morris Molitor-- only reversed. I'm hoping I won't spoil everything by attempting fancy scrollwork-- but canoes such as this beg for that sort of decoration, and I admire the courage it must take to risk a beautiful paint job with the possibility of globbing-up the fancy trim.

And Gilford Pinchot would approve of such a craft in his park-- we know he paddled wood/canvas.

Beautiful canoe....really love the paint job....thanks so much for sharing....and a fitting tribute indeed to your grandmother....but I thought messing around with canoes was a form of "stress management" LOL LOL (guess I'll need my own bottle of that when I start into restoration of my own LOL LOL)
Beautiful job Jim. Love the color scheme.

I'm going to have to get myself one of those "Courting" style canoes so I can try my hand at that scrollwork. I don't think it would look "quite right" on one of my Huron's or Greenwood's.
Thank you

Thank you everyone for your compliments. It was a fun project. I promised the kids I would finish some projects in the house so the next canoe will have to wait a few months. I will bring the Crandell to the Assembly next July.

Stay warm,
Jim C.