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Paddling into the future: Restoring the legendary Chestnut canoe for a new generation

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Not sure I'd call Chestnuts "the Cadillac of the canoes" - maybe closer to a trusty old pickup.
 
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Yeah, not a Cadillac, but a trusty Chevy perhaps. Here's my Chestnut Chum of undetermined age in mid restoration.

Seat frames re-glued, varnished, and new cane in the Chestnut pattern.
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Planking repaired with red cedar ripped from clear vertical grain bevel siding (available from most good building supply houses).

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Hull exterior treated with one coat of 50/50 varnish/mineral spirits (wiping varnish)
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And, in the canvas
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Next step tomorrow, Kirby's Canoe Filler will be rolled on and rubbed in. Then a 6 week wait for cure, followed by primer & paint. And hopefully a maiden voyage on the Allagash in late August!
 
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That was a good read, it’s too bad the names Prospector, Bobs, and Cruiser, where and continue to be pilfered by modern canoe makers.

Your canoe looks nice Patrick, especially those seats, so accurate. Nice looking hull and canvas, well done.
 
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Yup- hardly Cadillacs or meticulously made.
And I take issue with claim they were not "mass produced". They were indeed mass produced, just not in a sterile 21st century way...

None of that takes away from the beauty and delight of cedar canvas canoes- especially Chestnuts. I love 'em and I'll paddle them as long as I am able...but please can we cut down on the rhetoric a tad.

Love your workshop Patrick!

Bruce
 
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Thanks for your remarks everyone!

Bruce, my workshop is an old Pennsylvania German bank barn. I love spending time working in it. I grew up on a farm, bringing hay and straw into many local barns similar to mine. They were the efficient farm machines of an earlier time and I appreciate the character and history reflected in them! Thanks.

Robin, I was surprised about learning to cane. It may be tedious, but it's not terribly difficult. I also made a new seat frame out of Tiger Maple and caned it in the American lace pattern- probably more familiar to most people who have used caned chairs. It will go into the Willow canoe I restored last Fall, mounted a little closer to the center.
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Next step tomorrow, Kirby's Canoe Filler will be rolled on and rubbed in. Then a 6 week wait for cure, followed by primer & paint. And hopefully a maiden voyage on the Allagash in late August!
Great progress on the restoration! My shoulders started aching for you just thinking about rubbing in the filler;). Do you plan on using the canoe down chase rapids? I brought my 1917 OT canvas guide down those rapids, pinned and cracked a rib on the canoe:cry:. Stay more center for sure!
 

Glenn MacGrady

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And I take issue with claim they were not "mass produced". They were indeed mass produced, just not in a sterile 21st century way...
I noticed that claim in the article, too. But it depends on what Norman Betts meant by "not mass-produced." Certainly, Chestnut canoes were produced en masse—that is, lots were made at the same time and over time.

However, each was hand-made by humans in essentially the same way a one man shop would make a wood-canvas canoe. Maybe there were different people doing the nail clenching, canvassing, painting, etc., but they were all made by human hands, not stamped out by machines like sheets of Royalex. Maybe that's all Betts meant.

I once read a Rolls Royce described as the "Cadillac of automobiles." Illogic and ill grammar aside, I thought that was clever rhetoric.
 
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Great progress on the restoration! My shoulders started aching for you just thinking about rubbing in the filler;). Do you plan on using the canoe down chase rapids? I brought my 1917 OT canvas guide down those rapids, pinned and cracked a rib on the canoe:cry:. Stay more center for sure!
I sure do! If I manage to damage anything, I'll just fix her up later... and bring along a repair kit during the trip.

I just finished filling the canvas on my Chestnut. Now the 6 week wait for curing prior to primer and paint.
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Quite the fleet there! That would be an fun gathering of W/C canoes or any sort for that matter. The Allagash has been on my list for too long.

Bob
 
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Quite the fleet there! That would be an fun gathering of W/C canoes or any sort for that matter. The Allagash has been on my list for too long.

Bob

Wood canvas canoes on the Allagash would be epic. My daughter pulled a bull tag yesterday for the Maine moose hunt, wma #2 which has the Allagash as the west boundary.
 
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Robin, you need to add an outer stem; then the length to width percentage might allow that extra 1" width! Maybe a nice moose rack for a hood ornament might do the trick.

Nice looking canoe. Do you have an outboard motor on her? That's a rich looking green. Do you know the paint supplier and color?

Pat
 
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