New Merrimack - blasphemy?


Curious about Wooden Canoes
Ok, I have an opportunity to pick up a slightly used Merrimack. They are beautiful to the eye but where do they fit in the "food chain" of fine traditional canoes?


I have an original 14' STOWE in my collection and I see a lot of people paddling stuff on here that isnt part of the food if it minnows instead of smelts....enjoy the taste!
I'm guilty

of owning four canoes that are not all wood or wood/canvas. I have a Bell Bucktail, a Swift Kipawa and two Curtis canoes all with wood gunwales. I brought the two Curtis boats, a Nomad and a Ladybug to the WCHA Assembly in 2007 and I was not shuned or stoned. Sooo... if it gets you on the water, have a good time.

Jim C.
I bought a 17" Merrimack Traveler back in 1994. It was my first "new" canoe and got me interested in wood/canvas canoes. It nows shares space in my garage with a '47 Penn Yan Guide, '24 Carleton Guide, and a '56 Old Town Yankee. The Merrimack is very light for it's size compared to the w/c canoes, and very comfortable for those times when my wife and daughter want to come along for an afternoon paddle. Hope you buy and enjoy yours as much as we have ours...
Stowe Mansfield

I bought new a 13' Mansfield model from the now defunct Stowe Canoe and Snowshoe Co. back in 1987. Although I've build a nice W&C -- and will continue to do so -- the Mansfield has been great for all around fishing and lake and river day tripping. With its wide 39" beam it is extremely stable and one can fly cast while standing up. As a cartopper it has more miles on it that I can remember.

I freshened it up this spring. From laying upside down on the dock by the lake side in the summer apparently it never quite dried out on a side at one end. One ash deck had become punky along with the in/outwale at that end. I replaced the deck and partially the in/outwale on that side, sanded all the wood, and varnished it. Buffed and waxed the fiberglass hull and it looks like it did 20+ years ago when new. It hangs proudly alongside my W&C in my woodshop. I expect many more years of service from both.

This 13-footer is one pound heavier than my 16' W&C, though.
My Stowe

I meant to say thirteen feet in my previous post...The one I have has the STOWE logo on the side....


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Not sure what year that one is, but the one I am restoring from the mid 70's has stems and a keel on it... Other than that pretty identical...
A canoe or kayak is propelled under human power... is "quiet"... and is therefore "green". I love seeing all the paddling-boats atop cars in the summer... you know someone's having a good time and probably isn't scaring the wildlife.

All canoes connect-back to those built by indigenous people. It's a longer-stretch for some, but all part of the same family tree.

Enjoy paddling!

fishing while standing

LOVE standing up while fishing and that STOWE is perfect for that...Wide and far, the sneakers are still dry!....thats my only non -canvas covered canoe....also have a W/C Sebago boat that I use with an electric motor on it...kinda like paddling....My greatest joy this summer was restoring a 16' canoe witlh 2 rowing has a front and a back that are not identical and is 100 plus years old....It cant be verified by a paper trail, but...there is a Stephenson rowing canoe at the Norway Historical Society and the seats are identically made as this one I did and the oars (2 sets, one longer than the other ) have a special raised design as on Stephenson paddles where they transition from the blade to the shaft and is this same design on those original oars as on the paddles...ANYWAY....enjoy the canoing with any style canoe...its "The Joy thats in the journey" that counts..

So the Merrimack is a wood canoe made on a form like a wood/canvas canoe then covered with carbon fiber instead of canvas? Do I have this right?
So the Merrimack is a wood canoe made on a form like a wood/canvas canoe then covered with carbon fiber instead of canvas? Do I have this right?

No, my understanding is that these are built in a female fiberglass mold and the wooden rib strips are added in last. It is really more like a fiberglass canoe than a traditional wooden one.

If my brain cells still have recall, I THINK :)confused:) that When I got my Stowe canoe about 5-6 years ago, there was either a post on here or in a search I did on the history of Stowe Canoe company ( who by the way sold out to K1 I think, and eventually THEY sold out to an outfit overseas...I do recall that it put 22 Vermont people out of work when that happend)...NOW, having said all this, photos I saw back then of the process, was as Benson Gray, stated was molded and then the stems and mock ribs were installed... the stems for support and the ribs more for show...(the ribs and floor pieces DID lend a little to supporting the shape of it and there was a piece of dowel or plastic tubing that the mold went around which formed the keel. Somehow I believe that there is ansother member who has information about the ACTUAL process involved....Anyway....LUV MINE and I have several W/C canoes and other than my 14' Sebago WC boat, it is the only one I really feel safe standing and fly casting...
:)Additional factual comments may lead to more facts than I have presented.
Here are some pics of one that was listed on eBay a while back that I found for reference. Exactly like the one I am restoring that my Dad got back in 1975(Stowe Mansfield) although in much better shape :)
I am:
Replacing the Decks and Outwales with White Ash
Maybe replacing some of the mahogany strips with 1/16" Mahogany Veneer
Maybe New Keel, maybe not. I think I am leaving off the outer stems either way.
Sanding the inside Mahogany strips
Re-varnishing the entire interior
Re-painting the hull
New Thwart or Yoke, and maybe new seats(these are really uncomfortable)


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I saw a 13' Stowe at a local restaurant last spring on a trailer...Instead of making smaller or removing the outer gunwale, he made it a little wider. I can see his logic as he indicated that this profile would help keep the side of the canoe away from objects scratching or damaging the sides...Depends on where your are going to use it, but a canoe against a concrete dock cqn do a lot of damage if a big power boat comes by creating nice BIG waves, beaching in confined areas, etc. PROTECTION,PROTECTION<PROTECTION!;)
Agreed. The original outwale that I have removed(some had fallen off) was quite small... Maybe 5/8" high x 3/8"(or less) thick. My new one is going to 3/4" x 3/4".
outwale size

His acutally was 3/4 by 1 1/4 inches, widest being the top....Next spring I will be replacing the wood on mine and intend to do that...I have another one that is dump material but I might dig that one out of the bushes out back and see if it can be retored somehow...that one will need those mahogany veneers like you suggested...we shall see...nothing is impossible with ingenuity!....LOL:)