Chestnut...

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Jan 31, 2013
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Warren, Manitoba
No Chestnut collection would be complete without this... Early 1940's 18 foot Y-stern freighter.

So, how did we determine it was most likely a Chestnut? Using the descriptions of comparable boats on the Dragonfly site for canoe identification, a Pete or Canadian would have at least the model number stamped into the stems, this boat does not have such in either stem. The mast thwart is the same as a Chestnut freighter on the Canoe Shelburne site, although ours has tapered ribs and his appears to not have those, but it could be a different year class issue. As for age, we put it in the early 1940's based upon all steel tacks and the fact the seller told us he purchased it used in 1950.

It doesn't need significant work, only one broken rib, several cracked and inwale and transom work. The boat shed about 30 pounds when we removed the canvas and dusted off all the sand from under the canvas.

I'm sure you could nest a Chum or Pal under this easy if you say, wanted to take it back to Connecticut.... ;)

See what we found under the plywood transom...


Big boat



 
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Jan 31, 2013
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Ok, Robin is in luck, turns out not to be a Chestnut at all, but a Kildonan, built in Winnipeg in the early 40's. Kildonan ceased operations in the 60's or early 70's I believe, due to what closed most canoe companies, a fire.Kildonan's closely resemble Chestnut down to the thwart placement, the only real difference is woods used. In this case the planking is all red cedar, not white. Thwarts are Red Oak, ribs white cedar, inwales spruce.

May have it sold in it's present condition to be restored by someone else for a friend of his and it would eventually be used on a Indian Reserve in Northern Ontario at Hudson's Bay.
 
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Jul 25, 2012
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Hi Mihun, Could you give some background of the significance of the writhing on the transom please? Were canoes given some numerical identity this way even though the writing would be covered up as the work progressed? Or maybe this one was a special order, kept separate from the regular production line?

Working on these really old canoes must be something like opening up a buried time capsule. And then there's all these fires, I can't help but wonder if there wasn't some basic factor common to all of them. Do- it- yourself electrification of a factory that started out w/o electricity? Transition from chewing tobacco to roll-ups with the working crew? Perhaps a accumulation of a critical mass of dust and scraps from the worked wood in an established shop?
Hmmm........maybe I'd better get out in my little shop and give it a good cleaning!

Best Wishes, Rob
 
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Rob.

Finding writing on a canoe is somewhat rare but really cool. This one has some on the side planking as well but I cannot decipher it. The 18/46 could be the fact it is 18 feet long and 46 inches wide, or, as someone suggested, it is the length and the year it was built. This particular freighter has all steel tacks which puts in in the WW2 era when brass was not available. I have seen and read about other canoes that have things written on them that is revealed when the canvas comes off, such as an employee who worked on the boat, or when it was re-canvassed and such things. I love finding stuff like that.

The Canadian I finished a couple months ago, I signed the planking with the date of restoration and my name for future generations.

Quite a number of canoe Manufacturers suffered from fires. Chestnut had one in 1921/22 and there are pre-fire and post-fire versions. Pre-fire Chestnuts are quite rare. After the fire they changed certain details so if you know what to look for you can tell the difference. BN Morris had a fire in 1919 that put them out of business. Most older builders had fires at some point. Without knowing the histories of them specifically, I would surmise that the combination of highly flammable linseed oil, varnishes, thinners, different woods and especially white cedar, the sawdust, fumes and very likely plenty of smoking gentlemen building boats had a lot to do with it.

Karin
 
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Jun 12, 2012
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Appleton, Maine
Is that boat going to Douglas Ingram to restore? I saw he was looking for one like that, hope you got to trade for a nice Morris, or even an Old Town.

This morning I got a PM from our co-member Hanz, seems he saw this Chestnut on CL, it's not too far away and a pretty good starting price, considering it includes 2 "decaled" Chestnut Paddles (they are selling for $$200 or more a pair). I have a pair without decals which hurts their value.
This canoe is in very good original condiition, looks like a Bobs Special
http://hartford.craigslist.org/boa/4552204822.html
 
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Jan 31, 2013
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Yes, it is Doug that is interested. He would then refurbish it and it would go north on the Winter roads for next season. The boats up there from the Fort Severn project get canvassed then they apply East System epoxy as filler and a layer of figerglas on top before putting the keels on, for extra wear protection.

That is a nice looking Chestnut, lucky you to be so close to where they made them. Funny that the fellow says he owned it for 40 years but only recently decided he didn't like the original green... wonder if he glassed it and repainted to hide that... Nice find and I'm sure you will thank Hanz after you buy it.
 
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