Charles River SN 296 17


Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes
Found this SN on the both stems. 296 17 The rest of my information is on the history forum under new member. vatwood
The serial number 296 does not appear in the Old Town, Kennebec, or Carleton records so those resources will not be able to help identify your canoe. It appears that none of the Charles River builders' serial number records have survived. Dan's information at will probably be your best resource on line. You mentioned wide thwarts and that the "decks and thwarts appear to be Birdeye Maple" in your other post so that and the low serial number are more likely to be from a Charles River builder than one of the larger Maine builders.


I offered to help vatwood post these photos of this canoe.


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A couple more...

Here are a couple more photos.


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Serial Numbers

Here are a couple of numbers for comparison.

The first is Robertson - the 2nd - Arnold


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I cleaned up one deck and brushed on some spar. Any one know the age of this canoe? On a canoe like this what is the train of though? As far as restoration. I am just into my first project and it's only half done. Their are some things I see I don't know if they need replacemnet or repair. Like on the decks. One has about a 12" crack. Some hair line crack in other places. Is filling OK or replacing something that maybe 100 years old? Ideas?


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Robertson was building canoes in the Charles River area in the 1880s, and was building canvas canoes certainly by 1895. Robertson and many of the other CR builders (Arnold, Kingsbury, Crandell, e.g.) built canoes, basically in the same form, right into the 1940s.

With spectacularly figured decks like yours, I'd be inclined to try to save them if possible. If you can pull the cracks closed while the decks are on the canoe, you may be able to glue them back together with epoxy. Some dutchmen applied from the backside might also be helpful. If the cracks are due to shrinkage, you may not be able to pull them together. In that case, gluing in thin splines followed by dying the splines to match may be an option. Those short cracks near the coaming in your photo I probably wouldn't even bother with. Judging from the repairs at the tips, I expect you'll also have to scarf in new tips.

I would consider replacement with new wood a last resort. And, if this option is excercised, look long and hard for good figured wood to use.