Carleton Reconstruction


Curious about Wooden Canoes

I picked up a free Carleton from another member and there really wasn't much left of it. Stems were about 10" nubs sticking out of the debris, no decks, no seats, cobbled up thwarts. The stems DSC_0049.jpgDSC_0207.jpgDSC_0205.jpgDSC_0052.jpgDSC_0062.jpgDSC_0123a.jpg appear original and date the boat to 1914. Carleton number 10121. Just a CS grade with closed spruce gunnels and sponsons (long gone). The type of boat most of you would use for a short term heat source, I'm sure.
I started putting her into shape with ~70 feet of planking and 4 new ribs. The next step became the definition of some stem shape. I made a jig using what little planking, remaining rib tips and stem bits showed to be the stem shape and bent some oak. I don't gather that this boat had high stems and large ends like my 1923 Carleton Indian Princess. This boat had stems that appear to be more Guide boat- ish and flatter and lower. I would like to change some of the cosmetic appeal of the stem and deck and still stay within certain boundries.
I'd like to know what this boat looked like originally. It also appears to have had longer decks at some point or some sort of end coverings that nailed down to the inwales. Any photos of how this boat should look would be appreciated...Here are some shots of before I started and the work I've done in the past couple days.

page-11.gifDSC_0020.jpgDSC_0023.jpgDSC_0290.jpgWith no Guidance, Only the 1914 Catalogue, This is what I've come up with. A Carleton Canoe with Old Town sponson's and Corecell foam sponson ends. A product of an overactive imagination (or too much time on one's hands)? Anyone have an idea as to how the boat gets canvassed and sponsons smoothed in? Almost looks like the boat got canvassed with the sponsons on. Anyone ever heard of that?
Hi Reid,

I'll attach the scan for your canoe although it seems you may already have it, but others here may want to see it. There's no mention of long decks on the canoe when it left the factory, so what you're looking at was perhaps something done to the canoe later on. The picture you posted of the canoe in the Carleton catalog is my best guess as to what it looked like originally. Usually sponsons are canvassed separately before they are attached to the canoe-- they are made of the same cedar planking as the canoe itself-- but some who restore canoes these days will canvas the canoe and sponsons all-together. I'm sure there's someone out there who can give you advice on this. Hope this reply helps!



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    Carlton 10121.jpg
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Hi Reid,

Sorry no one got back to you sooner. Man, that's a heroic restoration. There are a couple of issues but at least you got off the porch and went runnin with the big dogs. First, the sponsons are way up high. They should be about 7/8" or 1" lower or so to allow for the outwale- like the canoe on the right over there. Second, there's no way to canvas properly after the sponsons are on. You really don't canvas the canoe and sponsons separately or together- you canvas them one after another. Normally you'd canvas the canoe, then tack on a strip of canvas maybe 18" wide along the sheer, then screw on the sponsons, and then stretch up and tack and down and tack along the top outside edge of the sponsons. Kinda like zippin the peas back up in the pod. Fill, paint, and add outwales and a cap to cover the outside edge of the sponsons, and you're ready for a dip in the pond.

Also, your sponsons go all the way to the stems like some companies did, but Careltons and OTs had sponsons that stopped short by maybe 8-12". No big deal there.

Whatever the case, you sure saved this old gal from certain death!
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I like to keep on file examples such as this thread, to show those who might believe some canoe is too far gone to deserve any restoration-work-- what you've done with your canoe may save a few from the match-treatment! It's especially admirable that you returned it to being a sponson canoe.

I hope you'll consider writing this up for the journal.
Thank you guys, I was out of town for a few days. I thought that there were early sponsoned boats that had the sponsons up high or flush. I have an EM White and a (thanks to Dan M) Mystery canoe that both have sponsons mounted up high. I also thought that a 1914 Carleton would have closed gunnels. So, that catalogue picture (front view), looked like a closed gunnel boat with a full length rail cap to me. It interested me because of the uniqueness. I think those sponsons go all the way to the stems and they look like they have a big or generous fillet in the catalogue pics. Thanks for the canvassing tip, Pennypacker and thanks for the compliments. My work seems rather crude compared to what I see others doing here. I'm learning alot and enjoying the work. Thanks for the Canoe Card, Kathryn..