New Rowboat - Pictures and Questions


Lake Winola PA
Well my wife thinks I'm crazy and the daughter wanted a Ski Nautique but I drove 8 hours yesterday and brought home this beauty. The wood is intact and it basically just needs refinishing and new canvas. I've recanvased about 5 canoes so if anyone can give me tips on doing a rowboat that would be great, I didn't see much information in the forums dealing with wood canvas rowboats. I'd love to find out what kind of boat and what year. It's not an Old town because no serial numbers. The Thompson and PennYan pictures in Bob Speltz book are similar but my seats have a single brass bracket and the pictures show 2. Also there is not a support bracket on the transom to the keel that are on many old rowboats but the corner braces look unique. At the end of the chapter it lists over 100 manufacturers so I may never know. All guesses welcome.

I'm wondering when I canvas if I should start at the transom and work forward or if I should start near the bow seat and work both ways?

I'm thinking that I may just clean the seats and not take them down to wood. they seem to have a very old bubbled damaged finish that may add to the boat. Sometimes I think a canoe looks better if it shows some age.

And the one thing everyone want to know-I paid $350, probably could have gotten it for less but thought it was fair. I saw a similar boat for sale at the Clayton boat show and when I came home I posted a wanted to buy ad on Craigslist. The seller then found me through Google when trying to value the boat. Not a bad way to find what you want.

Comments everyone?


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Looks Penn Yan to me. The PY's I've seen have a model number on the stem. If you can find it, Dan Miller's Dragonfly website can match up the number with model.

The presence of Frearson Drive (Reed & Prince) screws confirms PY. The seat struts look Penn Yan as well. The screws are similar to Phillips, but not quite.... The drive system goes to a much sharper point in the drive recess. (and speaking as an old screw-maker, a real PITA!) Phillips tools will work, but are marginal. I order Frearson bits and screws from Jamestown.

Thanks Dave,You are right that the screws are Frearson (Reed and Prince) I have them on my Chris Crafts and verified with the bits tonight. I get mine at McFeeleys screw catalog (joke in there somewhere). I checked the hardware looking for a sign of something unique, there are no numbers or signs of missing badges. I attached three new photos-a close up of the seat hardware, the oar lock, and the transom in case it looks familiar to someone.


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Definitely Penn Yan. Not sure of the model. Could be the "Car-Topper" or "Flier" model. Here's a Car Topper that I restored.....


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Thanks Dan, Your boat is beautiful. From looking at your pictures I agree that it's a Penn Yan, the seat brackets are identical.
yep! Kirby Shaw's Yellow and a genreous helping of Penetrol to keep a wet edge and help to get good flow to eliminate brush marks....

Yellow is tough to paint because the pigment is so light. Anywhere you sand into the filler you get a shadow. I use Pettit High Build Primer under the yellow and go easy on the sanding.