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Chestnut Playmate - Small Canvas Repair!

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Location
Orangevale, CA
Just got myself a, what I believe to be, Chestnut Playmate.
The canoe is in pretty good shape overall but has some small "wrinkles" and scratches (see pics).
I'll probably re-canvas at some point, but I am hoping some folks here can chime in on techniques for small canvas repair.

Also, if anyone knows of somebody that repairs wood and canvas canoes on the west coast (preferably California) I'd appreciate your input.

Thank you!
 

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The WCHA Builders and Suppliers Directory that I have doesn't list anyone in California. The only listing in the Pacific coast states is in Olympia, Washington:


Also, the most local chapter of the WCHA to California would seem to be the Northwest Chapter in Seattle, WA. The contact for that chapter is Mike Livdahl, whose email I could give you by private conversation. He might know of someone in California.
 
Also, I know almost nothing about w/c repair, but the wood parts that are visible in your pictures seem very nice. Something funky must be going on with the canvas to produce those wrinkles. Maybe caused by water or humidity. I don't know that that would interfere with paddling the canoe. But I think it's a problem familiar to w/c restorers.

I'm curious why you think it's a Chestnut. Does it have a decal? @Murat V has/had a 14 footer that he restored but seemed unsure whether it was a Chestnut Playmate or a Peterborough Mermaid.

 
I found one other source that states "Oregon", on the same WCHA page. However, they seem to be in Main and not in OR.
 
I saw that post from Murat. Good stuff!

The interior woodwork as well as the gunwales are in great shape. The boat still has it's keel, which many remove when the re-canvas. That could indicate that the canoe is pretty much original. However, that could also indicate wishful thinking on my part ;-).
Attached is a photo of the decal on the bow deck. The dimensions (length and width of the canoe, as well as the rib configuration) fit the "Playmate" specs from the 1972 Chestnut Catalog. Also attached is a shot of the 5# ID - although I understand that Chestnut boat IDs don't reveal much useful information.
 

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That’s a great little canoe, I have a modern version built off of a form with the original dimensions, it’s a very seaworthy canoe when paddled solo.
The WCHA builders list is not a complete list of canoe restoration shops.
I have reached out to a friend and I might be able to get you some information about a canoe shop in your area. There is a shop in Kettle River, BC, Kettel River Canoes. The owner, Mike Elliot is Chestnut expert fwiw. He also put out a book, “This Old Canoe” which explains how to restore a canoe in excellent detail. The section on replacing a canvas is easy to understand, he even gives the formula for the canvas filler which would save the reader the price of the book if he where to do it himself. He has a nice website, @ canoeshop.ca

I doubt there is anything worth trying to flatten out the wrinkles in the canvas, especially if you will be replacing it.
I have repaired a slice in a canoe canvas by using some left over canvas and GFlex. I slipped a piece of clear heavy plastic under the rip to prevent the canvas from being glued to the planking underneath. I then sanded the paint around the slice for adheason, layed the canvas down and saturated it with GFlex. (You might be able to get away with other adhesive but I always have GFlex around) The patch will be visible for now even after paint, but with the canoe getting a new canvas down the road it will only be temporary. I never replace the keel but to each his own.
Good luck.
 
Thank you very much, Robin!
Book in shopping cart!
Looking forward to see if your friend knows a shop in my location (or within a reasonable distance).
I like the GFlex fix you did. I worked with GFlex before and like it.
 
Took the canoe out to the local lake twice yesterday. First time solo, and the second time with my wife for an evening sunset paddle. Both of us were at a loss of words to describe the experience of paddling this canoe. The best description we finally came up with was, that it feels like "butter"...so smooth, so soft, so luxurious. Enveloped in real materials, put together by real craftsmen. Hard to describe...
All of my high-tech canoes can't match it.
 
The boat still has it's keel, which many remove when the re-canvas. That could indicate that the canoe is pretty much original. However, that could also indicate wishful thinking on my part ;-).

