White Canoe

Paul Miller

Canoe Nut

I have a White Canoe, not E.M. White. I have found that EM White became the White Canoe Co. sometime in the late 30's.

I have what I believe to be the Red Cross approved "boy scout" canoe with thwarts instead of seats.

I am conflicted by the fact the planking is almost 4 inches wide and that is generally seen only on "old" canoes going back to the teens and 20's. I did notice the tapered edge of the plank.

The serial number is 16-48-897. Someone said that the 48 would stand for the year built?

There is damage to the inwales on one end of the canoe and those inwales do not reach out as far over the stem as on the other end. I would like to see anyone's pictures of what the tips should look like after the outwale go on. The inwales seem to stick out a long way already and if the outwales come to a point, they would have to extend way out in front of the stem.

If the boat was very old, I'd think about repairing the ends of the inwales, but if this canoe is from the 40's it may not hurt to just replace the inwales.

Any pics or thoughts would be appreciated.




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E.M. White Guide

Hi Paul:

I had some pictures handy of an E.M. White or White Guide. I don't know the age. Maybe early 40's. There is no name plate or serial number on this canoe. It does have wide beveled planking. It has been restored previously by a pro. I think the details may help you.


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Thanks Fitz,

Your picture clearly shows that they only brought the outwales to about the same length as the inwales.

That's a big help.

Now I only need to try and confirm and age and get so poll question going about replacing or not replacing the inwales. I personally don't like the looks of spliced tips.



These pics may not help much but they are what I have.

They are of Sig Olson's White that is hanging in the cabin, S/N 16 52 1610.



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Why is Sig's White name plate turned the opposite direction of Paul's White name plate?
Is there a correct way?
Hi Paul,

Here are a couple shots from my White Canoe Co. Sport model. The serial number is 46 031 (the 46 is upside down relative to the 031; it could be 130, but if so, they stamped the 3 upside both times).

It is my understanding that canoes of this era are marked with the year, so my canoe would date to 1946, probably the 31st of the year...



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Look at that little girlie painter ring. Probably couldnt lift more than 300 lbs or so.
You didnt cast that, did you?:p
Gotta love it. Shades of some Long Island canoe club... Shame is, they punched a hole right through the deeecal (or is that deck'l?) :eek:

Speaking of bronze casting, come to the ABM this fall, and take the class. Not on the website yet, but we can get details to anyone interested...

That would be way kool. Will there be safety gear around the forge or will we use the time honoured method of turning ones head to the side when pouring ladels of molten muck?
Hi Dan,

Is than an outside stem on your canoe or is that a metal wrap around the whole tip like a Mullins? And would that have been original?

It appears the outwales were simply rounded top and bottom. I don't have any pattern for the outwale but appears standard.

How wide is the plank on your canoe Dan?


Hi Paul,

I hadn't yet chimed in because I don't have a White, but I do have a some early E.M. White canoes. There are two that do NOT have outside stems- each of these has the sheet metal wrap-around full length of the stem. One WITH outside stems does not have the wrap-around along the length of the stem. However, all three of these have the small sheet metal piece that wraps around from one outwale to the other.

About the upside-down nameplate, this was surely switched by someone post-factory. The builder wouldn't have made such a mistake. On the other hand, I know a Ditchburn canoe (anyone know that Ditchburn made canoes?!) that has nameplates outside the hull at the end of each thwart (typical of all-wood Canadian canoes), and they were said to have been mounted that way by the builder. Perhaps so the name would be legible when the canoe was upside down on a rack or vehicle. I'm still skeptical.

Thanks Michael,

Now when I go back to look at Dan's canoe and the wrap around "stem band", I notice that the ribs in that canoe are not tapered. When I look at Fitz's canoe it also appears to have the same straight ribs(tough to tell with that picture)

The ribs in my canoe look like ribs out of an Old Town.

Does that make sense?

Dan, can you tell me the dimensions on that "stem band" looks like it could be at least 3/4" to each side of the stem.

I have attached a picture of the Mullins "stem band" for some comparison.

Thanks for all the help,



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Hi Paul,

In my canoe. ribs are untapered, 3" wide. The bang plate was formed from brass stock 1-7/8" wide. While White and Mullins were the only ones to use wrap-around bang plates, the White bang plates are very different from the Mullins.

I have no problem with a particular company building some canoes with tapered ribs and others without - Old Town used to do that early on. It simply a matter of skipping a step (and saving time). Perhaps different styles for different models, perhaps a reflection of the new owners of the company or the crew working that day.

Also, if you look at your Historic CD (you do have it, right? ;) ) - look at the White catalog labeled "Undated, ca. 1940" (I think that date should be a little later, though). Compare for example the Sport Model with the Boy Scout model. The latter has rails that extend beyond the stems, in the Sport model the rails end flush with the stems.
I guess only Burt Morris had to make his ribs the same way to fit the inwales.

I do have the CD and I've looked at some of the White catalogs but will have to go back and look for that detail.

How about the question of fixing or replacing the inwales? The tips that are about 3/4 of inch short are also a bit Punky and there is a spot at the middle of the canoe that has a bit of rot and missing rib tops; most likely from storing with that gunnel to the ground. It appears the other tip was saved by the metal strap over the tip.


How about the question of fixing or replacing the inwales?

That's your call. If you think this canoe is destined to go into a museum collection, you should do nothing to it. Otherwise, repair or replace, and given that it is more than the tips that are bad, I'd be inclined to replace...

Thanks Dan,

Maybe if this canoe was an early one you fix it, but I don't think there is any historical significance here.

Next question; how far around the stem does the "stem band" go? or how long is it?



Has anyone ever seen a leather strip from outwale to outwale on an E.M.White? Ours is a closed gunwales, Water Street with the bentwood stern seat. We don't know if this leather is original or a later repair.
Has anyone ever seen a leather strip from outwale to outwale on an E.M.White? Ours is a closed gunwales, Water Street with the bentwood stern seat. We don't know if this leather is original or a later repair.

Yours is likely a very early E.M. White. Only one of ours has the leather "caps", it is closed gunwale, it has steam-bent stern seat frame, it has an early tag, and other than adding 2 layers of paint and varnish over the years, this canoe has never been restored. Most importantly, we have a detailed family history that takes it back well prior to 1900. Jerry Stelmock, and I believe Rollin as well, confirmed that the leather is likely a very early treatment of the gunwale ends.

It would be a pleasure to compare notes with you.