Kennebec Kineo, 1930s

Bob Holtzman

I may have an opportunity to pick up a Kineo from the 1930s - don't have serial number, photos, or other details - yet. Soliciting general opinions -- what do we think of Kennebecs from this era in general, and the Kineo in particular?
I always thought mine was a good canoe. It was quite well built and paddled nicely. It was made from good materials. I would take one of these over an OT from the same vintage if only because they are a bit more uncommon. There are an awful lot of similarities though. Most folks cannot tell one from the other.
But the name is a keeper. How can you beat a canoe named after that priceless little knob over Moosehead? Go for it.
I looked at the Keneo Special today and did not buy it. Hard decision. Here it its:

It's in pretty good shape: needs new canvas and a couple punky spots at one end of the gunwales but nothing serious. It was a couple other things that bothered me. Its current owner had gotten it as a near-basket case, and in renovating it had replaced both stems, so there was no evidence of the serial number. He had written the number down before he tore the old stems out, and done the research (with the Maine State Museum before WCHA got hold of the info.) and ID'd it from 1931. He had the written documentation from the museum, including a transcription of the build record (not a copy of the original). I'm quite confident that he's being honest about it, but I felt that the inability to demonstrate provenance seriously impaired its value as a collectible.

The decks were also replacements, and no name plate. One of the thwarts was clearly replaced, and I suspect both seats may have been too, but the seats and thwarts were replaced prior to the current owner.

Other than that: lack of a center thwart (as original) means that I can't lift it myself. Lovely round bilges -- looks like it would behave wonderfully in moving water.
Probably worth the $700 asking price, but I couldnt' get over the lack of serial #.

Newby foolishness? Smart move?
I have found a temporary carrying yoke with clamps to be a simple solution to the lack of a middle thwart (or a good trailer to carry the canoe upright). It would have been a much more interesting canoe to me as well if the name plate and original stems showing the serial numbers had been preserved. The "value as a collectible" is always exceptionally hard to judge. The message at has more on this topic if you have not seen it already. These are usually very personal decisions so it is always wise to listen to your gut instincts as you have in this case. Good luck with your search,

Benson, Thanks for this input. I re-read the thread "what is my old canoe worth" and it confirmed that the asking price was about right. The lack of center thwart certainly wasn't the deal killer -- just an inconvenience that I noted. Thanks for reassurance about the "gut" factor -- I guess it is, to a large extent, about making yourself happy.
No center thwart

FWIW, I have a OT Charles River with no center thwart. I typically carry it over the shoulder - the center of one gunwale on my shoulder. But it is awkward and I don't go very far with it that way before it gets painful (a few hundred yards or so).