Need information about a hand made canoe


New Member
I have a hand made wooden canoe that I would like to sell, but I don't really know much about. I purchased it from my uncle, who has passed away.
He purchased it from a neighbor that built it. I know it was built sometime in the 70's.
It's been well taken care of, and it is stored in a dry basement. The coating is peeling only slightly on the inside of the boat.
I was wondering if any experts out there could take a look at the photo and tell me what type of wood it's made of, and what it could be worth.


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In general, canoes are made of cedar, and those with expertise in building them may jump in to say something more specific regarding your canoe. Stripper-builders often combine red and white cedar and other woods for one-of-a-kind boats that are works of art that can be paddled.

Someone else here may recognize your canoe because they've built something similar. It looks like a "trapper" to me, which is a style of smaller, lightweight canoe that is easily portaged and fun to paddle into interesting little areas of the Boundary Waters (and such).

There is a discussion of "value" in the FAQs section of these forums. In addition to looking at that, you might poke through the listings in the classifieds here to get an idea of what is up for sale and how much is being asked for it:

Another idea is to follow the auction for a similar canoe on eBay and see what it ends up selling for.

If you list your canoe for sale in the classifieds here or on eBay or Craigslist, describe it as you did above, with nice pictures such as you posted here, and add the length of the canoe, and the probable weight. Closeups where you say "the coating is peeling" would be important to share with prospective buyers... and if they aren't already familiar with the WCHA you can point them in this direction for information on fixing that (if necessary) as well as on great places to paddle and other aspects of wooden canoe ownership.

Best of luck re-homing your canoe!

To add to Kathy's comments,

That is commonly called a "stripper", it is a wood core with re-inforcing cloth (usually fiberglass) bonded to both the outside and inside. In the old days, (60-70s) the cloth was bonded with polyester resin, now days it's usually epoxy resin. In general, the strength of the canoe is in the resin/cloth layers, the wood is just a seperating core (web).

100's or maybe even 1,000's are built each year by homebuilders, and there are many sources of plans/designs to build.

The "granddaddy' of info and plans is Ted Moore and his canoecraft book and Bearmountain web site. He offers a line of Chestnut canoe designs.

Which brings me to your's, without a better description, ie, dimensions, I would SWAG your's to be one of the designs offered by Bearmontain, ie, a Chestnut, in part because they have offered designs for so many years and in part because it looks "Chestnut". (even to the shape of the deck) But it is a SWAG.

As to value, that would depend mostly on condition.
If by "coating is peeling only slightly" you mean that the fiberglass is starting to lift or unbond from the wood core, that's bad.
Also, why is it so blochy? usually white areas are seperated areas, again, not good.

IF the glass is seperating, it's not worth much, maybe 0-$100,
but if the glass is still good, then it would be worth bit more, $100-$500?
A lot depends on the buyer and location. (See the article Kathy references.)

But in general, strippers IMV don't hold their value very well, in part because just about anybody can build one and often those who do want one, want to build their own.

With that said, a couple years ago, I sold 2 BW tripper canoes that were in very nice condition, 1 had 1 trip, the other 2 trips, both just had a few light scratches on the bottom. I got $1000 for each, and considered myself very lucky to get that. They were basically new and the price didn't cover the cost of making them.