Charles River Courting Canoe-- whose?

Kathryn Klos

squirrel whisperer
I'm posting this for a WCHA member who sent me pictures, hoping I'd recognize his canoe. It appears (to me) to be by one of the Charles River builders, and I thought someone out there may be able to narrow it down a bit better.

It has a serial number-- 912 (I didn't receive a picture of that however). Decks are 3 1/2 and 4 1/2 feet. Closed gunwale. Outside stem fits into a rabbet. Pictures make other aspects obvious.

Any observations appreciated-- the owner desires any feedback from the group--



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Hi Kathy,
It would be nice to see a few more photos of additional details, but I think it is fair to say we can't get much beyond Charles River Builder with this canoe. And I think important to reinforce with the owner that it is a good conclusion to know that, and not to be concerned if it is a Waltham, Arnold, Kingsbury, Robertson...or any other specific builder. As we've discussed recently on other posts, many features and details change over time with the same builder and as employees moved between firms the techniques they used moved with them. So very hard to pinpoint a specific builder unless it has a makers badge - but more important - it shouldn't matter. These were all exceptional canoes! Of course I'm biased, but I think all the CR builder canoes were way cooler than anything else. No other canoeing center had as much competition or as sophisticated a buying audience as the Parks and individual customers in the Boston market from 1890 through 1925. The attempts to differentiate their canoes with new high style and premium details (like all mahogany trim and closed gunnels) was unsurpassed and helped push builders in Maine and other areas to offer many of the same or comparable features to sell their canoe to this 'social canoeing' center.
Thanks for showing us this canoe.
measuring decks

by the way - this must be an 18' canoe or the decks look shorter than 56" on one end and 42" on the other. Ask the owner to double check and make sure they are measuring down the center of the kingplank - not down the outwale.
Please update with the length of the canoe too if you can.
Thanks for the input, Ken.

It has occurred to me that having information on measuring a canoe in the "FAQs" section here might be handy.

I think what Ken says is very true and if you went to the Charles River Assembly a few years ago, the difficulty in distinguishing between the various CR builders hits you in the face.

For what it is worth, the thwart on this canoe seems rather crude, and the planking pattern, based on a gut feeling, "feels" rather "modern", but I am not convinced of that. I don't think this canoe is a Robertson, but check the top of the ends of the thwart for a stamp. Post a photo of the serial number. It may prompt a response based on the form of the stamp on the stem.
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