Show us your Guideboat...

Dan Miller

cranky canoeist
Staff member
By request, we've created a new forum to feature Adirondack guideboats. To kick things off, here is a thread to show off your guideboat in. I'll kick things off with a couple of photos of me in my 16' John Blanchard (Blue Mountain Lake) guideboat at the No-Octane Regatta in Tupper Lake a few years ago. Photos were taken by Ritchie Orris.

Not that I am biased, but this is one of the nicest rowing guideboats I have had the pleasure of rowing.
 

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So, I'm wondering since I do not have a guideboat, (but would love to)!
...just how heavy are they to handle? larger than a canoe of course so would an all wood boat run 80 lbs and up??
I live very close to the Saint John River headpond and early mornings can be very still, ideal for a nice row along the shore.
 
...just how heavy are they to handle? larger than a canoe of course so would an all wood boat run 80 lbs and up??

No, they are lighter than a canvas canoe, In fact, not much heavier than a canoe with the canvas removed. Remember, these were designed for use in a region where carries were (still are) a regular part of boating.
 
Most guideboats that were built traditionally (planked with tacked seams) were roughly from 55 to 70 lbs. These boats were mainly around 16 feet long. They were built with eastern white pine for the planking and bottom board with Red Spruce for the stems and ribs. For the gunnels and decks, and seats and cleats cherry, or other type of hardwood was used for strength. But like Dan mentioned the builders wanted to make their boats as lite as possible due to the carries. Some were even called egg shells they were so thin on the planking. For the guideboat I built, although not traditionally built, it weighed 70 lbs without the oars and yoke and it was fiberglassed on the outside with a total length of 17'6 " just to give you an idea. As far as rowing thsee boats I have to warn you it is very addicting and a great way to just enjoy the outdoors.

Sounds like a great boat! I've toyed with the idea of building a stripper version, but finanaces won't allow it right now....
I think I'd prefer a planked hull anyways. I assume the planking is clinched much like the plank to rib clinch on canvas canoes?
 
Here are several photos of some guideboats that I built a few years ago. They were built from the Warren Cole plans that are available from the Aditondack Museum. All three boats were planked with pine in the traditional manner. Two of the boats have laminated ribs and stems. The third boat has ribs and stems sawn from spruce roots.
 

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Wonder why they used pine for the planking instead of cedar??? Went for strength over weight?
Up here I believe clear pine is very pricey compared to cedar.
What plank thickness would be used??
 
Western red cedar is similar to white pine in weight; northern white cedar is lighter, bends easily, but is softer than pine. The Adirondacks were full of large virgin pine and spruce back in the day, and both woods adapted well to building boats. I built a ribless guideboat in red cedar, glassed inside and out. It was much too heavy, but rowed like the wind. Then I built a fully ribbed 14-foot Grant stripped in white cedar glassed on the outside only. I have now fully converted to planked Grants, no glass, and the only epoxy in them is for the laminated ribs. I planked one in flat sawn white cedar - big mistake. Quarter sawn may have been better, but the flat sawn cedar cracked severely, requiring a lot of filling. The current build is another Grant 14-footer, planked in quarter sawn eastern white pine. Much better, though it seems slightly heavier.

By the way, if you strip a guideboat in pine, use bead and cove strips with waterproof glue like Titebond III, and make sure every strip joint is tight, you don't need fiberglass. That saves many $ and makes for a lighter boat. I know of one boat built that way, and it worked out just fine.
 
