Unknown canoe - any ideas?

D_Sabine

Procrastinator
Anyone have any idea about the origin of this canoe, which was found in Nova Scotia?

It is 14’6” long, 34” width inside the ribs, and 12” deep amidships.
Ribs are 1 ½” by 5/16”, and the planking is 2 3/8” by 1/8”. There are 50 ribs plus 2 (one each end) cant ribs made from planking stock. Both ribs and planking appear to be eastern white cedar. Gunwales are spruce. There is a hardwood keel tapered both in thickness and width.

It was made with a mix of brass and steel tacks - sometimes a piece of planking is even tacked to a rib with one tack of each type. Screws are all steel, and slotted-head.

It has pre-woven cane seats that appear original. Most interesting to me, simply because I haven’t seen one like it before, is the chip-carved center thwart. I thought at first that it might have been done after-the-fact, but the thwart seems to have been shaped to accommodate the carving, as the only flat section occurs there.

Any ideas? There were a couple of local Nova Scotian builders – I’ve only personally seen a few canoes built by Harold Gates, and none had thwarts with carved designs. This canoe could have come from anywhere though.

Dwayne
Fredericton, NB
 

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Deck and thin forward cant ribs suggest Chestnut/Peterborough. Center hole in deck would have held the factory painter ring - see photo. The 4 carriage bolts holding the center thwart also suggest Chestnut/Peterborough. Did you check the stem bases for serial/model numbers? That will help to identify it. Pictures are of restored 15' Chestnut Does. The decks/inwales had to have dry rot repair so they aren't completely original.
 

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Thanks Dave,
No serial number, but it does appear that 8" of one stem was tacked in to replace rot, so perjaps the number was lost.

I have several other Chestnuts ranging in age from the 1920s to the closing out sale, and the deck shape on this unknown canoe certainly matches the shape of the later Chestnuts. The thwart carving throws me though, and I've not seen this mix of tacks either. Maybe Chestnut was just running low on brass that week...
 
Deck and thin forward cant ribs suggest Chestnut/Peterborough. Center hole in deck would have held the factory painter ring - see photo. The 4 carriage bolts holding the center thwart also suggest Chestnut/Peterborough. Did you check the stem bases for serial/model numbers? That will help to identify it. Pictures are of restored 15' Chestnut Does. The decks/inwales had to have dry rot repair so they aren't completely original.

Hey Dave, just picked up an old canoe, little more than ribs and boards. Noticed your chestnut has off-set keel screws. The keel is missing on my boat, but it also has offset keel screw holes. The shadowing on the bottom looks like it may have had a hide keele. Decks have an embossed star. Any thoughts?
 
The offset keel screw holes suggest it had a shoe keel. This was very common to Chestnut/Peterborough canoes. Can you get us some pictures as that would help greatly? The deck stars may have been added by a previous owner as was the thwart carving on your other Chestnut canoe.
 

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Chestnut/peterborough/lakefield

The offset keel screw holes suggest it had a shoe keel. This was very common to Chestnut/Peterborough canoes. Can you get us some pictures as that would help greatly? The deck stars may have been added by a previous owner as was the thwart carving on your other Chestnut canoe.

Hi Dave, have attached some pictures. 3126 shows the star and a ring hole. The rear deck doesn't have the hole. 3119 shows the whole boat. 3116 shows the beam. 3114 rib size and spacing. 3117 the thwart. There are two, with the center one missing and space held by a board. The canoe is 16 feet overall length. What do you think?

Appreciate the pics of the bottom keel on your boat. Understand this boat had a similar keel but has been lost. Any ideas where I might find the dimensions? Thanks! Des
 

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Someone's "hot rod"?

It is a Chestnut canoe. If it is 16' then it is most likely a Pal or Deer model depending on the date of manufacture. What bothers me is the width you show as it should be about 35 or 36". It was quite common to cut the seats and thwarts down. [The thwarts don't appear to have been modified, maybe they are from another canoe. ] This practice rounded the hull bottom and narrowed the beam making the canoe less stable but much faster. The star is not factory and was added later by someone. They came with only one painters ring, always in the forward deck.
 
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Hey Dave
Appreciate the feedback! I spent some time at the canoe museum to try to figure it out. The Chestnut they had on display had a ring in both ends, while the Peterborough only had one, which confused things some! But the Chestnut thwarts were exactly like this canoe so it seemed very plausible. The decks were similar on both boats! There was some suggestion that it might be a Lakefield but it just doesn’t look like anything I’ve seen at the museum or on-line.
I did see the star symbol on a birch bark canoe at the museum, but agree with you that the star was added after production, probably for a camp marking to keep track of their canoes. At the end of the day the keel had me convinced it was a Peterborough or a Chestnut. Thanks for the tie breaker! Cheers!
 
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