Chestnut Chum Restoration or is it a Chestnut "Doe"

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My first owned wood canvas canoe restoration of the Chestnut Chum.....or Chestnut "Doe" has commenced. Rib spacing is 1.5” which leads me to believe that I may have the “Doe” which is the economy version of the chum. I was fortunate enough to find this Chestnut Chum/Doe almost a year ago but could not seem to find the time to start the project until recently. The chum has been located in my workshop since purchase and in order to get started with the project I needed to build two new practical saddles. The saddles were built by dimensions provided in Mike Elliotts “This Old Canoe”. I am very pleased with the practicality and rigidity of the simple design. FFC57A26-1CAF-49A3-A956-051CB11996D1.jpeg36D2278D-23F8-4975-B455-FEA333B2A32E.jpegSince this is my first go at a wood canvas canoe restoration I have relied heavily on the contents of “This Old Canoe”. I keep reading and re-reading in order to make sense out of the sequencing and tasks at hand. 18807707-A19D-4E1E-8ED1-22B30750014B.jpegFirst order of business was to identify with repair items on the canoe. There is obvious wood rot on the Bow and Stern Stems, Inwales and Outwales. Hull integrity is in great shape and the need for a few planks is most likely necessary. It is possible that I have two rib replacements required but not sure at this time.6A80EAE5-A2BE-4D0F-A020-9179DBEB4ED4.jpeg263EEBD5-3DD1-4997-BA1A-9A6ED7D9397C.jpegThe outwales and inwales will need to be scarfed and new bow and stern stems scarfed. I then removed the outwales with much ease. I believe the screws are the Silicon Bronze slotted screws that Northwood Canoe has listed on their website.55A7D8E4-A639-4975-877E-60D51A4B4E66.jpegI then removed the outwales205A456F-E464-427D-A043-BB685695A324.jpegI was surprised to notice the rabbit cut into the outwale. Made more sense when I remembered reading that the sheer line planking will need to be a 1/2” below the rib tops. At this point I am taking my time to understand the full construction of this canoe as more of the components become exposed and investigated. I also observed an old scarf joint that failed immediately when removing the outwale.3671B053-CD7A-4120-849A-03B785243326.jpegAfter the outwales were removed I went after the seats and carrying yoke. Heavily corroded fasteners required some mechanical persuasion via drill. Had to drill out the heads of the fasteners to pop out both seats and carrying yoke.51ED0E13-C4BE-484D-B445-AE0B5E1B635F.jpegI then removed the keel and the remaining canvas from the canoe. I will not be stripping the interior as it is in great shape so I proceeded to remove the entire canvas.88B27E9F-568F-4BFF-9EFD-13D436434B58.jpegNext step was to start opening up the stern to gain access to the stern stem for further observation. A5E8163A-866E-4444-8989-8EEC3728E087.jpegI have employed the use of a tack remover and putty knife to remove the tacks. The putty knife allows for a leverage surface so I minimize the damage to the planking which seems to be in great shape. I continued removing planking to gain access to the stem and removed the starboard stern cant rib. I also commenced removing sheerline planking to get a better look at all the rib tops. Nothing too crazy found but definitely plan on hitting some of the tops with some wood hardener and some wood filler…..perhaps even some toothpick tricks that I have seen on several of the canoe restoration posts. I plan on finishing the repairs on the Stern before opening up the forward end of the canoe. 5E99C8DD-A0EB-4ED4-BD03-54FF649A6EDC.jpegThis is progress……at least for me. Trying to take it slow. I want to enjoy the process as well as become a student of the wood canvas canoe restoration. More to come…..lots of work ahead as many of you already know.
 
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You have made a great start! Your hull has retained a very nice, fair curve to the gunwales and the interior looks great. You have some significant work ahead and will be gratified with overcoming each new challenge. I am jealous of your heated workspace however, mine’s about 19 degrees right now!

I made similar cradles/slings out of leftover barn siding and dumpster-diving for carpet scraps. I found I needed to add a diagonal brace to each cradle to make them more solid.
 
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Looking great so far. I am looking forward to watching the progress. I have enjoyed working on mine tremendously. A great winter project.
 
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That's a nice looking canoe. I have seen maybe 10 Chums, and never saw one with wide ribs, always 1 & 1/2".
I would say it's a Chum.
Are you going to keep the old gunnels? I like to build new, even with a splice if nessasary, and I'm using spruce these days for a little weight savings. No more ash for me.
How about the seats, will you be keeping it tandem?
I'm looking forward to this restoration, looks like you have a good plan and it should be enjoyable.
 
