Peterborough Canoe Restoration


New Member
I have a new/old Peterborough Canadien (model 1427, serial 8385) that is in need of some restoration prior to refinishing. From what I can tell, there are only two main issues.

1. The tip of both decks and deck caps

At both ends, you will see that the decks have fallen from their original position. There is no rot in the stem or in the decks themselves. They may have sustained an impact at some point or from repeated overturning on a dock.

You will also notice that one of the decks has been repaired and needs to be replaced.

My questions include:

Can I repair these decks to remedy the situation and have them sit flush with the gunnels (without putting in new decks all round) where the decks meets the stem? The outwhales are in excellent condition - no rot.

The deck caps need to be replaced, I know, but how do you do this on the bow and save the original logo? Strategies?

Deck caps appear to be black walnut. Possible?

Decks appear to be basswood. Correct?

2. Replacing original seats

Terrible replacement seats were put in at a lower position (screwed into ribs) than the originals.

You can see from the pictures that the original through and through holes still exist- where would I get original (looking) seats and what hardware would I use if I'm trying to restore to close-to-original. What wood would the seats have been made of? Would they have been caned? Does anyone have pictures of a Canadien they would share with me so I replace the seats correctly?

Thanks for your help.







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The deck caps look like walnut, the decks are most likely chestnut or butternut. They don't look terrible, I think some people prefer original. Once you start digging into it their always seems like more to do. Someone else will have to give you a clue on the seats but they probably would also be chestnut or butternut. My Peterborough just came with a rear seat. I would investigate if it was a thwart up front and someone cobbled a seat in. I went through it and used the old decks for building a jig to the curve, they also are kinda cupped for water to drain off, got them close by steam bending, and then used a spoke shave to fit them in. Decals available from the WCHA store. I think the shape of a canadian is close to a #4, likes to go straight, fast, fun to be in.


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Thanks for the reply jchu.

Three of the decks are in really great shape except for the very tips where they are unsupported by screws through the gunnels. One of the decks has had a crack in it and has been repaired rather crudely - so I will likely have to replace it.

Your bending jig is very helpful to see. I could use something similar to bend the existing decks back to form and would really just have to bend the "tips" as everything else lines up well.

I knew that new decals could be purchased, but I thought the original decal had some value in preservation.

Thanks again for your help.

Hi Peter,

Attached are a couple of pictures of the seats of a 1930’s Peterborough Canadien. Your canoe would have had the same seats, minus the edge chamfering on the frames. I will look through my notes for the measurements.

Dick Persson
Headwater Canoe Company


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