top of page

Liz and Tim dropped off this beautiful old Peterborough in early spring. This canoe was originally purchased for the Huddersfield fish and game club which was rebuilt after it burnt down in 1914. It was composed of a group of wealthy businessmen from New York City one of whom was Mr. Hellman from Helmann s mayonnaise. Liz's grandmother Cecelia Kluke was a cook for them around 1920 and her father was a guide for the club in the late 1930s and early 1940s. Both of them would have used this canoe. Liz's parents, Domina Gravelle, took over ownership of the club in the 1950s when it then became a commercial lease. As part of the club's The canoe was all original and spent the last 40-50 years in a garage not being used. There was a mate to this canoe that was in the same condition and Domina sold it 20 years ago.

The Project

Given this canoe's history, I am acutely aware of maintaining the integrity of the original canoe while ensuring it can safely paddle again. Therefore, I remove the flathead screws from the gunwales with the full intention of reusing them later on. Some things I will need to replace such as the stern stem band and canvas hull but for the most part, this 108-year-old vessel is in excellent condition. Once I have the gunwales off and the weathered canvas removed, what is left is a truly remarkable work of engineering art. 


I have come across these unique penciled signatures about 2 feet off the bow and stern ends on both port and starboard sides. They resemble an M but could also be just a mark to signify a completed section of the canoe. I'm not exactly sure who made them or why but I know it is a mystery worth further investigation.


Furthermore, if you look closely, there are no other signs of pin marks along the edge of the gunwale which indicates that no other canvas has been put on this canoe which indicates this is possibly the first time in over 100 years the cedar planks have been exposed. That is impressive!


The high recurve in the bow and stern ends makes the recanvasing a bit more challenging but it makes for a visually appealing look.

bottom of page