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You have made a great start! Your hull has retained a very nice, fair curve to the gunwales and the interior looks great. You have some significant work ahead and will be gratified with overcoming each new challenge. I am jealous of your heated workspace however, mine’s about 19 degrees right now!

I made similar cradles/slings out of leftover barn siding and dumpster-diving for carpet scraps. I found I needed to add a diagonal brace to each cradle to make them more solid.
The heated workshop is a bonus for sure. During my Cedar Strip Canoe build and my desire to canoe the following Spring I needed heat in the basement in order to follow through with the glassing of the canoe. I bought and installed an affordable $150 pellet stove off a coworker and have been pleased with the workspace. The pellet stove is an older model and eats pellets like crazy but the trade off is that the basement is a comfortable 70 Degrees.

I will see how the saddles hold up and will cross brace if necessary.
 
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Looking great so far. I am looking forward to watching the progress. I have enjoyed working on mine tremendously. A great winter project.
I feel like I am running out of time but at the same time I am certainly taking my time. Slow steady progress.
 
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That's a nice looking canoe. I have seen maybe 10 Chums, and never saw one with wide ribs, always 1 & 1/2".
I would say it's a Chum.
Are you going to keep the old gunnels? I like to build new, even with a splice if nessasary, and I'm using spruce these days for a little weight savings. No more ash for me.
How about the seats, will you be keeping it tandem?
I'm looking forward to this restoration, looks like you have a good plan and it should be enjoyable.
You beat me to the very same question that I was going to ask you Robin. Depending on time and my desire to use the chum next canoe season I will most likely scarf the new repair with some left over ash that I still have in the shop from the Wabnaki build. I can always replace the outwales after next season. Which is what I will most likely do with a Spruce replacement. I fully expect to only use the Chum as a solo tripper so the need for tandem seating is not necessary. Just not sure which seat to remove.....I will need to figure that out as I go unless some recommendations are shared. After removing the Shoe Keel I am asking myself "Is the shoe keel even necessary". The keel has to weigh at least 3-4lbs all by itself. I am favoring not replacing the keel, but I am certainly open to any recommendations on the pros and cons of keel replacement.
 
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I was thinking of re-installing my shoe keel, but it's likely going to be pretty painful to install all those keel screws through new canvas....

What does your center thwart look like on the underside? Mine has a scratch bead detail on the underside:
tempImage1sOv0p.png
 
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7A4FCB04-57B6-4BEE-BF7E-12B0F506E44A.jpeg
My center thwart does not seem to have the same scratch beading profile that yours is showing.
 
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Today’s progress: Removed the stern deck and cut the stem below the rot. Templated the angle cut and stem profile to a piece of thin veneer wood, traced and then cut the new stem replacement piece. Mixed up some epoxy and now it sits waiting to be solid as woodpecker lips. I plan to shape the stem after the epoxy drying is complete. I do not have a bandsaw in my shop and I just don't want to lose any digits with such a small piece on my table saw to make the bevel cut on the stem piece. I will also trim the stem piece tail that I added with a pull saw or jig saw. I used this tail piece to hold the stem replacement in place during the epoxy drying process. I will use a small spoke shave to get the bevel as close to the original as possible. Need to make a Northern run to Northwoods Canoe Company next week to pick up materials. Going to grab all of it in one shot. Could be a nice drive for the wife and I.D9285A4E-0BD6-450F-A392-22C24EC11893.jpeg
 

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You beat me to the very same question that I was going to ask you Robin. Depending on time and my desire to use the chum next canoe season I will most likely scarf the new repair with some left over ash that I still have in the shop from the Wabnaki build. I can always replace the outwales after next season. Which is what I will most likely do with a Spruce replacement. I fully expect to only use the Chum as a solo tripper so the need for tandem seating is not necessary. Just not sure which seat to remove.....I will need to figure that out as I go unless some recommendations are shared. After removing the Shoe Keel I am asking myself "Is the shoe keel even necessary". The keel has to weigh at least 3-4lbs all by itself. I am favoring not replacing the keel, but I am certainly open to any recommendations on the pros and cons of keel replacement.
I agree, using the old gunnels for now and losing the keel are good ideas if you plan on the canoe getting some tripping use. I've seen too many old wood canvas canoes damaged from leaks around the keel screw holes. That bedding material only remains waterproof for so long before it becomes hardened and cracked. Then again, others insist on keeping the canoe as close to original as possible and go with a keel.

