Noel's UFO

Kathryn Klos

squirrel whisperer
Okay... I started a thread to discuss Noel's canoe and hope he can add what he needs to say in replies to this-- he's had trouble starting a thread here.

Looking forward to the pictures...

heres pics of noels canoe from ebay. maybe he will be able to post more/better pics


  • 3cad_1.JPG
    14.7 KB · Views: 414
  • 18d5_1.JPG
    27.8 KB · Views: 437
  • 34f3_1.JPG
    22.2 KB · Views: 438
  • 2334_1.JPG
    26.8 KB · Views: 424
Can you name this UFO ?

Hi there,:)
many thanks to Kathryn for getting this thread off the starting blocks,:D
and to Woodenkayakguy for the photos, :D
Here i have some more photos of the UFO,
Does anyone recognise it ,
A maker ?
a model ?
a year ?
the name of the guy who built it ?
What he had for lunch that day ?
Anything ? :rolleyes:
Any and all input most welcome
If theres any particular bit or angle you need to see ?:rolleyes:
please ask
regards Noel:D


  • STA71853.JPG
    779.8 KB · Views: 366
  • STA71854.JPG
    774.7 KB · Views: 377
  • STA71855.JPG
    788.7 KB · Views: 385
  • STA71863.JPG
    775.5 KB · Views: 374
  • STA71866.JPG
    764.2 KB · Views: 392
  • STA71852.JPG
    766 KB · Views: 392
More photos !

A few more photos,

The canoe is 14ft long,
if any other particular measurement would help in the identification then please do ask :D
Regards Noel:D


  • STA71849.JPG
    774.2 KB · Views: 371
  • STA71853.JPG
    779.8 KB · Views: 369
  • STA71862.JPG
    774.1 KB · Views: 364
  • STA71875.JPG
    780.9 KB · Views: 379
  • STA71856.JPG
    775.2 KB · Views: 364
  • STA71858.JPG
    779.5 KB · Views: 378
It looks in decent shape, Noel. You might even be able to paddle it as is.
Have you had a chance to see if the canvas leaks?
Are there any ribs cracked or broken that need replacement?

Those multiple shoe keels (proper term?) are very interesting. Perhaps with those you won't have to a floor rack over the half-round ribs. Hull strength may also depend on the thickness of the planking.

Like you, I am waiting for somone to shed some light on who this might have been built by.
UFO First impressions !

Hi Rob,:)
thanks for your interest;)
I havent had this canoe in the water yet,so I,cant say if she,s water tight,:confused:
The canvas finish is very "crazed" and would need to be "tidied up" or "retouched" in some way I think,(I would welcome opinions /suggestions )
Perhaps you can see from the photos ?
There are a couple of cracked planks ,
and some of the ribs are parting away from the planks ,
;)again perhaps you can see this in the photos ?
I will put her in the water soon to see if she leaks and asses how she paddles !
Regards Noel:)


  • STA71851.JPG
    676 KB · Views: 372
  • STA71867.JPG
    774.6 KB · Views: 386
  • STA71868.JPG
    766.3 KB · Views: 376
  • STA71869.JPG
    772.9 KB · Views: 385
  • STA71873.JPG
    685 KB · Views: 388
  • STA71882.JPG
    748.8 KB · Views: 374
Looking at your photos raises a few questions.
What variety Cedar is there in Wales? Did this canoe come from Wales?
The ribs look like they were made from branches or perhaps the small bole of a tree. It looks like there are knots and natural edge on some of them --is that correct?
What are the gunwales made from? Decks? Is that English Oak or spruce?
Can you tell what the rub rail is made from?
The halos around the tacks indicate that this canoe was used in salt water - true?
The stems seem to be laminated, are they? Are the stem bands flat? How wide are they? What material - aluminum?
Look forward to your answers.
It sure is an oddball

A lot of hybrid features.

Good woodworking overall, but very thin ribs, a keel, bulbous nose and all those shoe keels on the bottom. I will track straight as arrow, but you will need to club-haul the thing to turn it. Why all the shoe keels on the bottom? Structural reinforcement (because the ribs are so thin) or for landing it, like on a beach.

Also the goring of the planking is unusual.

It looks like it was built by someone who had a pretty good idea of how a North American canoe was put together, but also some ideas of their own. All the shoe keels just don’t match with the purposes a 14 foot canoe are usually used for.
What it looks like to me is that canoe that was built from the plans in Popular Mechanics. The 1940's plans.

