Peterborough cedar rib- help and advice

Nick Dennis

Having refurbished a Chestnut wood and canvas 1950's Playmate a year or so ago I was in need of a project.

Through the WCHA UK Chapter I was offered a Peterborough cedar rib which needed a new custodian and which needed to be used. Its 14' and looking at the Dragonfly Canoe Works identification chart we believe it is a Model 20 date range 1909- 1921. It came with a lot of accessories including rudder, lee boards and a lateen sailing rig.

The canoe appears to have spent much of its life in France. Whilst there someone overstamped the thwart plates/tags and reversed them clearly in an attempt to disguise the identity. We have no idea why. the makers plate has also been removed.

I attach some photos.
Advice please on how to progress. The canoe has not been on the water for some time and there is some opening of joints. It has been varnished but I will flatten and redo.

My list:-

1. Do I soak the boat to get it to swell
2. Do I run some clear epoxy into the open joints as a bolt and braces exercise
3. Any clues why the thwart plates/tags were concealed and over stamped?
4. There is a damaged section of the gunwale due to worm. I propose a mixture of wood and resin localised repair to match in.
5. Copper plate cinch repair- I propose to leave this
6. Work out all the sailing rig and get a new sail made.
7.Is there anywhere from where I can buy a replacement makers plate?
8. Lots of rubbing down and new Epifanes varnish to give a better finish

Anything else I should do?



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In answer to your questions, here's what I would try first:
1. No, I would not soak the canoe.
2. No, I would not use any epoxy. I would mix Epifanes varnish and wood flour and work it into the open joints. It might take more than one attempt to make the canoe watertight. For a huge crack, cotton string soaked in varnish might be needed to help hold the varnish and wood flour in place.
3. The two reasons that come to mind are either the canoe was stolen, or, more likely, to keep from paying the French import duty on a canoe made in Canada.
4. If the damaged rail section is small, your repair should work fine. For a larger damaged section, I would install a "Dutchman" using at least an 8:1 scarph.
5.Yes, why not leave it; unless the repair bothers you.
7.I don't know ,maybe someone else does.
8. Yes.
Paddle and sail your beautiful canoe with pride.