Chargers Guide Boat & New to forum

Hello everyone, Well my Guide Boat is less then one year old. I built it this past Feb. - May. It is a strip built (Pine) with Spruce Laminated ribs. The bottom board is Pine as well. The decks are Cherry, Mahogany & Hard Maple. The gunwales are Hard Maple but stained to look like Cherry. I used the book called " Building an Adirondack Boat " by John Michne & Micheal Olivette. John was very helpful to me while I was building my boat & I thank him immensely. I met John in Long Lake at Hoss's Adirondack Authors Night in 09. He convinced me that I could build this boat with my talents in woodworking even though I am Legally Blind and have a hard time seeing anything at all. I have since finished the boat and loved taking it out in Newcomb on Lake Harris, Beldon Lake and Rich Lake as well as Long Lake. It is a dream to row and is very stable. From what I have seen so far in this forum I am in great company of many very good boat builders and feel honored to be in this group.
Completed3.jpgcompleted4.jpgcompleted5.jpgcompleted6.jpgcompleted7.jpgcompleted8.jpg
 
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Charger, that's some nice work right there. Congratz.

I must price out some pine from the local sawmills and see about building one of these things....after my canoes are restored I guess. Only room for one project at a time. LOL.

Anyone?? Doesn't Adirondack Guide Boats use chamfered joints on their strip planking??? Sorta lock the latest strip down in behind the previous one against the rib or molds when glued? It would eliminate the gaps between the strips.
 
Thanks Easterivers, I am very proud of her. As to your question about chamfered joints, They are only used when Planking not strip building. The joints in a stripper are Bead and Cove with glue running down the complete joint. I used Titebond IIII on my boat with NO fiberglass on the outside. I also used a very good Marine Varnish on the inside and out, 4 coats on each to seal the boat. I had NO leaks at all and even after banging some rocks up on the West Branch of the Hudson River near Newcomb, New York.
 
Anyone?? Doesn't Adirondack Guide Boats use chamfered joints on their strip planking??? Sorta lock the latest strip down in behind the previous one against the rib or molds when glued? It would eliminate the gaps between the strips.

Traditionally-built guideboats are lapstrake, but because both edges of the strakes are bevelled, the result is a smooth hull. Most builders used feather-edge laps, but the Grants used a special plane to created a stepped lap. Smooth lap planking is not specific to just guideboats, but was used in a wide range of watercraft, including canoes (notably many of those built by Rushton).

Almost all of your guideboat questions are answered in the book "The Adirondack Guideboat" by Kenneth and Helen Durant.
 
Oh if anyone wants to see more photos of my Guide Boat please check out my album in my profile or go to Adirondackbuilt.com and click on Adirondack then Guide Boat.
 
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Here are some pix of my boats:
DSCN0649 P reduced.jpgDSCN0934croppedreduced.jpgDSCN9750 P reduced.jpg

The first one is of my first guideboat, built when I was still deeply esconced in strip canoe building mode. The two boats shown together were built during my strip building break out period, as I switched to ribbed boats. I had trouble shaking off fiberglassing, though. The last picture is my first planked guideboat. Laminated spruce ribs, flat-sawn northern white cedar planks, not backed out. The current build is not shown, since it is unfinished, but close. That one is planked in quarter-sawn eastern white pine.
 
Here is a site that may answer a lot of questions and give some better understanding of Adirondack Guideboats. It is my own site, however it is not a comercial site; more for education and information. Thank you, Chris Woodward
www.guideboats.com
 
Hello everyone, Well my Guide Boat is less then one year old. I built it this past Feb. - May. It is a strip built (Pine) with Spruce Laminated ribs. The bottom board is Pine as well. The decks are Cherry, Mahogany & Hard Maple. The gunwales are Hard Maple but stained to look like Cherry. I used the book called " Building an Adirondack Boat " by John Michne & Micheal Olivette. John was very helpful to me while I was building my boat & I thank him immensely. I met John in Long Lake at Hoss's Adirondack Authors Night in 09. He convinced me that I could build this boat with my talents in woodworking even though I am Legally Blind and have a hard time seeing anything at all. I have since finished the boat and loved taking it out in Newcomb on Lake Harris, Beldon Lake and Rich Lake as well as Long Lake. It is a dream to row and is very stable. From what I have seen so far in this forum I am in great company of many very good boat builders and feel honored to be in this group.
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Can you tell me how thick the strips were? I've wanted to build a strip-built small boat, but everyone says you have to fiberglass. I've done a lot of glued-lap, but am looking for a change.
 
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