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I think I've already expressed that the Chestnut is my dream canoe. Ever since watching Bill Mason's "Path of the Paddle" series, I have always been interested in hearing about the personal stories of canoes. What adventures have they been on? How many owners? When was it built? However, there is not a lot of background on Doug's Chestnut, but the beam's dimensions, depth, and rib widths indicate it was a pleasure craft built by Chestnut Canoe Company sometime after 1960.

The Project

As with many wood boats, the years have taken their toll. But, for the most part, the canoe is in great shape! I will be replacing the canvas and repairing the bow and stern stems. The inwales are in good shape and the decks are worth saving so just new outer gunwales will be needed. Once the canvas is removed, the canoe's original hull of cedar planks reveals a pattern of ageless grain lines.


The darkening sections seen along the planking are caused by water exposure. For the most part, I do not need to replace the planks unless they are completely rotted. 

The Process

The most common problem I find when working with canoes is the deterioration of the wood at the bow and stern. Most of this is caused by water pooling in these areas while the canoe is flipped upside down for winter storage or summer usage.  Over time the water permeates the wood fibres and slowly causes them to soften and eventually rot. 

By cutting back the rotted section, I use a scarf joint to replace the old wood with a new piece of ash.

Once the woodwork is done...

I use 2 anchors on either end of the shop and use a come-a-long system to pull the new canvas snugly over the hull.


... and then the filler

Paint, and Adding New Outwales
 ...Completed !
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