What kind of nut?


I finally bought a Chestnut. It was so tiny and cute that I could not resist. I will try to hide it in the garage where I hope my wife does not spot it!
Anyway, I do not know what model it is and need assistance from the Chestnuts.

It measures 14 feet and about 2 inches long. It's about 13 inches deep from the top of the planking to the top of the rails. It's a pretty deep boat for such a tiny canoe.
The width is what has me baffled. I measure 29 inches canvas to canvas and a bit over 30 inches rail to rail.
The ribs are about 1 1/2 wide. Some are nicely rounded and others are not. There a single very wide cant rib.
It has a shoe keel.

The construction is a bit iffy with spliced rails (14 foot trees not available?) and very sloppy rib spacing. The rib taper at the decks is not very well done. The canoe is solid and functional, but not the work of a perfectionist.

The stem has the number 46 and 50105.

This canoe looks like it's going to be a real pleasure to paddle solo and on 2 or so day trips with lot's of carries.

Pictures follow including the paddles (one maple and the other chestnut?)

Can anyone tell me what it is.


  • IMG_0343.JPG
    477.3 KB · Views: 436
  • IMG_0346.jpg
    284.4 KB · Views: 440
  • IMG_0347.jpg
    265.9 KB · Views: 421
  • IMG_0348.jpg
    378.8 KB · Views: 447
  • IMG_0349.jpg
    346.3 KB · Views: 427
  • IMG_0345.jpg
    285.4 KB · Views: 424
Could be a Playmate or something in the Fox/Fire models. My Playmate has heavier ribs that are not well finished. That leads me to believe that it was made toward the end of things for Chestnut.
What Jan said.. its a Playmate/Fox, most likely. Despite the catalogs always saying these are 32" in beam, they never are... they always measure about 30". And almost always as well built as you describe... Nice solo canoe, I built a mold for these using lines taken by Douglas Ingram. I do like the 15' version (Chum/Doe/Peterborough Minetta) better for my own use...
My outer rails are also crudely spliced (screwed) while the inner rails are nicely spliced (long clean tapered joints). I keep meaning to replace the outer rails as I am sure I can do a better job. Also my shoe keel no longer fits well as it was not well sealed and warped a bit on a previous owner. I took it off and discovered no cove to hold any bedding compound on the hull face. However the outer face appeared to have a cove. All I could think was that they put it on upside down which allowed water in between the hull and the keel and it warped. So some day that will also need to be replaced. They are a lot of fun especially on the small rivers I run that are full of logs.
Thanks Dan/Jan,

I was guessing it might be ether a Fox or Playmate but the narrowness and the depth were puzzling to me. With Dan's explanation about these tending to run narrower than listed in the catalog, that leaves the depth of the canoe as the only remaining mystery. Playmates and Fox's were supposed to be about 12 inches deep. I am pretty sure about this one being about 13.

Does the decal (or the ones on the paddles) help date this thing?

Yes Jan, I was thinking the same about the rails. I can certainly make better ones from one piece. I wonder if I ever will? My first priority is to get a few good coats of varnish on it and then to sort out the paint.
Ken Solway had put forth the idea that the first two digits reversed would give the year - in your case 1964. At one point I found an example that didnt agree with that theory but I don't recall what. In any case, your canoe is almost certainly mid 60s, and with cane seats in that era, it would be a Playmate.

Depth of the ones I've seen (and my version) all run deep. It's one of the features that makes this model great for playing Dead Fish Polo in...

Mine only has a 5 digit number, 11218. As that preceeds 5XXXX by a significant amount does that mean mine is older?

In addition to the outer rials I may do the seats someday. I recaned one seat after it disintigrated. When I did that I ran the frame through the thickness sander to even it out as it was built lopsided. Lost about an 1/8th" in thickness it was so lopsided. The holes for the cane are drilled in a random manner which produces an uneven weave. But the Chestnut weave is very simple and does not take much time.
The 1 1/2" ribs with no taper probably indicates that it was built at the Peterborough factory after the merger. I have a 14' Peterborough that has Chestnut ribs and a 16' Peterborough that has 1 1/2" Peterborough ribs. Both date from 1954.
I was under the impression that all Chestnut/Peterbourough w/c canoes were built by Chestnut after the merger. The Solway and MacGregor books imply if not state that.

