New kid on the block faced with decision...


LOVES Wooden Canoes
Hello There,
I posted this same message on the wood/canvas repair forum too, before I noticed this one. Sorry for duplicating! I have been a paddler of fiberglass, kevlar, etc. canoes for many years and have always loved wood/canvas canoes but never had the opp to own one. I'm a woodworker too and always wanted to tackle the restoration of a vintage canoe. All of a sudden there is one for sale nearby at a local "trading post". The beast, as I will call it, is 22 ft long and wood/canvas. Everything seems in place, but someone has literally painted the canvas olive drab and stencilied military "stars" on it...making it a "war" canoe I suppose. The shop owner received it in trade for a firearm, and said the man who traded it called it a "Richardson". Not much info on the web on this company...I was wondering if the 800.00 asking price was reasonable...and if the enormous size was an asset or detraction from the desirability of this canoe? Any help on history/ID would be appreciated too. Jimbo in Pennsylvania
Thake a look at Dan Millers site

Richardson bought Lakefield and renamed the company Richardson Aquacraft in the 1960's - but there didn't seem to be a boat that long. If it is a Richardson, it will have a unique planking pattern, according to Dan's guide. Lakefield had "war canoes" Dan or maybe Dick Persson may jump in.
Thanks for the reply. The canoe looks much older than the late sixties as the website describes...heck, I remember the late sixties! It's just one of those things you see, get infatuated with, and feel the urge to possess...even if I never paddled the thing on some great Canadian moose is fun just to look at the workmanship, design, and imagine the places it might take you or have been.

I collect canoes and have a number of them, and while some folks have and use large war canoes, I have passed on more then 1 20ft or longer canoe, they are just too big to be handled by 1 guy.

If you want a w/c, and you plan to actually use it, consider something smaller.

As for the price, it depends on the condition, for 800 it should be in good condition, maybe even a user.

Thanks for the reply!

When you say "user", do you mean "ready to paddle as is"? If so, this certainly seems to be a user. There is a cracked rib, however, and I'll need to repair that...I hope that won't be too difficult. Can I use the canoe before repairing? The $800, when compared to the price of tupperware boats, seems like a bargain. The gunwales, decks, and canvas are all in great shape on the problems that I can see (although I'm an amateur). I seldom paddle solo, as my wife loves to accompany me, and when I do, I have a lightweight Mad River to use. She is strong and fit, and would have no trouble holding up her end. We like to paddle, camp and fish on the nearby Susquehanna River, and have a big dog that loves to go too...grandchildren will be on the way in a few years too, so I'm thinking it might be a fun boat and also end up being a family heirloom. If I get this one, I have a feeling it wont be the last. The WCHA site has confirmed for me that these old canoes really are something special!
The main limitation of having big canoes is storage in the off season. They do allow a bigger group with more gear to travel and make exploring bigger water feasible. They have allowed us to explore with our 4 kids and friends on the north-west coast for the last 20 summers. If you have a place to store it, you will have fun with it. peter

Our definition of a "user canoe" is one where it doesn't matter if the dogs come along too... in other words, it isn't the pre-WWII canoe that was restored to historic perfection.
Ok, I'm sure it's a "user" then. What makes objects most valuable to me are the accumulated memories of using them...although I certainly understand that exceptional or rare examples of vintage, guns, canoes, or whatever...should be put on display or restored and preserved. Plenty of room for storage here, thankfully! I'll share pix when I get it home and you all can offer your praise or condolences!

Yes, when I describe a "user", I'm talking about condition, not whether it's too valueable to risk using or not. (I don't and probably won't ever have something like that.) (Also, most of my "canoes" are "projects" and not useable.)

And yes, if there is only 1 broken rib and few other failures in the wood, and the canvas still keeps most of the water out, it's a user.

And yes, show us some pics, that's part of the fun of old canoes, seeing what others have.

It's also nice to know that those who look at the pictures of canoes in these forums may get excited about something that rained dry cedar-chunks all over your car while you were bringing it home.

I think we're now at fifteen "projects", one "user", two "users-- wet feet probable" and one "use with pride, but without dogs".
Thanks so much for the info! I'm looking forward to hearing more about this canoe....possibly a Richardson or Lakefield. I'm unloading a few "toys" on ebay to fund the canoe, so it'll take me a few weeks. There is a serial number stamped inside, so maybe that will help to identify. There are also small brass plates fitted with brass rings mounted on the decks...maybe thats an identifying feature. The website says that on a Richardson the planking is "full-length and tapered such that no goring is required." I embarrassed to say that I have no idea what "goring" is! Also, there are no 22 footers listed in their list of models....does anyone out there know more?