How to get smart (or recanvasing/repair)?


Curious about Wooden Canoes
Hi gents, new guy here. Since building my first cedar stripper in 85' I've been hooked on wooden boats and have a particular love for Canoes. In recient times, I've aquired a mint 15' Stowe (90' Mansfield, Canoe and Snowshoe, Co) canoe. It has scratched my itch ( for now) but left me with the greater rash when it comes to wood canvas canoe projects. :rolleyes: i.e I'm thinking that a restoration of a WC boat in need of a little TLC might make a heck of a winter project AND provide me with a sweet reborn in the process. I don't want to build from scratch ( I think), just learn to replace some ribs, recanvas, refinish etc. I was wondering if there were any good sources that you might recomend to a novice (with canvas/restoration but handy) that might help beyond what I can search up here.
Any advice/thoughts appreciated.
Let the hunt begin!............Where are you located anyway?.....They are around and all it takes is some day trips and side streets....Good luck!
I'm in the SE MAss/ Newport/RI area but willing to drive ( 3+ hrs for my mansfield) for teh right boat at teh right price. Right now, i'm still learning what a "fair price" is on a WC canoe. They seem to vary wildly. I was hopeing to get a decient boat (needs recanvasing and maybe just a cracked rib or two ?) for under $500. I'd appreciate any advice you can give on what to look for and what to pay.
More importantly though, I want to have a feeling of "I can do that" before I take on a project of such magnitude. ( I've got good experience with building boats, just not disasembling/refurbishing old ones. )
Damned these little boats can be addicting!
Be sure to check out our classified ads at - I recall several project boats being listed there. You can also keep an eye on Ebay, but be forewarned that pictures can lie...

As for the "can-do" part, just look for postings on these forums by Eric Beeby about his first restoration.


Hook up with the Norumbega Chapter (eastern MA) for some pointers. We've been known to rib and canvas a canoe as a group project during the winter months etc.

What are you looking for in terms of a boat (builder, length, beam, use etc.??)? We will keep an eye peeled.
Thanks for the info. How would I get in touch? As far as mkae/model, I'm flexable. Something general purpose capable of solo paddling smaller and lighter would be good 13-16', maybe 34-37" beam. Of course, at the right price, i might "need" a 18' freighter ;-)
consider this

""I want to have a feeling of "I can do that" before I take on a project""

if I can do it anyone can. So consider taking on a project BEFORE you have the feeling of i can do that. i still don't have the feeling and I done a few.
Dive in.
The feeling

The FEELING comes in the DOING. You're obviously already hooked so what's the difference? I'm doing my second W/C restoration after a 22 year lull. Still love it! Plan to do a few more. I recommend reading "The Wood and Canvas Canoe" available in the WCHA Bookstore. I have thoroughly read, made notes from and now re-reading sections as the canoe repairs progress so I am constantly prepared and up-to-speed on what to expect. This had been really helpful in making me aware of what to look for in the way of a canoe needing restoration. One look on an ebay photo wont tell you much but it will tell you what the finished lines look like. Take out one plank and 6 new problems reveal themselves. Having been involved in this canoe will make me more discerning when selecting the next one. Get with a club. Go with someone who knows about looking for these things when considering purchasing. If possible. P.S. Start arming yourself with C-clamps now. You will never have enough. Splinter


The WCHA Chapters are listed here:

Get in touch with Steve Lapey. He keeps everyone in the loop via newsletters and email.

His email may have changed. If the listed one doesn't work, let me know.
"Uncle Henry's"

Occasionally a good deal will show up in the Uncle Henry's magazine. I think they are on sale down in MA.
Thanks for all the great info and encouragement. I'm going to sign up as I think this is a great group and a worthwhile addiction:rolleyes: Anyway, I think I found this winters project. Not quite a wood & canvas restoration but 1/2 way there and a worthy project. I picked up a well used (but not abused) 70's vintage 17' Stowe Mansfield last night from StowOwner. He was quite the gent and made me an offer I couldn't pass up. The boats got great lines, enough wood to get me drooling, and nice details in the snowshoe web seats and engraved brass end caps. It has some rot in both the inwales and outwales as well as one of the decks. The ribs show minor wear and some age splitting here and there but nothing major. All the woodwork could really use sanding/refinish. The hull is sound but has a 30 yrs of scuffing/scratching on the gel coat. I figure I'll replace the wales and decks, refinish all the woodwork and then prep and paint the exterior of the hull. ( Assuming I can get the garage cleaned out!) I may even try to duplicate the Stow logo before it's over. In the mean time, I'll take my time and keep my eyes out for a 13-15' wood & canvas project and get smart on the art of restoration. After all, you can never have too many canoes!