S/n 877


Curious about Wooden Canoes
I own an all wood strip-planked canoe of unknown background. It was purchased in the Adirondacks, Lake George region, 25 years ago and the only identification I can find is the number "877" hand-written at the base of the stem and in the same location on the stern. The canoe is cedar planked, varnished interior and varnished and fiberglassed exterior. No telling if the 'glass is original or added later.
Gunwales and stem-plates are being replaced due to years stored under a deck, but otherwise in great shape. Three hand-caned seats are very good as well. I'll take a few pictures, but I've already begun the gunwale restoration.

Any help would be very much appreciated - thank you.
Hi Mark,

First, welcome to the boards. hopefully we'll be able to help out.

In cases like this, a picture is worth a thousand words. If you are able to put up a couple of pics, we'll be able to help you out that much faster.

If I had to venture a wild guess, you might have a Grass River Boatworks canoe. 25-30 years ago the Newman boys in Canton were pretty prolific and priced right. Lot's of locals bought from them. They were around before the LP and Saranac area folks started building.
They made all sorts of strippers (well) before they started to build with carbon.
You might give them a call to see if they used a numbering sequence like you the one you see.

And yes, worth a thousand words....
Mark and MGC,

Many thanks for the good information and replies - very much appreciated. I've attached some pictures and please forgive me for the poor quality (old digital camera and basement lighting).

I wish I had taken a shot prior to beginning the gunwale restoration, but I do show one pic with some of the original inwale and I held up what was left of the breast hook in another pic to show how it looked. Inwale and outwale are 1/2" x 3/4" cedar and you'll see the new outwale already glued up. I did this to ensure some stability in the hull form. Makes for a bit more work and looks like a mess right now but it will all come together once the inwales are fit.

There is a thin layer of 'glass on the exterior but the interior is left alone with only a shellack or varnish, which should clean up nicely. The upside down drips on the hull are the result of the boat being stored (and forgotten) under a deck that was unfortunately painted at some point. Luckily there are only a few drips - heartbreaking nonetheless!

I will clean up the null once the interior is done and if it looks good I'll leave it bright, if not, paint will be the solution.

Bot maasures 14'7" overall and about 38" beam. The trree seats hang from the inwale and are in great shape.

Thanks again!


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A few more pictures and one showing the serial number.



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Whoops, I steered you completely wrong. Until I saw these pictures I thought that you had a strip built canoe. You don't. Not sure what that is....
No apology necessary - I used the term "strip-planked" in error. I helped build a cedar strip Wee Lassy style CLC boat some years back and just wasn't thinking when I wrote my first note - my bad!

This may be nother more than some upstate NY fellow's winter project but I thought it would be fun to research it a bit - you never know. Once its back together it may be easier to identify. I'll be heading to Maine next week for the Maine Boatbuilder's Show and there's usually a fellow there that builds a similar canoe during the show - I plan to take a few pictures with me, and I'll let you know what I learn.

Thnaks again,
Babiche seats are usually seen on Canadian-built canoes... but that's not to say someone can't build a canoe with babiche seats anywhere else.

Thank you for your input - very much appreciate the reply. The seat stitching looks identical to the stitching used on snow shoes, which, of course, were made by lots of folks in the northern woods and Canada.

Finished installing the new inwales/outwales this weekend. Next task is to flip it over and take a hard look at the hull. If I can restore the "bright" finish I will, but if not, paint will be the solution. We'll see.

Thanks again,