I suspect Peterborough, though, no identifying marks. Many pics to help.


Old Soul
Firstly, It is great to be back on the forums. I was active 20 years ago when I built my first stripper. I've attended many of the assemblies at Paul Smith's and had the pleasure of meeting Ted Moore, and he signed my copy of Canoecraft. I wasn't able to make it this year, but was happy to see that it was indeed at Paul Smith's with that location being in question. I hope you are all well and happy.

As of this morning, I have this canoe in my shop. An intern of mine from a few years back has taken on the project, and as he is away on summer cruise at SUNY Maritime, asked if I could help him get a jump on the restoration while he's at sea.

I've included pictures. My first item of business has been doing an inventory of what he has disassembled. I've clamped the decks, outwales and outer stem together for pictures, There are no inner or outer stems in the other end of the canoe. The way the keel, inner and outer stems connect may help with identification.

Another unique construction method to note is that the strips are nailed down into one another vertically, as well as nailed to the ribs. I've never seen this before.

If I can establish a model, that will help me set parameters for shoring up this craft to build back the structure to its original width, and depth etc. The main keel is broken in the center as well. I do have a current length measurement of 15', width of 36" and approximate hull depth of 16" at center.

I look forward to hearing everyone's thoughts on who the manufacturer may be, and perhaps an approximate age.

Thank you so much!


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I know more about sailboats than canoes. Edge nailing was common in strip builds years ago, before epoxy took over. My 39' strip built ketch is edge nailed with bronze ring nails, glued with resorcinol. Planks are 1.25" square.
Thank you for your reply! Sounds like your ketch is significantly more stout than this old girl. These strips are only 1/4" thick and nailed down through that thickness vertically, through the 1" strip, down into the next. No signs of adhesive used in the bead and cove. I think this is from the era of boats filled with rocks and sunk to swell. It was also stored upright in a boathouse with a leaky roof for years, and was fiberglassed and painted at some point (now removed).
A few more pictures and thoughts. Most Peterborough All Wood canoes I've seen here have half-round ribs. This boat does not. (see picture for rib profile) The ribs are also 4"OC, which seems a wider interval than most makers I've researched here. The combing for the deck is beaded. Something else noteworthy is that the keel is one piece and is rabbited to receive the wide plank on either side before the smaller strips begin. At the sheer, there is a wide plank making up the last 3-4 inches of the boat's hull. In my original pictures there is a faint outline of the name "DOROTHY", which seems to be where brass letters were nailed into place. My thoughts now, are that this was a rowing skiff, and not a canoe. Does the rib profile look familiar to anyone? More trapezoid shape than rounded.


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This canoe is very similar to a St. Lawrence River Skiff, Canoe and Steam Launch Company canoe that I re-ribbed a couple winters ago.
Thank you! Most of what I see under that company name and other names that company became, it looks like mostly lapstrake construction. I would venture to guess that a bead and cove method of construction would come later in the progression of methods. I did see some early documentation of tongue and groove strips and even ship lap by some makers but not bead and cove in the early 1900s. This boat needs what it needs, but I'd feel better knowing what I'm trying to produce, given that so mush of the structure is gone here. I didn't disassemble the boat, and would like some original dimensions to shoot at. I'm working on getting some pictures from before disassembly by the person who began the work. I'll post them as soon an I receive them!
Bead and cove construction dates back to at least 1888 when it is presented in the 1888 A. Bain & Co. catalog. A. Bain was the predecessor to the St. Lawrence River Skiff, Canoe and Steam Launch Company. The name change took place in 1888, and the name changed again in 1895, so that defines the seven-year period during which the canoe I worked on was built.

There is also a strip-built bead and cove decked sailing canoe built by A. Bain in the collection of the Antique Boat Museum.
Dan, or others, is it safe to assume this was an all wood boat? Also, have you ever encountered strips being nailed down into eachother? The method is used throughout, seemingly an original construction method, rather than a previous attempt at repair. During its life, the hull has been fiberglassed. It has since been removed, but did it's damage making much of the planking punky and in need of replacement. the boat was stored right side up, and under a leaking roof for some years. Unfortunate.
Yes, it is an all-wood canoe. And yes, the strips were edge-nailed as well. You can see a number of these nails poking out in this image.