I have read the same thing but I have both of the canoes that I mentioned in the shop now. Both had the Peterborough 75th year bar on the bottom of the sticker which indicates 1954. To my knowledge Chestnut didn't use the 1 1/2" wide ribs. I'm certainly no expert. Someone correct me if I'm mistaken. From my reading I surmised that the 14' with the wider tapered ribs was probably built at the Chestnut factory. The wood/canvas canoes listed in the 1954 Peterborough catalog have 1 1/2" ribs.
A time machine would certainly be nice. All written histories are inadequate and we may never know the bottom line.
To my knowledge Chestnut didn't use the 1 1/2" wide ribs.

As noted at the outset, I know only enough about Chestnut to be dangerous. I did measure the ribs and they are 1 1/2 inch. They are straight, not tapered.

I paddled the mystery canoe today. It was pretty stable in the wind, tracked well, paddled easily for such a short canoe and (I thought) heeled over pretty well. This will be a nice little canoe to fish small ponds and streams.

When you sit in a boat you soak it in. I notice now that the thwart is maple and it's about 3/4 of an inch shorter than I would have cut it. I think it pulls the rails together a bit more than it should. Hence the narrowness of the canoe. It is original and as built though so I do not plan to change it. I also see that the wood in all the planking and ribs is knot free.
It's not a bad little canoe.
I hope we can pin down what it is...That said, I see that the canoe in the classifieds is also not identified.........
I am not sure that it really matters. It is either a Playmate or a Fox depending on the year built and loads of fun. Looking at the condition of the decals may possibly mean newer rather than older so that may mean Fox instead of Playmate. Mine with the wider and cruder ribs is certainly a Playmate and no older than 1967/68. Yours with the 1 1/2" ribs if a Playmate then may date to 1954 or so. If a Fox then 1967/68. What a screwy way to do things. I do agree with you that that center thwart certainly pulls things in. In my case one side is a little straighter appearing than the other. I rehung that side outwale and improved it but it is still straight looking. So more tinkering someday. I am so tempted to pull it down fix everything and redo with #12 canvas and light weight filler.
My one comment here would be in relation to the decal, and the 75th Anniversary bar. Yes, PCC added a special bar to its decal in 1954 (75th), just as it did in1939 for the 60th. However, as one who has collected PCC souvenir (sample) paddles over the years, I have always believed that PCC continued to use up its stock of decals long after those anniversary years had ended. In other words, perhaps it is safer to regard the presence of a 75th Anniversary decal as indicating the canoe or paddle in question was made in 1954, AND any time thereafter (i.e., not limited to 1954 alone). Aside from that, there is no question that quality of workmanship (at least as regards to quality control) in the Peterborough-Chestnut workshop deteriorated markedly in the years after WWII. I had the opportunity to speak some years ago to the manager of a large Toronto retailer of canoes who spoke quite bluntly of the number of returns and rejects that he shipped back as being "unacceptable" from the late `40`s - early `50`s onward. Good canoes were made, but one had to keep a sharp eye out for inferior pieces being allowed out the door.

Speaking of Peterborough Anniversary decals, has anyone come across a special decal from 1929, referring to the 50th Anniversary? The catalogue for that year has a distinctive logo design which is different from others used before or after. It has a sort of `lightning bolt`design, and I have seen a rendition in a blue color which is markedly different from the usual red. Just curious as to what others may have seen. (Of course, the whole anniversary dating thing at PCC is a bit of a myth in any event. PCC actually began under that name only in 1893. It traces its history back to 1879 through the prior ownership by Col. Rogers, the owner, of the Ontario Canoe Co. (1883-1892), and through his earlier purchase in 1879 of the canoe patents belonging to John S. Stephenson. It`s only through this historical `linkage` that PCC can claim a beginning in 1879.)
Last edited: