What Is It?


LOVES Wooden Canoes
Hello folks,

I have a chance to acquire this canoe for restoration. The owner has represented it as a Kennebec, but does not have serial number. I have not looked at it in the flesh yet as it is a distance away. Any thoughts about what it might be?




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It doesn't look like a Kennebec to me--- they have heart shaped decks and usually have a trim-detail on top of the rails on open gunwale canoes... and ribs that taper.

Thanks for the response Kathy. I wondered about the heart shaped decks as well. In communication today, the owner indicates that it was appraised years ago as a 1915 16.5' Kennebec Guide #31476. Does this shed more light on it?

Anyone else have any idea what it might be?

Thanks again,

the owner indicates that it was appraised years ago as a 1915 16.5' Kennebec Guide #31476. Does this shed more light on it?

Not really, as Kennebec did not assign that serial number to any canoe or boat, nor did they build a 16.5' Guide in 1915.

I agree with the others that it does not appear to be a Kennebec, but don't have a good guess right now.
Do you see that serial number on the stem or on a tag? Benson can look up the serial number you posted, but unless it's somewhere on the canoe I don't know how we'd be sure it's the s/n for your canoe. The profile, from what I can see, appears to be like a guide-model.

I'll attach pictures of the guide model from the 1915 Kennebec catalog. As you can see, it came only in 18 1/2 and 20', but perhaps they did special orders of smaller canoes.

When trying to figure out a canoe that may have been changed over the years, look for things that are unlikely to have been changed, such as the rib-construction. Canoes by many of the early Maine builders such as Kennebec had tapered ribs. The ribs in your pictures don't appear to be tapered. The guide model described in the 1915 catalog seems to have half-ribs--- at least that's my interpretation of "short ribs"--- I haven't seen one of these in-person so don't know, but someone else here may know the Kennebec guide and can say if yours seems to be one.

The images below are from the catalog collection on CD available from www.dragonfly.com., which has a large number of the Kennebec catalogs as well as catalogs by many other builders.



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Thanks for the information Dan and Kathy. The build number that the owner references is not on the canoe, but apparently from an appraisal back in the late '70s. Also referenced is the remains of a trademark decal on the bow deck showing a red canoe. The photos show a "guide type" profile, but who knows what we have here.