Re-attaching a keel is quite easy after replacing the canvas so would not be an indicator that the boat is original. If it is from 1972, you'd expect the 50+ year old original canvas to have degraded more with many spider cracks. Plus that pin stripe decoration would not have been done in the factory.

There is another bit of evidence that a restoration was done. That decal on the deck is not an original, but rather a reproduction. These were offered by Roger MacGregor (Ivy Lea Company) during mid 90s and 2000s and are now being offered by the Canadian Canoe Museum and WCHA store.

You can tell it is a reproduction because there is a missing spot of colour right under stem of the logo. Original decals were green at this location.

Reproduction Decal on Playmate.jpg

If you can post a larger, higher resolution pic of the decal, I might be able to narrow down further if it was one of MacGregor's earlier versions from the 90s or a later version.

As for dating, the Playmate first came out in the 1955 Chestnut catalog where it featured narrow 1-1/2" ribs. In 1966, an economy version called the FOX was also built using heavy canvas and slat seats. In 1967, these canoes switched with the FOX now featuring narrow ribs and the Playmate offered with wider ribs (roughly 2-3/8") for the remainder of the company's timeline. If yours is a 14 footer with the wider, 2 3/8" ribs, it would have to date from this period after switch.

The decks might have been replaced as part of the restoration too. Often the decal on original decks wore off but left some fragments or a an outline from the adhesive. I can't see any remnants on yours. Around this same time, Chestnut also switched from using traditional water-slides to vinyl decals with a large transparent border (cheaper to produce) like the following examples.

236882322_2849132835399084_3869837738312940860_n.jpg

16 foot 70s.jpg

These vinyl decals prevented the wood from oxidizing as quickly as the rest of the deck so tended to leave a visible "bright" square spot on the decks even after the graphic might have worn off. Some folkshave applied a reproduction decal after the fact which is quite obvious. Here's an example of an early 70s boat with evidence of the square decal and Roger MacGregor's reproduction applied...

70s Square remnant with MacGregor Decal.jpg

Regardless of the restoration history, they certainly are lovely boats to paddle with quite a different feel than modern composites. Happy paddling!
 
You, Sir know a lot about these canoes! I appreciate the details. Attached are two shots of the deck plate with the decal. It looks like the little spot that is supposed to be green, isn't. The current deck/decal are very smooth. I can hardly feel a step running a finger across decal and deck.

I was wondering about the pin-strip myself, as I did not see such stripes when looking at images of Chestnut canoes.
The canoe is 14' long, and the ribs are a tad under 2 3/8 which fits your "roughly 2-3/8" description. That probably means I have a post 1967 boat here.

I wish I knew a little more about its history. The person I got it from, got the boat from a friend who got it from an old neighbor of his...etc.
 

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Thanks for posting more pics of the decal.

It is most certainly a Roger MacGregor produced decal. This earlier, first edition reproduction had a distinctive white spot under the stem where the manufacturer didn't add colour. Roger's decal was meant to be a replica of the 1960s era version of the logo. Here's an authentic decal on a confirmed 1966 PAL.

1966 PAL restored original decal.jpg

You can see the same spot has the green leafy background under the stem. Another difference is that in the original, the number 5 of the "PAT. 1905"text overlaps both the dark brown and light brown part of the design. But in the reproduction the "PAT. 1905" is fully within the darker brown color.

Sometime around 2010, another batch was manufactured where the white spot was now replaced with a transparent backing. These are also obvious because you can typically see the wood grain of the deck show underneath.

CanoeMuseum repro on original deck.jpg

MacGregor transferred copyright ownership of the decal to the Canadian Canoe Museum who've been selling these since 2015. But these also have a new typo mistake. The period after the abbreviation "PAT" has been replaced with a comma. Maybe they'll finally get it right next time around!

In any event, it's pretty amazing that a surviving 14 foot Chestnut has made it all the way to the Pacific Coast from it's home in Fredericton, New Brunswick.
 
