Kathryn Klos

squirrel whisperer
Starting a thread for RacineWis canoes. There were three models: the Chippewa, the Seneca, and the Navajo. I'll post pictures in replies to this thread.
RacineWis Chippewa model

Here are three examples of the Chippewa model-- a 15, a 16, and an 18 footer (this model also came in 17 feet). These canoes appear to date from the 1920s. Our canoes (the 16 and 18) were purchased from a property that was built in the early 1920s.

The 15 footer was owned at the time of these pictures by WCHA member Craig Kitchen, whose smiling face is seen paddling it on one of our U.P. Chapter Adventures. This canoe is in original condition-- original canvas and beautiful mellowed interior. We know it hasn't been re-canvassed because there are rivets in the gunwales, as seen in the shot down the side of the canoe in the third picture.

Serial numbers on these canoes consist of four digits with length below, appearing on the rib just beyond the bow seat.


Single-petal deck with decal (on 18 footer)
Craig paddles his 15 footer on Harlow Lake
15 foot Chippewa in original condition at Dome Show, Marquette, MI
Decal Close-Up (15 footer)
Loading the 15 foot Chippewa
Deck of 16 foot Chippewa


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More RacineWis Chippewa

Interior, 16 footer
Profile, 16 footer
Serial number, 16 footer

I will eventually add some better pictures and link to a video of these canoes. They are presently in the loft of the barn, with only scary-ladder access.


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RacineWis Seneca model

Captured on video, here is an example of the 17 foot Seneca model:


The Seneca, according to the Racine Boat Company Catalog, has decks of "30 inch clear white cedar with light oak covering board." The canoe in the video was redone with cherry decks (not by Denis).
riveted gunwales

As far as we know, RacineWis did--- our two Chippewas have indications that rivets were once there.

There's a comprehensive series of articles on Racine canoes in Wooden Canoe:

Issue 112 (August 2002) "The Racine Canoe, Part 1: The Racine Hardware Manufacturing Company 1879-1893"

Issue 114 (December 2002) "The Racine Canoe, Part 2: The Racine Boat Manufacturing Company 1893-1916"

Issue 116 (April 2003) "Is It a Racine? Or Is It a Racine?"

Issue 118 (August 2003) "The Racine Canoe, Part 3: The Racine Yacht and Boat Works, 1895 to 1899"

Issue 121 (February 2004) "The Racine Canoe, Part 4: The Racine Boat Company, 1906 to 1928"
Racine Seneca 18

I have a Racine Seneca 18 that I will begin to restore this winter. Here are some current photos. Please see and comment.
If your pictures didn't attach, they might be too large and will work if you resize them. Looking forward to seeing your Seneca.
Posting Tim's Pictures

Tim sent me his pictures and I'm posting them, six at a time.

The following is what he says about the canoe--- he'd appreciate the thoughts of others.

Tim says, "Generally the canoe seems sound. There is damage to the gunwales at a seat and it think I will have to replace or at least repair these. I will know more once I start to take things apart. I believe it still has the original coating on the interior, a kind of reddish stain."


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Here are another six pix...


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... and the last few. Pictures such as these can help others figure out which breed of canoe they have-- thanks, Tim.


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Interesting. Photo #6 of Kathryns post show the inwales 'crossing', that is, one longer and covering the tip of the other. Also, the inner gunwales have no sign of rivetss, were the outers then attached with screws? Thanks.
17 ft Racine Chippewa

I didn't see any photos of a 17 ft Chippewa, so I thought I would add mine. She had sponsons when I bought her, but I liked the lines better without them.


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Thought I'd post some pictures of an 18' Navajo model.

Some are before stripping some are after. still needs to be restored.

I will say it has some of the nicest wood I've seen; ribs, planking and mahogany trim. The combings on the decks are about 3 1/2 inches tall. The 4th pic shows it on top of a Willits combing.

I also found a deep red stain on everything which I notices someone else found on one of these canoes.



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Last edited:
Here's some more


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Nice canoe, Paul. Interesting that the hull is marked in blue crayon, which Jack McGreivey's article says is a character of Racine Boat Manufacturing Co.