Question from Holland !


New Member
Hello Everybody,

We bought a wooden Canoe last year during our vacation in Danmark. The previous owner did not know what brand or manufacturer this canoe was. He thinks the canoe is from before 1966 and on the koper plate i have is the name of a shipyard: Wilkins. The plate was attached on the boat. Is there somebody that can tell us more about the Canoe? (as much as possible) We will start the restauration within 2 weeks and hope it will be finished next year summer.. The Canoe is made from Mahonie and oak wood.

Thanks in advance,

Anja en Roger Kurvers.


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I'm not familiar with the builder's name-- which only means that yours may be the first canoe by this builder that's been discussed here. Someone who has seen a lot of canoes may jump in with information.

It doesn't seem that this was a canvas-covered canoe, but is an all-wood. It has very pretty lines, with the outside stems, and should be a lovely boat. With the mahogany and oak, it's probably heavier than the average American or Canadian cedar-planked canoe.

Keep us informed as you work on the canoe... pictures of the progress are appreciated. It's great knowing canoes are enjoyed and appreciated all over the world.

Detective Work & Searching

I've been searching around but, so far I have not come up with anything useful. But, I will keep looking. Is there anything else you can do to get additional information about it? Perhaps the people you bought it from know something about it's history, Who did they get it from? Where did they get it from? etc. This is probably going to be detective work.
there's a story to be had here for sure.

I understand that many canoes were exported to Europe over the ages, but this is mighty peculiar. I'm no expert (you shouldn't even listen really) about this but 'I'll give er a go' for the sake of interest and because it's fun to speculate. So please don't take this as me actually knowing something.

-I would place it as earlier construction rather than later, early means ~1900 1890's etc. No inwales, and the thin strip construction longitudinal construction point to that

- The canoe looks very similar to some of the old Canada Canoe Company canoes that I've seen in the Peterborough Canoe Museum. Even though it gives the name 'Wilkins' it may be the name of the importer, or if in the case of someone impressed with what he or she saw in North America, an manufacturer indiginous to Europe. You can visit the Peterborough Canoe Museum here: hxxp:// (you will need flash to see this properly)
Note that the Canada Canoes that they have hanging up are slightly different in construction, with more ribs, thinner. However you can see that the construction is quite similar. The footboards are not so close together as in yours. Rotate around. The Rice Lake Canoes however have a smaller number of those ribs, but also have very long decks. By the way, this would be a good place email I think. There would be someone there who may know (then again I wouldn't be suprised if they browsed this forum). If you do, come back and let us know. Another great site is hxxp://

One thing is for sure is that at the time, there were lots of little canoe companies in the same area of Peterborough, Ontario. 'Wilkins' sounds like a nice British name, which also points to Canada. Speculating rampantly enough for you yet? :)

-The wood 'garboard strakes' on the bottom of the hull are a unique distinguishing feature. Wonder if they were added after manufacture to stabilize the canoe. After at the time when the canoe was being used, No one was around to teach the 'Canadian Technique' har har. Omer Stringer and Bill Mason weren't born yet. So I wonder how the European reaction was in comparison to the water craft that they were used to ("man these things are tippy! I think that I'll attach a few strakes and see if there's an improvement"). Examine to see if the woodworking is different.

-It would be interesting to see if the strips on that canoe are tongue and grooved together. Maybe the actually sealed the hull with cotton and tar? The strips look like they are 1" wide, is that true? If so, tongue and groove and 1" wide strips might point to the Ontario Canoe Company "Patent Rib" canoe. hxtp://

So my best guess is that it is of Ontarian origin (I am biased of course), from the late 1800s early 1900s. Longitudinal strip construction with tongue and groove strips. It would be good to see a pic of the little plate that you're talking about. Either way it's quite interesting. Treat it kindly, it may be worth quite a bit!
Here's another opinion. While Canadian and US canoes did make it over to Europe, this doesn't look much at all like a boat from any of the Canadian companies. I'm going to hazard a guess that it was produced by one of the variety of European canoe manufacturers, and was possibly built in France or Germany. The style of the bilge keels is unusual for a Canadian or US maker. The alternating nail locations along the length of each rib is also unusual. The thwarts and their mounting method is also distinct from the general appearance of those in Canadian canoes. It certainly could be a one-off, but it looks much more well-built than a typical first-time home-built canoe. So my vote is for a European maker, not Canadian (or US).

Some of the French makers included (among a variety of others):

- Chauviere
- Matonnat
- Rocca
- Seyler

Look carefully for any sign of a decal on the decks. Even the ghost of a decal can give a clue by its shape. Also, are there impressions where metal tags existed on the outside of the hull at each point where the thwarts attach? These plates, and even the shapes of their impressions can also help ID the canoe.

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