Help please


New Member
I just bought an old wooden canoe. The canoe as long round decks, the back one being shorter then the front one. Its in pretty good shape and I can see the serial # pretty well. It is #510 17 Can anyone help me identify this canoe please.

There are many makers of old wooden canoes. A picture is worth a thousand words. We need to see the decks, seats, thwarts and other details to help you.
Last edited:
Ok, here's pictures


Your canoe appears to have the wider thwarts of a canoe by a Charles River builder, or perhaps a builder from elsewhere who took cues from the canoes of the "courting canoe age".

Seats may have been added-- they have sheet caning, held in place by a spline in a groove, rather than hand caning, with holes all the way around the central opening. Some canoes with these more-substantial thwarts were not built with seats--- a free-standing canoe chair was often used (for a lady to recline upon) and the thwart could be used for sitting.

Does your canoe have extended "torpedo" stems? By this, I mean do the bow and stern have a lot of outward sweep? This is a characteristic of canoes built by the Charles River builders--- and other builders too, but I'm trying to put your long decks and heavy thwarts with other characteristics that might help identify it.

It appears that your canoe has been worked on--- the tips of at least one end may have had some rot, which was repaired with a triangular piece. Your canoe originally would have had canvas covering the planking... and often these long-decked canoes with the beautiful thwarts were painted with fancy designs. If you use the "search" function at the top of the page, and type in "courting canoe", you'll probably find some examples of canoes that have been restored with fancy designs and maybe see a canoe similar to yours.

I'm assuming your canoe has been fiberglassed to make it water-worthy, and someone thought it would be aesthetically pleasing to see the wooden planking. But the planking on a canoe that was originally canvassed wasn't meant to be seen, and problems can arise for a ribbed canoe with fiberglass on the outside. If your canoe isn't fiberglassed, then it's ready for canvas and one of those fancy paint-jobs.

Records for most of the old canoe builders don't exist anymore, but sometimes a serial number can help narrow down the builder, especially if we can narrow the canoe down to "Charles River Builders" or another group. For instance, some of the builders didn't use serial numbers at all-- some placed serial numbers on bow stem, some on both bow and stern, or maybe on a rib... and the style of the numbers may vary enough to identify the builder. Some of our members are a lot more knowledgeable about this than I am, but most are whooping it up at our Annual Assembly instead of hovering over a computer... so it may be a few days before anyone chimes in with more thoughts about your canoe.

A profile picture--- showing the extent of the recurve of the bow or stern--- may help determine what you have.

The diamond-shaped plates on the decks are pennant holders.

Nice canoe, by the way!