My "new" Chestnut Bob's Special


Curious about Wooden Canoes
Hi all,

Well, it took a long time, but the Chestnut Bob's Special I saw hanging in someone's garage last Fall is finally mine. Brought it home today and it sits upside down on the picnic table for now, until I can bring it up to the cottage in a week or two. :)

No sign of serious rot, looked inside underneath at each end. Outside has been spot-painted a few times to cover a few nicks and scratches, and could use a good new coat of paint! I suppose some varnish on the inside nook and crannies would be helpful too.

Came with two paddles that match the colour of the canoe, not sure if they're also Chestnut (no markings on them).

It still has the Chestnut stickers on each side. One-owner canoe, bought at a local outdoor show in early 70's. Always stored inside and been hanging in their garage for a few years.

Serial number on it is 12510. Attached are a few pics.

The gunnels look like OAK to me, is that possible?

Thanks for the inspection and other tips provided on my earlier posts, they really were useful!!

Looking forward to paddling this boat for the first time!! :)

Related posts:


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Great buy, nice canoe. Oak outwales, inwales, thwarts, seats and decks are standard on most Chestnuts. I am looking forward to using a Bob's Special that I just restored.


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Hi Dave and Dennis, and thanks for the kind words.
Gorgeous canoe you have there Dave, thanks for sharing! It will provide me inspiration to get my Bob back up to that nice glossy look!;)
I'll probably focus on using mine this summer as-is, and maybe give it a go-over in the Fall, to restore it to its original beauty.
Any quick tips on how to get mine into a condition as nice as yours? What kind of varnish and paint did you use? Maybe you have a restoration post already up for yours, there seem to be quite a few on this forum.
Anyway, glad to benefit from the encouragement and informed advice of the folks here, and to be part of your community of interest.:)
Thanks Doug. Indeed, I thought it was a nice specimen and worth waiting for; a few cosmetic issues (touch-up paint spots), but solid and usable as-is. The owners cared for it well, and it was never left sitting around outside. The owner was telling me that the first canoe he paddled as a boy in the 40's was his grandfather's Chestnut, which was probably built early in the 1900's. He said his uncle had always told him: "if you want to get a great all-around versatile canoe, get the Bob's Special, that's the one you want!". So he did, when he bought this one new in the early 70's. He said that uncle of his was quite the outdoorsman and had once taken Sir Edmund Hillary on a canoe expedition in north-western Quebec. Anyway, I'm glad to own that Bob's (matches my name ;)) and will try to care for it as well.

Sir Edmund Hillary on a canoe expedition

This story is written up somewhere. I know I have read it. I will see if I can pull it from the foggy noggin.

I am pretty sure the story is written up in: "Blackflies and White Water", by A. Tony Sloan. 1977, ISBN: 0-7710-8210-x

PS. I have an older Bob's that I use a lot.

You know thinking about this some, I read the book referenced above and those fellas went tandem in the Bob's. Their trip was not without issues. I think tandem on a wilderness trip in a Bob's is asking too much from the Bob's. You might choose a Prospector or Old Town Guide. I like the Bob's solo, day tripping with the kids, fishing etc., but tandem tripping in a Bob's really surprised me. Read the book.




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You're right Fitz, that's the book the seller mentioned to me!!! I will indeed look it up in the local library! I think I may well have got the story mixed up: the owner was telling me all this stuff as I was trying to inspect the canoe and find out if there was any serious flaw that would make me walk away. So maybe it wasn't his uncle who took Hillary on that trek, but his uncle sure recommended the Bob to him.

Another great book I read along those lines was "The Lure of the Labrador Wild" by Dillon Wallace, "the classic story of Leonidas Hubbard". Dillon, Hubbard and an indian guide went on an ill-fated trip into the wilds of the Labrador, using a canoe. In the early 1900's. ISBN 0-919948-38-3 (originally published 1905, republished by Breakwater Books 1983).

I agree with you, from what I've read there are better canoes for that kind of trek. It seems the Bob was targeted mostly at trappers and hunters, people who would paddle the canoe solo and needed something relatively easy to portage on their runs. My use will be largely solo paddling on tranquil river and ponds near my country place, so it should be perfect for that.

Here's a few more pics of my Bob, just made room for it in the garage so I can maybe give it a paint job and a bit of a varnish job before heading out on the water with it. Other than that it's very solid. Snugged up all the screws (all about 1/4 turn loose).



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