We got a good one!


Wooden Canoes are in the Blood
Jean & I just got back yesterday from Rhode Island where we bought a long deck Nutting in very nice condition. It will float as is but may leak because it has been years since it was used and I'm sure the bedding of the keel is dried up. It is 17' long with 38" Mahogany decks, Mahogany thwarts, seats and gunwales. Outside stems and closed gunwales. Ribs are not tapered. There is only one cracked rib. Serial #3274 with the length of 17 stamped on both stems in bold font. This has to be the nicest, best condition 100 year old canoe I've ever bought. IMG_3589-a.JPG IMG_3590-a.JPG IMG_3592-a.JPG IMG_3587-a.JPG IMG_3600-a.JPG
Here is a couple more pictures. The last one is Nutting's boathouse on the Charles River.IMG_3591-a.JPG IMG_3597-a.JPG nutting3.jpg Our dog Zeena is ready for her ride with carpet and backrest!
Thanks Dan. Benson was wondering if there was a nice pinstripe design lurking under the green paint. I would be open to suggestions on how to best approach removing the green paint without damaging the layers underneath. Any thoughts as to age? I presume pre-1920. Charles P. Nutting, 64, is listed as "Proprietor Boathouse" in the 1920 Federal census of Waltham. The 1925 Waltham city directory has him listed as "Treasurer, Nutting-Pillman Amusement Co." So I presume he was more engaged with the dance hall than the canoe business by that time. His wife Lillian died Sept. 16, 1924. Charles died Jan. 30, 1941 at age 85. His obituary carried in the Boston Globe says that he "conducted a boating business here [Waltham] since 1875." He would have been only 19 in 1875 so I presume he didn't have his own shop or livery but was working for someone. The 1900 census of Waltham has him listed as a "Boat Livery Man." By 1910 he is listed a "Boat Builder, shop Employer." The dance hall was built in 1914 so I wonder how much of his business was canoes and how much was nightclub. There are postcards of "Nutting's On The Charles" on Ebay regularly. It's all neat history.

Jim, very very nice canoe. Glad its going to a good home. I actually forwarded the add about this canoe onto another fellow WCHA member a couple weeks back. I have a Nutting myself. A very old one without a serial number. Great pickup!
As far as a date, what I can tell you is that there are at least 2 different builder tags he used. One is obviously earlier then the other. I believe the pic below to be the earlier as I would guess the canoe to pre date 1900 like mine.


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Hi Jim,

I was talking with the seller about this one. I've got a Nutting too, but this one is nice enough that made me consider it. It's particularly nice for having its tag and for having the extended gunwale tips intact. I'm glad it went to a fellow WCHA member.

As for paint scheme underneath, this one is an excellent candidate because it looks like it may have its original canvas. Just wet sand through the outer layers of paint until you get down to the original. I like to start with something very fine, like 400 grit, and then possibly move up to 200 or so if the going is too slow. Just don't want to start off cutting too fast until I see how the paint comes off. Photos below show "B-B", an unusual Charles River torpedo canoe uf unknown maker. B-B appears to have been painted a light brown, then the main body painted over in dark brown, after which the gold striping and name were applied and then edged in black. This border design is regularly seen on some Charles River-area canoes.

The green canoe was sanded to reveal its very narrow (about 3/16" wide) gold stripe; this is a Brodbeck. Simple yet elegant; elegance is a hallmark of Brodbeck canoes all arround.

It's fun to see what kinds of paint schemes were used by different makers. On my Nutting and some other short-deck Nuttings I've seen, there is a simple stripe (about 5/8" wide if I remember correctly) that follows the sheer of the canoe right up to the stems; no turned-down ends following the curve of the stems. It will be interesting to see if yours has this same design or something more complex, akin to the fancier designs often seen on long-decked Charles River-area canoes.

You may recall that Ken Kelly also wrote a few years ago in Wooden Canoe about his experiences wet sanding overcoats of paint off of canoes in order to reveal designs underneath.


My research has turned up Nutting's earliest mention in 1886 as "boats to let;" he continued to be listed as "boats for sale/let" through 1893. In 1895, C.P. Nutting is listed as a canoe manufacturer. C.P. Nutting & Co. turns up sometime after 1897, but by 1901. The company continues as such (as a canoe manufacturer) until 1915, at which point Nutting Pillman Amusement Co. is formed and they are listed on as "boats to let."


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I would be open to suggestions on how to best approach removing the green paint without damaging the layers underneath.

Michael Grace's comments above along with Ken Kelly and Chris Pearson's article on page 8 of the Wooden Canoe Journal issue number 190 from August, 2015 cover this topic in some depth. Good luck,

Thanks Benson. I found my copy from August 2015 so I'm good to go. Not sure when I can start on this one, I'm working on two now and when they are done Jean wants her Indian Girl restored. That one has 20 broken ribs along with God knows what else. I may bring the Nutting to Assembly next summer just the way it sits right now.
Thanks everyone for the nice comments and good advice.