Steve Wonacott said:
My father Ray Wonacott founded Wonacott Canoes in the early 70's. The canoes were made in Wenatchee, Washington. One of his later partners was named Grahm or Graham and was located in Long Beach (Orange County) California. The canoes were not made there but in Wenatchee. He made several models including 16 ft. double-ender, 18-ft. square stern, a rowing shell, a dinghy (yacht tender). I don't believe he ever made any drift boats.
My name is Jerry Annoni and in 1975 my wife and new born son went to Washinton (Sunnyside) for a Falconry meet and on the way we went to Wenachee to buy one of your father's canoes. I had the privledge of talking to your dad and learned a few things about canoe making. The first thing I learned was, it is a difficult business. Your dad told me that his accountant just told him he could not continue more than two more years because the quality of his product was too labor intensive. Just an example; the thwart was made of oak, cut in nine strips, steamed, bent, glued and then hand shaped.
Each 3/4 cedar strip was convex on one edge and concave on the other so they would mate with no gaps. The inside of the canoe was covered with one piece of fiber glass with no darts taken out of it.
When I arrived the canoe I chose was just being completed. The fellow finishing the canoe told me they actually name each canoe and keep it on record. My canoe was named "Beaver". It had "racing stripes" on the gunnals just below the rail, they have since faded.
"Beaver's" serial number is WCL001190575. Truly a work of art.
I just recently refinished "Beaver" for the second time. This time I used a PPG poly vinyl urethane. It is supposed to be 100% U.V. resistant.
Your dad told me the story of when he was invited to the Canadian Canoe Museum when one of his canoes was installed in the museum. As a courtesy he was allowed to try out any canoe in the museum. So he chose a beautiful Indian Birchbark. Being unfamiliar with its trim, when he slid aboard it flipped him right in the drink. He said, "very embarassing."
Well Steve, I hope all is well with you and yours. I don't know if your dad is still with us or not, but it was great meeting him back in '75'. His canoes are quite a legacy. I'll try to attach some photo's of "Beaver".
PS I still have two of WCL brochures.