New Pal

Andy Hutyera

The Red Canoe Guy - Life Member
After many interruptions and delays a new Chestnut Pal a la Alex Comb has been completed. This one is entirely out of white cedar with ash inwales and stems, cherry outwales, curly ash for the seats and thwarts and curly maple decks.

I have wanted to do a dacron canoe for some time since my wood canvas canoes seem to keep getting heavier each time I pick them up. The canoe weighed 50 lbs before it was covered and the outwales installed. Finished weight was 64 lbs. An identical canoe covered with canvas weighs 75 lbs.

The finishing materials came from Stewart Systems and were very nice to work with. The folks at Stewart are very helpful as mixing the catalyzed polyurethane color coat is fairly touchy. They even gave me a free sample of their new product which is a white filler. It was sprayed over the gray to provide a better undercoat for the red top coat.

I also experimented with what is supposed to be the same thing as Behr's Spar Varnish. According to the Wooden Boat Website, True Tone Varnish is the same thing. It is available in satin. It's the only time I've ever seen a true resin spar varnish in satin. I used it as a top coat over Epiphanes and in really looks great. The True Tone goes on very nicely and dries quickly thus minimizing the dust issue. We'll see how it holds up, but if it does, it will make a believer out of me.

Got it in the water for the first time yesterday and it handled beautifully.

Hoping to bring it to the Assembly.


  • DSC_0068.jpg
    23.2 KB · Views: 327
  • DSC_0069.jpg
    24.2 KB · Views: 346
  • DSC_0070.jpg
    18.2 KB · Views: 334
  • DSC_0071.jpg
    22.3 KB · Views: 340
  • DSC_0074.jpg
    28.7 KB · Views: 320
  • DSC_0075.jpg
    25.1 KB · Views: 300
Very pretty Andy! I like the spalting in the maple deck. Nice touch. Looks like a little flag flapping in the breeze.

Wood workers don't use spalted wood (for it's decorative qualities) enough in my estimation. A recent issue of Fine Woodworking has an article on making your own. I'm going to give it a try.

Did you make a solid form for the Pal or did you build it using Alex's open form technique?

I built the form several years ago from Alex's plans. At that time he was just developing his open form technique. This is the second canoe off that form.

I do some woodturning and love spalted wood. You can encourage the spalting by sealing the wood in plastic wrap for a few months.

One word of caution. Some of those spores are really toxic even after the wood has dried. I turned some old spalted wood a while ago without a mask and had some really uncomfortable nasal irritation from the stuff for several days.
Beautiful job, Andy.

As you may/may not remember, I built one just like yours last year using Alex's plans for the solid form and boat. I used #10 canvas, however, with cherry thwarts, decks and seat frames. White ash for gunwales.

Mine, using canvas, three coats of filler, two coats of primer, four coats of paint, and four coats of varnish came out to 64.6# on accurate scales. I've seen the 75# estimate in some literature, but obviously, we differ.

Again, great job!