Thompson Ranger Questions

Mark Adams

all wood nut
Hi All,

I just started restoring a Thompson Ranger. In looking at the catalog disk I got from Dan, it appears to be an older canoe. (pre 1947) It appears to have gunnels of ash. The ribs seem to be of red cedar. The catalogs just list cedar as ribbing material, and spruce as the gunnel material. Were there variations in what Thompson used for gunnel material? The gunnels are sided 3/4". I am confuzzled! Also, what would seats be made of? The one deck is mahogany.
Last edited:
Spruce and mahogany are the only gunwale materials that I've ever seen in Thompson canoes. I have 6 of them here right now. Seats vary some, but mostly oak and Mahogany that I've seen. It could be that they tried something different. What makes you think the ribs are red cedar?? Planking has always been red cedar......I'm willing to bet that the planking is mostly, if not all quarter sawn and few if any gaps between the planks...that's what I've noticed about Thompson's anyway.
White cedar is abundant in the Peshtigo area where the canoe was built.
Hi Dave,

Definitely ash for gunnels. As far as the ribs go, grain and the interior color when I took a knife to a broken rib lead me to believe that they are red cedar. I'll probably put white in, just to save myself the heartache of trying to bend the red. I'll try and post a pic of the scrap later.
White cedar heart wood can be a dark tan and may be confused for red cedar. Especially the older both get the harder it is to tell the dark heart white cedar from red cedar. At the time your canoe was made there would have been more old big white cedar logs and more dark heart wood available. The ribs could be dark heart wood and not red cedar. Over the years both will oxidize to a very similar color.
The ribs are white cedar. I got a good look at the scrap in the sun. There is a huge difference between the two, especially in the grain patterns. It was a very small piece, and I was looking at it at night.