Mystery early Charles River Courting canoe

Joined
Sep 2, 2011
Messages
6,392
Location
Raymond, ME
has come to live with us.

We have never restored an old canoe before and this one looks to be pre 1900. To me the interior looks like it only had one coat of varnish or paint and the damage to planks and ribs almost nil.. Now that we have it.. where do we start?

We have stemwork to do and a chunk of planking.





When we get to the seats, we don't know about the woven rush seating..or how to re do.

Canoe has marvelous lines and an even planking pattern





Rather high stems with external wood stems with brass on top. It did used to have a keel.Long gone, the screws have been sawn off flush interior and exterior.



The planking on this boat is remarkably tight even to this day.

I am excited about this rescue from the world of fiberglassing (which the owner was thinking of but not sure) and bookcases.

Any advice on ID or how to start? We did remove the paper wasps. I am also on the WCHA forums.
 
Joined
Jul 31, 2011
Messages
596
Location
Aberdeen, MD
Wow... saw your post about this on FB... beautiful... WCHA would be the place to start. I haven't a clue. But I'm pretty sure I speak for the rest of the forum when I say we want to see WIP pictures once in awhile!
 
Joined
Jul 25, 2012
Messages
838
Well, Yellow Canoe, what a great/daunting project you have ahead of you! Considering the thousand and one questions that will come up as you work, wouldn't it be best to find a mentor who will be able to gently guide you along? It's fun getting a lot of opinions but a little distracting for the beginner, that old thing about too many cooks spoiling the stew.

Now this is going to sound a little "woo-woo" as my wife is fond of saying, but for me at least, the hardest hump to get over is the feeling that I'm not sufficient for the task. I'll be looking at all the elements of some new thing and think "what in the world was I thinking? What a waste of money/material, you're really in over your head now, rob". To combat this feeling of defeatism, I start in on some little task that I know I can do and work from there.

Now, you know I don't know diddly poo about wood canoes but I've got a copy of Gil Gilpatrick's book "Building Outdoor Gear" and in it he has a whole section on how to do those cane seats and all. I'd be happy to loan you my copy to work out of if you'd like. It would be a way to get going and build up that feeling of "By Golly, I can do this!"

Best Wishes, Rob
 
Joined
Sep 2, 2011
Messages
6,392
Location
Raymond, ME
Thanks for the offer Rob . Its taking the first piece off of the gunwales that will be hardest The wood is mahogany and I want to scarf new to the damaged piece rather than replace.

I have been in WCHA for a long time and am not much ahead of you in knowledge but I do have a mentor. Plus some help of course on the WCHA forums. We will be taking a little road trip to start.

Sure I want to not blow the $150 I paid..!

We have helped build two of our 3 wood canoes. But we have not restored one.
 
Joined
Feb 29, 2012
Messages
1,820
Location
Schenectady, NY
Congrats on your decision to restore that old beauty!
As long as you have a mentor (virtual or not) you'll be OK.
I have done quite a bit of mentoring for wood strip builders, and I can tell you it is nearly as rewarding as doing the build itself...I'm sure the same will hold true for your restoration project.
 
Joined
Sep 2, 2011
Messages
6,392
Location
Raymond, ME
My (actually our) mentor is Tom MacKenzie of WCHA. We will go down for the initial body size up and then do what we can with him there for advice then bring the body home. Two corners of planks are missing, one rib cracked and crack in one plank. My initial concern is the dryness of the wood and getting closed gunwales off without breaking them. They seem to be mahogany. Not wanting to buy more of that than necessary.

Tom says 3 days in shop is fun. Then its work. That's fine. After three days houseguests start to smell like three day old fish.

Then probably back to canvas. I have only worked with dacron.
 
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