Outstanding! Yes, the nails are showing in places on this skiff as well. There are a few scarf joints similar to what is pictured as well. Thank you so much for your help with this identification!
Dan I appreciate your help with this identification. The client has accepted my proposal to reproduce this skiff in its entirety. I've reached out to the Antique Boat Museum in Clayton by phone on a few occasions. I haven't had a human answer, and I've left messages at a couple of extensions with no calls returned. I want to visit the museum to view examples of A. Bain skiffs that they show in their collection on line. I'd like to photograph, take notes, and get a feel for certain aspects of a fully assembled example.
The client's skiff pictured above is in such disrepair that it isn't holding its shape well enough to be able to properly take lines from it. I can manipulate its shape, and shore it, for doing so, but have no reference to aim for when shoring. Any advice?
I'm happy to say, I've just re-joined as a member of WCHA after too long. even threw a t-shirt in the cart.
I'm currently shoring the skiff in preparation for taking lines from her and the main variables I have are;

1. Should the keelson should be straight the full length. I'm currently taking measurements with the skiff upright, measuring up off the top of the keelson inside to a laser level. The boat is level, stem to stern taking reading off of the top of each inner stem. I'm getting a measurement 1" lower in the center. The keelson has a clean break where it is showing the 1 inch difference.

2. What the beam might have been. Relaxed as it sits, the beam measures 41" midship. I know these skiffs had a wider beam at the sheer line than canoes, but I can easily manipulate this measurement as there are no seats, thwarts or any support across for the entire length of the boat besides the decks. All but one of the ribs are broken, no helping matters. The rib breaks at the keelson do seem to realign when I use a bar clamp to "close the beam" making the width narrower using a bar clamp. We are talking a 4" to 5" difference in beam when clamped though. I can shore it anywhere in that range, but don't want to be far off from what would have been original. My goal is 32nds of an inch increments to loft curves. I need to get the inches close first!
You may have a St. Lawrence Boat Works product. The thing that jumped out right away (in addition to some of the other characteristics), was the nailing pattern - at one rib only every other plank is nailed on, then at the next rib the alternate set of planks is nailed on. Do you have the kingplanks for your canoe? The tag may have been there so if you have them you might find a rectangular ghost and the four nail holes from the tag's mounting. Even if you don't have the kingplanks, look four holes in a rectangular pattern centered across the bow deck panels.

See the threads below for a canoe that is built in the same manner; it is tagged as a St. Lawrence:

The founder of the St. Lawrence Boat Works previously worked for for the St. Lawrence River Skiff, Canoe and Steam Launch Company, so that may explain the similarities (as Dan said, though, perhaps this was made by the St. Lawrence River Skiff, Canoe and Steam Launch Company).
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Dan I appreciate your help with this identification. The client has accepted my proposal to reproduce this skiff in its entirety. I've reached out to the Antique Boat Museum in Clayton by phone on a few occasions. I haven't had a human answer, and I've left messages at a couple of extensions with no calls returned.
The ABM is, once again, without a curator. The storage building is open to the public a couple days a week in the summer, but I don't know if it extends into September.
Thanks Dan, Thanks Michael,
Yes, I did receive an email back from Rebecca Hopfinger yesterday and she copied her staff in her reply to me. I had seen the curator position posted before I emailed her, so I sent my message with the understanding that they are short staffed. I'll check out the linked threads above and do some further investigation. The alternating plank nailing is an interesting parallel. I do have the king planks and there are no signs of there being a name plate. No fastener holes or signs of a ghost outline of a decal of any kind when I carefully stripped them. Later companies that followed A. Bain proclaim with exuberant pride that if the boat doesn't bare their nameplate, it isn't from their company, leading me to believe it isn't a later company. The "Liliypad" oar locks and flag hardware are a dead on match tot he 1888 A. Bain Catalog's offerings, though I would venture to guess those styles were used earlier and, perhaps later. Comparison pictures attached.
Oarlock Resized.jpg
Flag Trim Resized.jpg
Those are excellent matches to the catalog drawings. Hardware can narrow things down but it may not be definitive. Often, the same or very similar hardware and other accessories were offered by more than one builder. I always consider hardware, but trust more in the details of the woodworking. About the tag, sometimes canoes were sent out without builder identification; perhaps tags or decals had run out at the time, or a canoe/boat was built to be sold by another entity such as a department store or outdoor equipment supplier. These things can be frustrating. They can make solving the mystery more challenging, but more fun.