looking for a mold

Bill Mackey

LOVES Wooden Canoes
I am currently looking for a mold for a 15' wood canvas canoe. I would like to plank the standard cedar ribs with basswood. Four planks from the keel to the gunwale. Since I live in Colorado the chances of finding one here are remote at best. I will be in Michigan in July 07 and am planning on attending the Assembly in NY. Where might I find a mold to buy or rent for a couple weeks to build the canoe. I am spending the next few months obtaining all the required materials, I already have the basswood. Any help would be appreciated.

whereabouts in Michigan? I know of several near me, including a certain Pond hawk that is slightly over 15' but paddles solo or tandem beatifully. I purchased it from Dan Miller and there is a Cheemaun that isn't being used. More volume. And I think there is a Morris 15' replicate. But I can't speak for any except my own pond hawk. if you are near i am happy to help rough one out. the hard part is all the milling ahead of time.
Reply to Dave

Hi Dave in Lovely Lapeer, I used to live in Romeo, I have a son living in Grand Haven on the west side of the state and another living in Novi. We will be traveling in our vintage Airstream and can camp anywhere convienient.
The mold you have sounds like what I am looking for, I would like a canoe with about 2" of tumblehome so I can heel it over a bit when solo paddeling.
I will be doing all the milling here before we go on the road. If I can get a paper template for the bow stems I can even bend them here. I have built several canoes in the past including: wood frame plywood, firerglass molded, and cedar strip. I would like to try the basswood, it sound so neat. you can email me direct at : www.stagecoach15@msn.com
i have a new untried 15' bob's special. i'm in flint. not sure what you plan though. are you planning on building here or taking one back to col.?
Reply to Bob

I am planning to bring all the materials to MI, will build where most convienient. Either of my sons can provide garage space long enough to get the hull off the mold. I think we can complete that in a week.
pond hawk

I am attaching a photo. Pond hawk, as I recall is 16' x 35" x12"i think.
I don't know if four planks to a side is possible. The usual plank width is 3". And 5/32" thick. It would take a real wide plank and then it'd have to do some remarkable things. You'll need a pick-up or trailer to move the form. It is heavy.


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Reply to Dave 2

Hi Dave,
The planking of basswood is 10 inches wide, 4 planks will easily make it from keel to gunwale. The idea for this canoe comes from a book "The Canoe a liviig tradition" by John Jennings from Firefly Books of Canada. pages 190 -194. They used small ribs and a keelson (inside keel). but research says you then have to add an inside floor to support the weight of the padeler. My Idea is to use the wider ribs used in an OT canoe without the keelson and floor boards. According to the instructions the basswood will bend to the frame using only a hot water rag on the outside surface of the planking. An outside keel should provide enough strength for the canoe. Your canoe is beautiful but I would like to get a 15 footer. I already have 2 18's a 16 and a 14.
Reply to Bob Goeckel

Hi Bob , as you can see from the previious notes the mold in Lapeer is 16', Since yours is 15' I would be interested in getting more info on it. Specifically, the width at the 4" waterline. Since you have never built on it, what are you plans for its use. Would appreciate any info you can give on the hull.
the wl width is supposed to be 33" gunnel 34" depth 13" weight approx 50 lbs. i plan to build on it as soon as i get some time. i was going to wait till spring but with a new form sitting there well............ i am just now getting out the stem mold. as with anything wood the above may vary some. if you type in bob's special canoe in your searchy thing you will get some good pictures and history on it.

I have the book. Xmas present. So I reviewed. Walter Walker no less. So will you be constucting a hybrid? W/c style ribs and wide board style planks? Will the planks be 1/4"? I wonder if it has ever been done? Probably. sounds interesting.
Only thing---Bob is supposed to let me borrow that form too. But first I have to get this Redbird spruced up, and the Penn Yan guide finished. And the Penn Yan Hunter restored. Some day.
good luck with it and post on your project.
This is an interesting project, the wide board on a regular w/c canoe. My only thought about fitting the planking, is the original wideboard canoes were quite a distinctive shape, much along the lines of the all wood longtitudinal strip canoes. they were much finer in the ends, very little rocker. I would think that the shape was somehow a result of the planking used. The wood/canvas canoe with its narrower boards has much more flexibility in possible shapes, although there are definitely some forms that are easier to plank on than others. So it will be interesting to see whether the canoe you pick will work out as a wideboard canoe.
Good luck.
glad you're not too busy to borrow the form dave! hehe i am just about finished with the new morris. putting in the seats and thwarts last night and realized i have not ordered enough bronze bolts from rollin. so i am two bolts short. will get them ordered tomorrow. then be done.
Yes it will be a hybrid

Hey anyone can do it the conventional way, but how will we learn new tricks if noone adventures into new territory. Yes I am planning on 1/4" planking, if cracking becomes a problem I can always canvas or fiverglass over it too make it water tight, but thats plan B only when other things go wrong. Being able to adjust is just part of my flexibility training program. We must always remember Gumperson's Corallaly to Murphy's Law "Murphy was an optimist"
be sure to let the rest of us know.

I think that it makes an interesting concept too. The wide boards may have to be trimmed quite a bit near the ends. Or in the quarters even to get them to lay flat and not distort. But With good trimming it should work. It did before. Not sure about the ribs tho. maybe the nailing pattern should not be the ususal staggered, but in a straight line as if the ribs werre narrow and then more as needed after it's together. I think you will get alot of help at assembly.
It's only a guess

But I am guessing that there is only a problem getting the wide boards trimmed and bent to fit together water tight. Bob, you'd be famous for providing the form that was responsible for a new type canoe.
there are no inwhales so it would come off the form easily. Most assembly is after it comes off the form. I'm also guessing a longer tack would be needed for the thickness of the plank. And a quarter inch plank (8/32") is harder to shape with a kinfe than 5/32".
Murphy's Law

Bob, Murphy's Law applies to everything, including building a canoe of any type. I have built many canoes and there is always the need for adjustments.

Dave, What makes you think that there are no inwales, if I am building a WC the ribs end at the inwale, that is the plan here, its just wider planking. I expect consideralbe adjustments in matching of edges together. but I plan to use a bead and cove joint but I won't cut the bead until the profiles match. It's a matter of faith that I can do it right. I think I have opened a new thought process in the canoe building world. Watch out for that thinking stuff it can lead you into strange places.
About plank thickness

Dave, the thickness will be decided after some experimentation with the rib material and the planks and available tack length. Consider that the thickness of the rib can also be adjusted using a planer when they are milled as well as the planks. Milling of the basswood will be in January.
bill, while i am more than willing to share the mold with you for this project, i would want some type of substanial deposit to cover damage or anything else. i would not charge you for it's use though. i might even consider a sale for a good price. if you want call me at 810-736-2333 evenings/weekends or 810-736-0501 days
Page 192.

Bill, on page 192 Walter Walker's canoe has no inwhale. But it makes sense to me for the type of rib you are using that the inwhale would be used. And I think a quarter inch thick plank could have quarter inch ribs too. Sounds like it'll work well. I'd like to see photos as you go. So I imagine you will not be installing battens and the bead/cove joint will suffice?