Thursday, September 15, 2011

New Canoe Id: Richardson Copy cat

Turns out the cedar canvas canoe I obtained in a trade isn't a likely Chestnut Chum at all. Mike Elliot of Kettle River Canoes mentioned in a comment that the canoe wasn't consistent with a Chestnut. Instead it looks to be similar to a Richardson or Rilco based on the narrow red cedar planking and other features

Richardson and Rilco were descendents of Lakefield Canoe company. According to the ID page on Dragonfly canoe, in 1962 Jack Richardson, the former General Manager of the now defunct Peterborough Canoe Co. purchases the Lakefield Boat Co and renames it Richardson Aquacraft, also called Rilco Industries. The company closed down around 1969. The narrow red cedar planking is an identifying feature of this style of canoe.

Intrigued, I did some more searching and came across this posting on Kijiji for a fully restored Richardson. The planking pattern is neater but similar to mine.

Richardson Canoe

Despite the fact that the rawhide seats had long ago deteriorated on my canoe and had been replaced with simple plywood planks, the underside of the seats revealed a curious hole pattern to the seats - basically a line of offset holes. This pattern is also found in Richardson / Rilco boats.

Babiche weaving pattern with offset lacing holes

It would seem that my canoe has many features of this style made by a less experienced or a rushed builder. So for now I'm calling it a Richardson copy-cat.

Regardless of the history of the boat, I've already had lots of fun poling and paddling her and am eagerly looking forward to my own attempt a basic restoration.

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