Trying to identify a canoe


Curious about Wooden Canoes
I bought this boat at an estate sale, shoved into the back corner of a hayloft in Belfast, Maine. The boat was there when the owner bought the house and barn, and he had no idea of what it was or where the boat came from. I've had it for a while, thinking I'd get around to repairing it. But I'm pretty sure that I don't have the skill or patience to work on thin planked tightseam construction. So I could sheath it, but I don't want to do that to a boat that has any historical significance.

Well, I'm going to have to do some work on getting photos into a post...
But in the meantime, the photobucket address above is a picture of the boat in question.
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Kinda difficult to tell from that pic what it is. Do you have other photos, showing the stem profile, and the inside, as well as deck shape? With those, we might be able to help you out a bit more.

By "sheathing" do you mean fiberglass?? If so, DON"T!!!
More pictures coming.
Here's a pic of the hull interior, forward, showing a mast step, and the framing, which is half-round oak.

And a shot of the hull exterior, showing one of the stems that's obviously got some problems at the upper end. The planking does not look like any cedar I've ever worked with: not northern white, Port Orford, Alaska Yellow. Also not cypress. Cork Pine? Anyway, you can see that the hull was not canvas covered. No tack holes, the way the stem is. I think.

Here's a picture

showing how much deadrise there is in the hull. One very knowledgeable canoe guy on the Woodenboat Forum commented that maybe the hull had "relaxed" over the years, and developed a sort of pot belly. I'm going to go look at the hull again soon, because if that was the case, you'd expect that the keel would have a lot of rocker in it. I think. In any event, the hull is radically tippy. I've paddle old-style whitewater kayaks, Nordkapp sea kayaks, etc. I'm pretty familiar with tippy. This boat is TIPPY! On the other hand, it's true that the only way it could be paddled was with a "sheathing" of plastic sheeting, taped on at the sheer. Otherwise, she leaks liike a sieve. I have read that there were some pretty radical sailing canoes in the Adirondacks and Thousand Islands, Muskoka area, and would like to know if this is one of them.

The bow deck, showing where the builder's plate might have been, and distinctive oak coaming.

This is the final picture for this session:

Showing damage to the framing, port side, amidship, frame heads are rotted and broken away. Shows plank fastenings, clinched copper nails. One detail of construction that's interesting is that her planks are not butted square to each other, but join with beveled edges. If I remember right, this was used on Adirondack Guide Boats. I also own a small launch built by Luders in Stamford CT in the late 1920's, which was built tight-seam and has the same beveled edges.

FINAL NOTE: I get to where the boat is stored maybe twice a week. If anyone would like to see pictures or descriptions of dimensions, construction details, etc, let me know.
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Pictures that help with canoe identification include one of the deck, a profile, a shot of the seat-type (which appear to be replacements in your canoe), thwart, stem. Appears to be an interesting canoe, and it would be fun to see more pictures and figure it out if possible.

Sounds like you already know that fiberglassing the canoe will destroy its potential value-- but if you want to read old discussions about this, you can use the "search" function on the right, above.

If the canoe is hogged, we've had good luck removing that by suspending between horses, putting a little water in the bottom and putting planks in the bottom with some weight on top. Just a bit of gentle pressure at the point of hogging. Not sure if that's what you have going on, but we've had a couple canoes with this condition and it's easily reversed.

Looks like it could be a neat canoe.

I didn't see your picture of the deck until just now. Very nice.
Looks like it is a Peterborough. They put mast steps and deck rings in a lot of canoes that didn't come with sail rigs. It needs more than a covering. The keelson looks like it is totally rotten, and on a Canadian cedarstrip that is an important little bit of wood. The planking is probably Western Red Cedar. One would think that is the hull had "relaxed" that there would be a ton of rocker, as it would have bulged out in the center, the ends would have stayed fixed relative to the keel.

Are the thwarts by any chance hollowed out? The rib spacing is wider than a normal Pete, but it reminds me of a racing Peterborough that surfaced a couple of years ago. That one was also heavily "veed", and consequently very tippy as well. The seats are not original, but added at a much later date.
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Hi Kathryn and Mark,
Thanks for your comments. The only ideas for sheathing that I've entertained was either using Ceconite, the heath-shrink dacron used on older aircraft, or maybe a really quick job using the heat-shrink poly film that's used for covering boats in storage. Both would be fragile, but maybe could be done in such a way that it wouldn't compromise the "restorability" of the hull, assuming that anyone would think it was worth the trouble.
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It looks pretty much identical to the canoe in the thread I just linked above. A model 1430 racing canoe.
Here are three more pictures:
One of the hull, pretty much in profile. It does have some rocker to the bottom, but I have no idea of what the norm was for these hulls

Then two thwart shots. First shows the hull full-length, with placement of thwarts. Obviously, the caned seat is not original. It's also mounted in the bow.

Final picture shows one thwart, with method of attachment to the hull. The washers are brass stamped "finish" washers for a wood screw. Screws are flat, not oval, head.
In any event, thanks very much for your comments.
Hi Mark,
I just looked at the pictures on the link you posted. This certainly looks like at the least a close relative of the 1430 you describe. On my next foray to the boat's secluded retreat I will see if the gunwales are hollowed out, and also measure her. It should be a simple matter to stretch a string lengthwise, and see how much rocker there is in her keel.
Here are a couple more pictures of the boat: If you click on the links, the picture should display in a new window.

Showing the hull exterior. It almost looks as if the entire exterior was shellacked. Is that possible?

This shows how the thwarts are fitted, with perches above and below. There are no inwales. The gunwales are painted black in the pictures, but have quite an elaborate profile, and look to be some kind of hardwood. This isn't a very good picture.
The wood species of the thwart appears to match the racing canoe. Is it chestnut? Sometimes chestnut and oak are hard to tell apart in pictures but chestnut is lighter weight and was used by builders early-on.
That would be very cool. I don't think I've ever knowingly held a piece of Chestnut in my life.
You may have seen chestnut furniture in antique stores labeled "oak"-- if you heft it and it seems surprisingly lightweight for what it is, the wood may actually be American chestnut. One of the canoes we're taking to Assembly is trimmed in chestnut and we'll take a paddle too-- and an oak paddle that's very similar but heavier so folks can see the difference. Once you "get an eye" for it, it's fun discovering things made of chestnut in shops and such... and on canoes.

It seems logical to me that a canoe built for racing would be trimmed in a light-weight wood species.
Well, today I got out to where the boat is, and checked a couple of points.
1) The thwarts are hollowed out on their underside. Also, on second glance they no longer look like oak, and don't feel dense like oak.
2) Using nothing more than a stretched string, my guess is that the hull has about 3-4" of rocker.
Is there somewhere I should look for a serial numbers?
The wood species of the thwart appears to match the racing canoe. Is it chestnut? Sometimes chestnut and oak are hard to tell apart in pictures but chestnut is lighter weight and was used by builders early-on.

More common in a Canadian built canoe is butternut, rather than chestnut. They look and weigh similar.
Hi Rob Stevens,
Butternut I'm a little familiar with. As least the stuff I've worked with has a slightly greenish/yellowish cast to its color, which these thwarts do not, but there are probably variations in color, staining, and also, this finish might be 60 years old.