Curious about Wooden Canoes
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hello everyone....
I am restoring my father's chestnut canoe but am having difficulty identifying what model it is. I think it is because i am unsure of where to measure.
Its length is 18 feet ( that is its maximum length.... tip to tip.) At its widest point it is 34 inches ( i would assume this is the loaded water line of the canoe). Its depth is 13 inches to the top of the middle thwart and 14 to the top the gunnel.
If only my father was still alive... I'd have all the answers.
Thanks in advance
Hi Rich,

Hard to tell just yet... Seems a little narrow to be a Prospector. It does have that big bulky look though.

A little narrow and a little deep to be a Cruiser.

Could depend on when it was made. Do you have any idea how old it is? Was your father the original owner?

What's the width at the centre at the height of the gunwales? It doesn't appear to have a whole lot of tumblehome so I'm guessing it's pretty much the same?

Is there any chance of getting a picture of the decal on the deck? Sometimes you can guess the approximate age from the Chestnut decals. They have a specific 'look'. That might help with the model.

I'm going to guess it is a Prospector but further evidence may change my mind.

Did it have slat seats or caned seats?

I agree with Dan.

I didn't think that was original at first, but if it is, it must be a an 18' 'Leader'.

I am restoring a 1920 Chestnut Little 14" canoe and have just started stripping the inside. What did you use to get yours to look so good inside. I have just started and only removed the first layer of varnish, any help would be appreciated.
wow... thanks for the replies

i talked to my mom and she has a picture of my brother playing in it around 1959 and she is unsure if they got it new or not. I have attached a picture of the seat and decal. The width at the middle thwart is 33 inches.
i also put a picture of my handy de-varnishing tool. that thing is a marriage saver. the contour edge worked great. I tried at first to just use heat but it was so touchy because to much heat and it wanted to burn and not enough it wouldnt come off. So i gave it two coats of varnish remover and then with my tool and heat gun it came off great... well ok.
and the good news is I found it at Home depot.... 6.00 bucks.
thanks everone


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Found out that was wrong chestnut. Canoe was bought either 1970 or 1971 as my brother raced in it.

I thought it looked very 'early 70s' but I didn't want to question your info.

The decal is kind of a giveaway and the gunwales looked 70s to me.

Nice job on stripping the varnish!


Please post some pictures of your progress as you go. It's always nice to see the progress on a restoration. It'll inspire others as well!

this project

is now going to the capable hands of orca boats to repair broken parts and canvas. I also have a chestnut freighter that is not all busted up that i think im gonna give a crack at the canvas by myself. But ill post the final pictures of the canoe when its done.