NEED HELP: Considering buying a Birch Bark Canoe Pics Attached


Soon to be CANOE-A-HOLIC
I have found this reasonably close to home and have not really ventured the Birch Bark realm much....not because I don't love them but, simply I just have not found one close to home.

Well, I am looking for advice:
1 - as to what a reasonable price for something of this condition may be? :confused: I know this is somewhat a subjective question...
2 - what type of canoe this may be? Brand name or home made?
3 - Am I completely insane for even looking at this? :eek:

My feelings won't be hurt. Lets here what you have to say



  • canoe 003.jpg
    canoe 003.jpg
    523.2 KB · Views: 640
  • canoe 006.jpg
    canoe 006.jpg
    520.3 KB · Views: 605
  • canoe 008.jpg
    canoe 008.jpg
    494 KB · Views: 573
Couple more pictures

Here is a few more...

Thanks for help in advance.



  • canoe 014.jpg
    canoe 014.jpg
    504.5 KB · Views: 591
  • canoe 021.jpg
    canoe 021.jpg
    542.6 KB · Views: 606
Hi Mike

yes, you are insane. I have never seen a bb with a keel, or a combing for that matter. And I know nothing about them, but Maybe Ferdy will see this and share his knowledge.

So, what's the sellers number? you're not the only insane one you know. I'll be watching this closely. Great find.
Insanity is what keeps life interesting! :eek: Yes? I thought the keel and combing was odd indeed. That may be what caught my eye and made me post.....Never seen anything like it for sure.

Interesting pictures at least...right?:D

Yes. looks like a cross-over vehicle. Charles River and Fur trapper's canoe from a century ago. Or more?
I like that "Cross Over Vehicle"

I have been in formed that it is pre 1900's

Obviously no modern day tools used in this one!
in my faded memory

I seem to recall someone bought a basket case bb for around $500. but my recollection capability is limited. And this is not a basket case.
One thumbs up to not a basket case!

Great to hear it's not a basket case. I thought the structure looked surprisingly solid! My 1916 OT did not look as solid.
A Couple-o-Thoughts

First, let's think back to Fitz's discussion of the DB Neal hybrid canoe... not saying that's what this is, just that canoe makers experimented with different building materials and different looks--

Second, the birch bark builders we know don't use any modern materials--- they build 'em with the same natural stuff the indigenous peoples used, so it might be hard to date a canoe based materials alone.

Another thought-- do you want a canoe to display or to use? Seems to me the older bark canoes might be hard to bring back to usable condition.

Looking at the photos again. It looks like someone saw a closed gunnel w/c and tried to emulate it in BB. There seems to be a inside stem that the BB is attached to. the rail cap and side cap are nailed on but the thwarts seem to be mortised. Then it has the combing like a closed gunnel. The planking seems to be split and is laid in like a BB but the ribs seem to be machine formed with some whittling on the tops. Wonder what the holes are for in the bilge area? Those down the center are - I assume - for the keel. Interesting canoe! :)
While waitnig for Ferdy to come in from the cold I thought I'd add another comment or two.
I don't see any root lashings. Is that right?
I thought some of the fasteners may have been nails or pegs.
A current BB builder somewhere uses nails, I think to fasten the outwale.

It really does look to be a fusion of two techniques. A missing link, if you will
Many of the native canoe builders continued to build birchbark canoes and finding a ready and sizeable market for them even after the all-wood and wood canvas canoes became popular.
The birchbark canoes made during this period, late 1800's - early 1900's, were commonly “modernized” with use of nails and screws as fasteners, less turn-up in the ends, varnished and came equipped with seats, keels and decks with details borrowed from the wood canvas and all-wood canoes.

Dick Persson
Headwater Wooden Boat Shop

Not totally sure on the lashing...It is hard to tell in the photos if the inwale has lashing or some sort of staple or a long nail bent over. It appears to be at the ribs but also between them. Looks as if whatever it is passes through the inwales. I will be talking with the current owner over the weekend when he returns from a trip.

I am putting a list of questions together to discuss with him. I surely would entertain any thoughts on question that would be good to ask to possibly identify this craft.

Anyway you look at it it is an interesting canoe.
Dick thanks for the information! Have you seen anything quite like this before? Any links to reference?