Kennebec outwale strips

Gil Cramer

The wooden canoe Shop, Inc.
Does anyone know if Kennebec installed very small, apprx. 1/4" X3/8", strips under the "D" shaped outwales on some of their canoes in the 1920's? I have come across both strips and evidence of strips nailed below the outwales on 3 different Kennebec canoes. All have had "D" shaped outwales. Both Kennebec canoes now in the shop have either a strip or nail holes in the correct locations. One was built in 1920 and the other in 1923. I don't know when the third one was built since it left before there was easy access to the Kennebec records.
I just finished an early 20's Kennebec (formerly with sponsooons). It has the strips that you talk of. I don't know why they are on there. I can only guess that the "D-wale" thins down so much that it is possbile for some not so smooth stuff to show up under the wale tips. The strips would have been a subtle way to cover the rough areas under the tips. Only a thought......
I will probably re-install the strips, bright.

PS: Gotta learn how to make those D shaped wales someday......
Mine too

My 1921 Kennebec has the strips also. It is not a sponson canoe. I first thought they were added to hold on failing canvas but that was not the case. The canvas was still tight along the gunwales so I presume it came from the factory that way. I've owned the canoe for years and have yet to restore it. It hangs waiting its "hour of resurection." I'll try to take a picture or two this weekend.


The 1921 catalog from Kennebec show the strips. See attached picture.

Dick Persson
Headwater Canoe Company


  • 1921-Kennebec-catalog-pictu.jpg
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Good to see you at the QWS. You work too hard though!:rolleyes: So, is the consensus that the trim under the outwales are decorative? Kinda nice touch, if I do say so myself.:) :D :) :D :) :eek:
After Dick posted the photo showing the underwales from the 1921 catalog, I pulled the other old Kennebec catalogs in the historian file. Yes, I know, I should have looked there first. None of the other photos that I found showed the detail as well as that one. It appears that the pieces are both decorative and functional as they provide a better seal than the outwales alone. These canoes also have gunnel caps covering the inwale deck joint.