I keep my Chum tandem and just paddle from the bow seat reversed. Without packs, I would probably be better off with the seat moved towards the center, but most of my paddling is with packs, which I like upfront in view and this trims the canoe just right for me. I don't like one pack up front and one behind me, nor do I like having almost half the canoe behind me as I paddle. That system is fine for others, but not for me.

I had a Chum with the seat 16" behind center and 2 thwarts, fore and aft of the seat plus a removable center portage thwart. Again, not a fan of removable portage thwarts, but I understand their appeal. I like the look of the original single thwart in the center of the canoe.

If you move the bow seat towards the center you'll need to build or buy a new seat. Pressed cane on a Chestnut is just wrong, a little better than a webbed seat which is pretty much like riding a Harley with sneakers. Rollin Thurlow (Northwoods Canoe) has a pile of old seats that he let me pick thru. I found two decent matches for my Cruiser.

Here's my first Chum with a near center seat and two thwarts. I was carrying way too much gear. The shear line had been trimmed down at the bow and stern and those cherry gunnels looked nice.


canoeatportage2_zps4c968210.jpg
 
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I have decided to keep the two seats for a tandem configuration. Having taken measurements of the seating in the chum I believe that I will be fine paddling the Chum from the bow seat like I typically do with my cedar strip. I am most certain that the keel will remain off the hull. Robin do you have any pictures of your Cruiser seating? I would be interested in seeing what they look like. Please share pictures if you have the time. Thanks for the response Robin. Appreciate it.
 
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Finished the Stern Inwale scarfing and stem repair. I think I have some fine tuning to do in regard to the tenon and inwale fitment but overall I am pleased. When the deck is reinstalled the starboard side original deck markings on the inwale are off by 1/4" and I am trying to figure this out. Not sure if this is such a big deal or not, but what I do know is that it is different and for that reason alone it is driving me crazy. The Port side inwale is thicker at the tenon than the starboard. I believe this is because I did not trim the inwale length past the stem evenly prior to marking reference lines. I think that I can use some creative shaping to improve this difference. I consider this one of my mistakes and I will proceed differently when I tear into the bow stem. The shop also received some new lighting today. When I headed on down to the shop with my hot cup of coffee it was clear that three of the flourescent lights had met their maker. Headed out to Homedepot and hardwired all three and it is as good as day down in the basement at nightime now. Stem looking forward.jpgstem looking aft.jpgboth inwales.jpgnotched inwale starboard.jpgstem starboard to port.jpgstern stem assembly.jpg
 

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You will get it sorted and will be the only one who knows where the “mistakes” are. For what it’s worth, one of my ends came out better as well. Just another reason to restore another!

Bob
 
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Robin do you have any pictures of your Cruiser seating? I would be interested in seeing what they look like. Please share pictures if you have the time. Thanks for the response Robin. Appreciate it.

Nice work on the Chum, that stem/inwale joinery is not easy. Here are some pictures of the used seats I bought off of Rollin @ North Woods Canoe. They are hand woven like a Chestnut, but don’t have those clunky Chestnut frames, not original but close.

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Nice work on the Chum, that stem/inwale joinery is not easy. Here are some pictures of the used seats I bought off of Rollin @ North Woods Canoe. They are hand woven like a Chestnut, but don’t have those clunky Chestnut frames, not original but close.
Robin, thanks for sharing. Your cruiser is beautiful. The color choice is remarkable also. When I make my run to Northwoods Canoe I will take a look to see what he has. I may also be slightly tempted to try and weave my own seats. Never weaved a seat before, but I might just give it a go.
 
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You will get it sorted and will be the only one who knows where the “mistakes” are. For what it’s worth, one of my ends came out better as well. Just another reason to restore another!

Bob
I think I am done with the stern stem and inwales. I have reached a level of personal satisfaction for my skill level. I made a new deck out of some left over maple that I had kicking around. With the old deck installed there was some unfavorable pull to the port side so I relaxed the stem joint and traced the relaxed position onto cardboard and then transposed the tracement onto the maple. Seemed to have fixed the alignment issue that I was seeing. Still have some sanding to do to dress up the stern stem.

maple deck.JPGstern close.JPGstern assembly.JPG
 
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That looks really nice, good job.

I like that "I have reached a level of personal satisfaction for my skill level." That's pretty much my feelings too, keep moving forward and it will look great in the end.
 
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I may also be slightly tempted to try and weave my own seats. Never weaved a seat before, but I might just give it a go.

I wove 2 seats last winter for the first time and was glad I did. It was fun, satisfying and a useful skill to learn. I'd recommend practicing on a small test panel first to get a feel for materials.

You have a really nice project underway and I'm enjoying following along. Thanks for posting your progress. Good work!
 
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