Kathryn Klos

squirrel whisperer
Just curious about what this might be...


The eBay seller insists it's a French canoe. Here's what he wrote me: "All the plates read France and is dated..., I am not at the shop to read the
rest, definately [sic] from france buyer brought it back from there years ago."

The Coneheads also said they were from France.

Maybe it was paddled to France, from Peterborough or Canton...?


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It looks just like one I worked on a few years ago. That one was French. Had the name plates and everything. It was planked in mahogany, with 3/8 laps at the joints. The ribs were oak. I wish I could remember the name of the maker, but I'll vouch for it's "frenchness"!

There were a number of French strip canoe builders, and a handful of the canoes they built have migrated across the pond. They tend to be built of mahogany rather than the cedar typical of North American canoes.
Hi kathy,

that's you! go for it. the only thing-when I see or hear the word "patina" ---I cringe. What kinda word is Patina? What is it's purpose? Look at me. you will see plenty of patina.
But truthfully, looks like a pretty cool canoe. Maybe the patina washes out?
Patina Princess says "merci"

Yes, it's an interesting boat. I hadn't planned on bidding, as the fleet is holed up in various garages until The Barn is done, and anything new would have to fit in my dining room. The twelve foot Carleton that was on eBay a while back would have fit the dining room but not my pocketbook.

As for "patina"-- it's used a lot on Antiques Roadshow, and my thought is that antiques dealers (in particular) hope that when they use it, our brains will fall out and we'll become blind to anything about whatever the object is, and will concentrate on the possibility that Antiques Roadshow will tell us that we have A National Treasure.

So... do we know if the French builders get their cues from Canadian and American canoe builders?
Kathryn Klos said:
So... do we know if the French builders get their cues from Canadian and American canoe builders?

Many of the Canadian canoe companies, and especially the ones in the Peterborough, Lakefield and Rice Lake area exported substantial numbers of canoes to Europe (some as early as the 1870’s). A few of the builders had their own sales offices in Europe, others sold to and through dealers, agents and importers.
In the early 1900’s at least one builder in France was licensed to build “Peterborough” cedar-strip canoes. By the end of the 1950’s there were close to twenty builders in France, building traditional cedar-strip canoes and boats.

The canoe in the pictures above looks very similar to the models turned out by the French company CHAUVIERE.
However, I have a hard time beleiving that the above discussed canoe was built in the 1890's.

Dick Persson
Headwater Canoe Company
Well, it does look pretty cool. Could be French, definitely in the Peterborough tradition. I doubt that it would be as old as stated. The construction details make me think more recent. Interesting painter! I've never seen one quite like it on any Peterboroughs I've worked on.

Oh, and I do and will continue to use the work "Patina"! It just describes the quality, or character, of the surface. Good or bad.
Douglas,all the painters must have fell off the Peterboroughs you worked on.
I agree it looks Peterborough.Unless it is 1890s it just looks like a nice boat to me irregardless of who built it and where.Value accordingly.
Looks like a canoe from one of the French makers... there was a thriving trade in wooden canoes and similar small wooden boats in Europe in the early 1900s and before. France certainly had its share of excellent builders. These included Chauvier, Seyler, Lawrence, Matonnat, Rivier, and a variety of others. Attached below are some pages from French canoe builders' advertizing. First is a canoe price sheet from Chauvier; second is a page from a Matonnat catalog. The North American influence- the call of the wild from a continent still being explored- was strong, and while these builders made rowing boats, hydroplanes and a variety of other small wooden craft, they loudly promoted their "Canadienne" canoes and "Canoes Indiens".

The trade went both ways- I've seen a number of French all-wood canoes here in North America (yes, even here in the lowly southeastern US!), and Canadian and American canoes (Peterborough, Lakefield, Old Town and many others) were shipped to Europe.

In fact, we have a Peterborough wide-board canoe in our collection- a tagged Peterborough- that was shipped to France and sold by a major dealer in Paris, and then somehow made it back across the pond to the US. It still bears its wonderful brass tag- in French- proclaiming the dealer's identity.


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