Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Adding to the Fleet: Possible Chestnut Chum

We'll I've been out of commission again with illness and a severe allergic reaction to some prescription medication I was put on for my back...just miserable. The bright spot in all this is that I acquired a cedar canvas canoe as part of trade while getting rid of some stuff.

It is completely usable as is with perfectly intact canvas and no cracked ribs or planking; but the previous owner never really maintained the gunwales or decks - some rot is beginning to set in. There are no markings or a serial number on it but from the dimensions (15ft x 33" wide), narrowish ribs (1 1-2" to 2" wide), narrow planking and basic sheerline, it looks to be late 70s era Chestnut Chum. In addition, it shows the poorer build features that plagued Chestnut before they closed shop in 1979 - poorer selection of wood (knots & imperfections), gaps between planking, cheaper fastenings, aluminum bang plates.

Still, I'm happy with it. I've already taken it out for quick paddle and pole. It was apparently restored at least once before getting to the previous owner with a scarf joint near the bow and while the seats simply have wood boards nailed to them, the underside reveals holes where the original cane would've been used to form the seat tops.

Previous Scarf repair

This'll be my first attempt at a restoration and I don't think this one will be out of my league. My plan over the winter is to slowly restore the canoe with new decks, outwales, replace the cumbersome centre thwart with a chestnut-style carrying yoke (thanks to Mike Elliot's wonderful plans) and a few other bells and whistles. In the end I'll have another canoe that I'm planning to be a bit more rough with that my other boat.

Centre Thwart - too painful on the shoulders

Sept 15, 2015 UPDATE: With some more detective work and some online assistance, the canoe make and model have been confidently determined. It isn't a Chestnut at all (very obvious now in retrospect) but from a local builder in the Muskoka region. For the full post and update - click HERE

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Another Presidential Canoe

Here's an 8 x 10 press photo of Ronald & Nancy Reagan paddling on a pond dated to July 27, 1976.

Seems like Reagan was part of the ranks of paddling Presidents which included Calvin Coolidge's hilariously named canoe "Beaver Dick" and the stately birchbark canoe of FD Roosevelt built by Tomah Joseph

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Contact Voyaging Company Paddles

Contact Voyaging Company has come out with some paddle art for folks who want some colourful accents to their home or cottage. They've launched a line of 56" basswood beavertail paddles, called the Semaphore Series, which is based on the alphabet flag system of International Code of Signals (ICS)

Contact Voyaging Co Paddles

Alpha (A)

Bravo (B)

Charlie (C)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Bashed up Canvas Canoe

Check out this great pic from Life Magazine featuring a cedar-canvas canoe after a run down some wicked rapids...she's still afloat! Some thick branches have been layed across the hull forming temporary thwarts and a long piece has been lashed to left side forming a temporary gunnel. Amazing that the canvas appears fully intact.

Canadian woodsman Robert Rock, in a battered canoe that is leaking furiously but still afloat.
In this photo: Robert Rock
Photo: Wallace Kirkland./Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images
Nov 01, 1953

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Myra Emerson Moose Carving Paddle

LiveAuctioneers has another, unique paddle up for sale. It has long, elegant lines reminiscient of Maliseet style paddles and a short but shapely grip with an etching of a moose. The title page says it was made by Myra Emerson. Some snooping on google search revealed that she was a resident of Maine who lived between 1878 - 1945.

"Canoe Paddle made by Myra Emerson with carved moose motif">

Unfortunately there is no info on dimensions, but the closeup picture of the grip shows some fingers grasping the paddle to give an idea of scale. Assuming she made this paddle for herself, it would explain the smaller, compact size.

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