My First Restoration


Curious about Wooden Canoes
I was recently given, what I believe to be a Chestnut from the late 50's.
This canoe was purchased from Algonquin Outfitters in 1960. It was part of their rental fleet, however, I don't know how long they kept it for.
It is 13'8" long, 30 1/2" beam (without outwales). The centre depth is 12" and 20" deep at bow.
They have a current model called "Peach". Is this the same model (form)
from the late 50's.
This boat spent about 20 years under my neighbours cottage and is in suprisingly good shape. No rot, no broken ribs.
Presently, I have removed the fibreglass cloth and have sanded the outer hull and am curently stripping the inside.
I'll have to scarf in new stem tops and replace a plank after I dropped it.
(I won't do that again!!)
I paddled this canoe briefly last summer and found it to be very unstable with two paddlers, but found it to be much more stable paddling solo.
I am thinking of turning this boat into a flatwater solo boat.
What are others thoughts on this?
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Hi Rob,

It would be fairly easy to establish it is a Chestnut with a few photos. It could also be a Peterborough or Canadian Canoe Co - this can be determined if it has serial numbers, and if so, which model they indicate. All three companies are essentially the same, hence the oft used moniker "Peternut".

It could be a Peach, though if it has 1-1/2" ribs it is more likely a Fox. Chestnut naming is a little confusing, I have attempted to clarify it somewhat on my Wood Canoe Identification Guide (

The 14' Peternuts are indeed a bit small for tandem paddling (though they do work well for a pair of kids). I think it is a great solo canoe, and have built a mold of my own that is based on this model.

Thanks for the info, Dan.

I received some info myself from Algonquin Outfitters this weekend.

The boat was shipped from New Brunswick by train, so I'd have to guess that it is a Chestnut. (Apparently the Ontario Sales Rep was Omer Stringer!)

The ribs are 1.75", not 1.5".

I have some pictures I will attempt to load up tonite. Unfortunately my computer crashed a while back and I only have pictures with the canvass off.

Hi Dan;

Can you tell me if the the pictures you posted for Fitz is an original, with no modifications?
My decks are more shaped like an arrow head.
The inwales stop about 8" back from the stem right at the cant rib.
(I'm assuming the cant rib is the furthest forward rib, made from cedar plank on my boat.) The deck was screwed to the inwale, but nowhere else.
I think the decks may have been replaced at some point.
The inwales should come together at the bow, am i correct?
I was planning on leaving the old inwales in, as they are in good shape,
but now think I should either replace or scarf in new ends to make it look original. I think this would probably be better structurally as well, since it was only attached with two screws.
Could you provide more photos or tell me where I could find more of Chestnuts.

Hi Rob,

The pictures I posted in Fitz's thread are of an original, unrestored Chestnut canoe. It is typical of one style of deck that they used. The other usual (and later) style is shown in the photo attached to this message. Typical features are the untapered inwales with a small mortice that encases a small tenon at the tip of the stem.

A couple of manufacturers built canoes with "arrowhead" decks, including St. Louis Meramec (see attached below) and Penobscot (actually the taper is the other way so it is a "spearhead"...). You also see this type of repair involving replacing rotted inwale and deck tips with a wider deck and nipping off the inwales. So the trick is to determine whether the arrowhead is as-built or a repair...



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You have either a huge library of canoe photos, or a lot of uncanvased canoes lying around. Either would be an enviable collection. I enjoy the photos you post.

Hi Dave, glad you enjoy the photos. There is a little of both going on - I take a lot of photos (especially since I went digital) and I have a couple of canoes laying around. Not nearly so many as a few of our other forum members though!

Dan is the novice's best friend. A veritable encylopedia of information.

Dan spent hours typing answers and talking to me on the phone during my OT Guide redo.

For that, I will be ever grateful.

"The other usual (and later) style is shown in the photo attached to this message."

With reference to the quote, how late is later? My Chestnut Bob's Special has this type of deck and have been unable to narrow down the date on it so far. Any help?


Morley Pinsent
how late is later?

Beats me, and I am not sure anyone really knows for sure. The Chestnut heart-shaped deck is earlier, as can be seen in catalog cuts and early canoes. The semi-circular cut-out was used right up until they slammed the factory doors shut in early 1979 - my Prospector is proof of this. Chestnuts with heart-shaped decks come in at least two versions - one with cant ribs the same width as the regular ribs and the last couple inches of the stem , and the other with the wide cant rib and fully bevelled stem. It would be nice to be able to say the former dates to before the 1920 fire, and the latter after, but there is no evidence I am aware of to support this. I think we can safely say that the wide cant rib is a more recent feature. When it came into use is guess, and there may have been overlap in the two styles as some workers adapted the new style while others continued to use the old. Same may be true for deck styles - there may have been overlap in use. Perhaps the pleasure canoes continued to have heart-shaped decks for a period while the commercial canoes were simplified earlier.

The catalogs don't help much either - there is no way to know if the pictures in the catalog were changed at the same time the changes were made in construction. They photos are hard to read as well, if I had to hazard a guess, I'd say the cutout appears around 1954-56, perhaps in conjunction with the introduction of the Playmate/Chum/Pal series. However, the freight model does show it earlier.

All that to say "I don't know".

Thanks Dan,

From what I have been able to determine about the history of this canoe so far, it appears to have been purchased sometime in the mid-50'/60's era. A small bit of support for your valued assumption!