What do I have here?

Ralph Berg

New Member
I've had this canoe for 30 years. The original owner said it was an OT he purchased in the 1930s but I think he may have been mistaken regarding the manufacturer.

It originally had a keel which I left off after re-canvassing. (Note the empty screw holes showing on the interior photo.) I also replaced some of the original planks with western red cedar, (couldn't find white cedar) made new outside rails and and scarfed in new tip for the inner rails.

It is 17' L x 33-1/2" x 13-1/2" midship.

I am hoping that it's appearance together with the serial No. stamped on the stern stem will be enough clues for someone to figure out it's origin?

Any thoughts are welcome.



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Tis a nut

Is that a wide single cant rib? That is a Chestnut feature. More pics would help a lot.

In my humble opinion...

Let's see, control, + + + + +, yes, wide cant rib...odd that it's on one side but there so many "nutty" features here that it's a pretty easy call.
'tis a 1970's vintage 17' Chestnut Cruiser, Cronge model. Factory specs. were 34" width, 13" depth, 3/8" x 2 3/8" ribs spaced 2" apart and a weight of 75 lbs.

The Chestnut decription sounds very plausible but I have some doubts regarding the "70s" vintage. I purchased it in '79 after it had been gathering dust in a garage for some time. The planks had many hairline cracks and a patina that appeared to be decades old. Also the seats frames were very abused and the caning had been replaced with clothesline.

Could Chestnut have made a similar model as far back as the 30s? Does the serial provide any clue?

Thanks for the Chestnut lead. I am glad it is an old established brand.

Okay, I sent before attaching the image. So, I'll do that here.

I think it's possible to get "a feeling" about old canoes and other old stuff, where it may seem to you to be "pre-WWII", for instance... maybe you can't exactly put your finger on why that is, but just from being around things in general... when it comes to these old canoes, if you can't exactly date what you have because there's no solid thing to go on, your gut may be the best indicator.



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My Playmate has hand caned seats. The holes are "randomly" placed, making for a less than neat caning pattern. The seat rails were left with square edges and the mortises not well aligned. All indicative of a "70's" vintage. In addition it has the spliced outer rails, a mix of oak and ash, again an indication of a 70's product. The ribs were left rough cut with out being rounded over on the upper edge like earlier Chstnuts I have seen. I have assumed that this was also a cost cutting measure of 70's. The Chestnut caning pattern is pretty simple and doesn't take much time. Or they may have had a stock pile of hand caned seats to use up and my canoe was a "lucky one".
The serial/work order number as well as the pictures identify the canoe as a Chestnut Cronje built sometime between 1963 and 1978.

It is correct that the model goes back to the early years of Chestnut. However, as most Chestnut models, the Cronje's measurements, building details and shape changed over the years especially after the fire 1921.

Dick Persson
Buckhorn Canoe Company
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