Another one bite's the dust

on dear

I have made canoe bookcases from scratch, and have no ill feelings against them but this is quite unfortunate. But it's his so he can do what he wants, i suppose. If only we had know in time for an intervention. Perhaps we could've save him. Oh well.
I suppose I should contact the seller and let them know that I would have paid 10X his shelf price for the canoe as was and saved him the hassle of cutting it in half and making the shelves to fit.:p

I am checking to see if he has the rest of the parts. It may be possible to re-assemble it.

What a waste.
For best results make sure I am still in it.
Dont know how you would go about joining a cedarstrip, not exactly staggered planking. Bring it to Killbear, we'll recycle it next year.:p
OK so I bought the half shell....

what am I suppose to do paddle it real fast :D ! I'm newly very interested in wooden canoes and this is my first "restoration", however it looks like it's gonna be a .... dare it say it...bookshelf :eek: !

It is possible to identify the maker from what I have? I have searched the net everywhere. I'll re-post some pics. Please don't spam me cause I bought a very cool looking canoe half. If its any consolation I did pay less than $100.

What is the difference between planking and stripping? To my eye this looked like planking (six per side).


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You describe your half-canoe correctly. It is planked in the smoothskin lapstrake style, with overlapping planking edges thinned so that they make a smooth hull inside and out. The original Craigslist photos and text made it appear to be a strip-built canoe, which was common from Canadian makers- strip-planked hulls were made up of many narrow longitudinal planks.

The smoothskin lapstrake style was used by multiple builders though it may be best known in canoes from J.Henry Rushton. Without decks, gunwales, etc., it's not as easy to identify who built this one, but it's not built in the typical Rushton fashion and it does have some elements that look Canadian. If no one else posts info right away, I hope to get back to my old catalog files soon.

I wonder if you could get a better photo of the deck from the other half and post it here.

Book Matched

This bookshelf canoe is book matched. Same plank grain patterns and color on both sides. Found evidence of staple holes on sheer edge and stem, one of its reincarnates? I'll contact the other half owner and learn more about his deck. I recall he reconstructed it himself.
Interesting Keel Cross-section

My mystery smoothskin lapstrake canoe shelf has another interesting detail that might jog someone's memory with regard to the builder. I examined a cross section of the internal keel and noticed the previously reported cottony felt-like packing between the garboard joint and also a taped seam of sorts between the garboard and the keel. The bottom of this canvas seam is army green color and the top part that mates with the garboard is whitish.

I enclosed a picture:

Top left is the garboard planking, top right is the taped canvas seam and between the two extending vertically is the cotton packing. The horizontal layers may be confusing as this happens to be a scarf joint in the keel at midship.

Any ideas?


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MGC said:
Fire starter???:D

That is funny :) , perhaps a little Vaseline is needed though!

Another thought just occurred to me; since this is a scarfed joint with at least six screws (on my canoe half), maybe this horizontal seam sealer material is only in the area of the scarf joint, the vertical cottony material between the butt joint of the garboard planks does however run along the full length.

I tried that cotton and vaseline on my last trip and it works great. Maybe a little red cedar throw in, would improve it. Hey...I know where I can get some!:D
The canvas-like seal goes all the way along the inner keel, not just at the scarf joint. I can see the edges poking out in other places along the keel.
Staple marks and left over canvas under the keel just say it was canvased at some point.The caulking cotton was because they spliced the keel, also not original.
Board and Batten were quite common in early Peterbourough area canoes.
If you can't reconstruct it then it Was a Canoe. Now it is a ...
But the canvas "seal" is inside the boat

I probably didn't describe it well and maybe my terminology is not good; the canvas like strip is between the garboard (bottom plank) and the keelson (?), it's not on the outside of the hull. Maybe it was experimental; put the canvas on the inside!:D

What I was hoping for, is that some builder had a unique waterproofing technique or even perhaps patented method and that this little detail would help with identification.

I do hope to put all my canoeing books in it when I'm done! Which may take awhile until I figure out what the deck should look like based on the hole patterns and such.
better pic

Here is another pic of cross section.


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About the Deck of Mystery Canoe

Perhaps I should post this elsewhere, but I'll see if I get any leads. My infamous mystery canoe shelf is moving slowly as this turns into a canoe history project rather than "let's paint this and stick it in the corner" kind of a project. I've cleaned and varnished the exterior of the hull, which surprisingly is much darker than I expected. I'm stymied where it comes to reconstructing the deck. The holes and impression in the patina of the wood are puzzling to me. I posted a picture of my nicely varnished shell and pointed out the through-the-hull screw holes (all of which are below the outwale). Also note the rib tops that are cut about 1/2 inch below top of sheer plank. I'm guessing these holes support crosspieces or carlins. If you include the cut rib tops it seems like a long long deck.

Then there is the screw hole in the hull (five inches below sheer top) which appears to support a seat cleat or rail. It is about 44 inches from the stem and is a single hole per side with a 1 inch square patina impression. Following this toward the stem are three much smaller holes in the ribs. I guessing the larger holes supported a block or crosspiece (thwart) that supported the front edge of a seat and the smaller holes held a rail to support the rest of the seat.

Appreciate any thoughts. Look like a builder you know? Long deck or smaller one with thwart? Thanks for advice so far.

...each rib is approx. 4 inches OC just for dimensional reference.


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Clinching Pattern

Here are a couple of pics showing the clinching pattern of the hull on my mysterious cedar smoothskin lapstake canoe with 1/2 round oak ribs 4 inches OC. Note as there are three different sizes of clinch nails and as you approach the garboard planks the middle size nail is used to nail to the ribs as opposed to the largest size elsewhere.


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it's finished

I didn't learn the maker yet but I will. What I did learn was that I have a lot to learn about canoe (shelf) restoration :).

I found bending kiln dried wood not fun at all. Steam bending it twice seemed to help. As does using an old windsurfing mast to steam a full length gunnel. Did I say old....I still use it.:eek: I also learned that if you don't use jigs or clamps, things don't go together the way you want.

The digital picture frame on the lower shelf plays pics taken on our Adirondack Canoe Journey this past summer. The pack basket and paddles were the twins when they were just babies. The blue Van Briggle vase is starting to look like a water droplet blowing in the wind. I think I'll leave it there.

Happy Paddling!


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