In answer to Denis M Kallery

Hi Denis,:)
In answer to your specific questions,
I think Red cedar is generaly available in UK,not sure if White cedar is only imported ?
I bought the Canoe from Norfolk ,which is on Eastern side of Uk ,
I,m in Wales on Western side of Uk ,
But actually only 250 miles away,(UK is small country :p )
So it ,s feasable it could have been made in Wales but just as likely not ,
The last owner bought it at an auction in Norfolk I think ?
The ribs do appear to be made from split branches,end grain seems to confirm this on majority of the ribs,
there are indeed knots and all exept the last three ribs in each end are natural edge,The last three seem to be from planed squared timber.
I,m not certain of the type of wood in the decks but the wide grain looks to me like pine or Spruce wood of some sort,
I have no idea at all of it,s posible previous usage,
Norfolk is known particularly for the extensive waterways comprising the Norfolk Broads wich are mostly fresh water to my knowledge, but use in the sea is possible too,
The stems are laminated ,Three laminations of timber to be exact ,the laminations are separating in places,
The stem bands are aluminium and seem to be curved or cupped in shape ,
not sure if they are made from flat strip or "D" section,
I have also noted that there are 4 thwarts but no obvious sign that there have ever been seats fitted ?,
there is a fitting to mount a mast and a mast foot,and one cleat screwed to one of the thwarts, so I assume it has been used to sail at some time ,
Would this possibly account for all those keels ?:confused:
Thanks for your interest
Self build ? ..Model ?

Mark Adams said:
What it looks like to me is that canoe that was built from the plans in Popular Mechanics. The 1940's plans.


Hi Mark,:)
Do you think It,s a self built canoe rather than professional canoe builder ?
I,m not familiar with the 1940,s plans you refer to,from "Popular mechanics "What was the model known as ?
Would a comparison with certain dimensions of the canoe to the plans help to confirm your theory ?
Do you have a copy of these plans ?
would you be able to give me details for comparison ?
Thanks for your interest ,:D
regards Noel:)
To me it looks like it was built by someone pretty competent at woodworking and maybe at building other boat styles, but some of the details are a bit unusual for a canoe. Such as all the keels. Another example is the goring pattern evident in your 5th photo. Bottom planks and sheerstrake planks are full width. He started goring at the two planks in between these bottom planks and sheerstrake planks, going so far as have these planks come to sharp point. I don’t think that’s how an experienced North American builder would have done the goring.
Everything I say here is speculation. There are others on this forum that are much more knowledgeable than me.
I think Mark is right on the mark [no pun intended].
I have a series of three articles that appeared in the March, April and May/June editions of the 1936 "Popular Home Craft" magazine. The articles tell how to build a canoe. The canoe they show has some similarities to yours. It differs in that it is for a 16 footer that is 33" wide and 12 " deep. The planking pattern [shown in the attachment] is similar. The entry and exit profiles of the article canoe are much sharper, not as blunt. The decks are correspondingly also sharper.
My thoughts about your canoe are: it was made by a person with some skill that either had an article or some knowledge as to what an American [includes Canada and U.S.] canoe should look like.
The planking appears to be quarter sawn cedar. The ribs may have been made out of small Red Cedar branches or tree boles. After looking more closely at the photos of the decks and gunwales they do appear to be spruce not oak. I think the builder used what materials he/she had available.
As to the seven keels, keelson, and rub rail.They would all add strength to the canoe. That strength would allow more security to use it in salt water and to land it on rocky beaches or shores. Though it obviously hit some thing kind of hard.
As I said before, the halos around the tacks indicate that it was used in salt water. A discussion about the halos and their removal can be found on this forum using the search engine.
So basically my thought is that your canoe was built not as a commercial product but perhaps a one off by someone that had some woodworking skill and used it in salt water.
Just my opinion -could be all wet. :D


  • three hulls.JPG
    three hulls.JPG
    222.1 KB · Views: 398
The goring pattern on the canoe is an exact match with the recommended goring pattern shown in the thumbnails posted by Denis. I would say case closed.
The article in Popular Mechanics appeared in March 1938. It has only one picture showing the gore pattern, but it does appear similar, if not identical, to the one shown in the three pictures of Denis's thumbnail from a different 1936 publication. The PM article was reprinted in 1941 in "Build a Boat for Pleasure or Profit" by Popular Mechanics Press.

Fitz -- that Google Books compilation of Popular Mechanics is a great resource -- thanks for pointing it out.

Wooden Canoe Journal, Nos. 7 and 134 have article on building one-off canoes a la the PM canoe, and have pictures of canoes showing a similar goring pattern.
UFO Unmasked !

Hi folks,:)
A huge vote of thanks to all who contributed so efficiently and astoundingly swiftly to identifying my canoe,:D
I am mightily impressed gentlemen !:cool:
Your discovery and the location of the plans and accompanying article now mean that I have the info I need to make up the seats as they were intended,and to note relevant measurements and timber size ect when re furbishing
I also know that I,m not commiting some sacrilege in attempting this as my first restoration project ,on a rare and venerable old canoe of distinguished pedigree !:eek:
I will be aiming to return or restore this boat to as light a weight as feasable ,
To dipense with some or most of the multiple keels, and to re canvass and replace the broken and cracked planks and ribs as I go.
Any suggestions or advice is always welcomed and indeed sought if you please.;)
Thanks once again to all contributors and i hope to continue to capture your interest in following and participating in the restoration project in due course,
With best regards and greetings of the season to one and all :D