Murat, those are extremely helpful and informative posts.

As a tangent, this caught my legal eye:

MacGregor transferred copyright ownership of the decal to the Canadian Canoe Museum

I don't understand how MacGregor could have held a copyright in the Chestnut decal image. Both Canadian and U.S. copyright law require a work to be "original" to be eligible for copyright. The decal image cannot possibly have been original to MacGregor since it had been in public use without a copyright notice on Chestnut canoes for probably 70+ years. Hypothetically, he could have gotten copyright title to the images from Chestnut Canoe Co. or their holding company, Canadian Watercraft Ltd., assuming either of those companies held title to a valid, unexpired and transferable copyright.

The maximum term of a copyright in Canada is the life of the original artist, whoever that was, plus 70 years.

Not that it matters in any practical sense, but if someone said they hold a copyright in such old canoe decal images, I'd ask them to prove it.
 
...original to MacGregor
Not to continue the thread tangent but (note: yes, everything preceding "but" is BS):

maybe that's why the green is missing & the position of the 5 is slightly altered(?) Lawyers are said to love splitting hairs and these differences do make it unique to MacGregor.
 
I perhaps should have said MacGregor was successful in obtaining the Trademark for the Chestnut logo, rather than the copyright. Not sure if that changes things from a legal perspective.

This was the entry in the Canadian Trademark Database I was referred to when I contacted the Canadian Canoe Museum about the decal saga...
https://ised-isde.canada.ca/cipo/trademark-search/0559068

Apparently around the same time in 1986, Kenneth Solway, author of The Story of the Chestnut Canoe (1997) also filed for the trademark. Here is his listing: https://ised-isde.canada.ca/cipo/trademark-search/0566267

Solway's claim was withdrawn in 1995. It turns out many of the Chestnut branded canoes he built used the MacGregor decal.
 
maybe that's why the green is missing & the position of the 5 is slightly altered(?) Lawyers are said to love splitting hairs and these differences do make it unique to MacGregor.

No. Originality requires substantially more dissimilarity than that. You can't put a small white space in the Mona Lisa and claim to have created an original work of art.
 
I perhaps should have said MacGregor was successful in obtaining the Trademark for the Chestnut logo, rather than the copyright. Not sure if that changes things from a legal perspective.

This was the entry in the Canadian Trademark Database I was referred to when I contacted the Canadian Canoe Museum about the decal saga...
https://ised-isde.canada.ca/cipo/trademark-search/0559068

Apparently around the same time in 1986, Kenneth Solway, author of The Story of the Chestnut Canoe (1997) also filed for the trademark. Here is his listing: https://ised-isde.canada.ca/cipo/trademark-search/0566267

Solway's claim was withdrawn in 1995. It turns out many of the Chestnut branded canoes he built used the MacGregor decal.

Trademark is a different form of intellectual property protection, which applies to business identification rights. I am not familiar with Canadian trademark law and hence won't comment on it.

I'm also not familiar with the Canadian Trademark Database, but it seems that Ivy Lea and now the Canadian Canoe Museum has a trademark to use the Chestnut image on shirts, sweaters, jackets, caps and badges. I doubt that such a trademark would survive challenge and be valid under U.S. law.

As to Solway/Graves' attempt to get a trademark on the name "Chestnut Canoe Company" to put on boats, paddles, sails, outboard motor brackets, and marine fittings, that trademark was opposed by someone in 1994 and withdrawn by Solway/Graves in 1995, likely because they knew they would lose the legal challenge.

It needs to be understood that copyrights and trademarks can be registered and issue without the governmental issuer knowing anything about the context or history of the work or mark. The legal validity is usually only challenged and determined when someone else wants to copy the work or use the mark. At that point, legal proceedings can be brought within the government agency and/or the courts depending on what processes the governing statute of the jurisdiction prescribes.
 
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