Sunday 17 March 2013

My own Sailing Canoe restoration

I've written much about this boat, pulled from the woods on the shore of a small lake south of Ottawa, and its been over 7 years since it first found its way into the shop to dry out and wait its turn for attention. Some of my favourite pictures are of the day it was retreived from a fate of slowly rotting away. Indeed, had it not been canvas covered and abandoned off of the ground on large boulders, it would have been but a pile of rot like we've seen so often. Even moving boats that have settled into the forest floor essentially destroys them after years of being covered with snow and rain while sitting on the ground. This one had a different fate.

Lifting it onto the roof was a chore, and we didnt have the trailer at the time! Waterlogged and covered in canvas, it probably weighed close to 300 pounds; dried out it still weighs about 150.

Torn canvas reveals a weathered section, testament to its long slumber in the woods. Judging by the muck and green patina from the cedars, it had been in the woods likely several generations since it had last been sailed and when it was found. 

Re-rigged at some point in its life, no sailing rig or rudder, steering gear or centerboard was anywhere near it. Presumably it was separated at the time it was abandoned. 
 Initial investigations showed some very crude work, prompting some to denote it as home built, however its hull shape betrayed a more thoroughbred lineage. Not a cruising canoe or a lazy sort of design for leisurely crusing, it nevertheless didnt appear as a full out racer.  Some searching of plans provided a hint at its true purpose, as it more closely resembled hulls of the type seen below. 
Old Glory, a hull drawn by prolific and noted yacht designer BB Crowninshield. Undercut bow and stern, lots of rocker and ketch rigged. 

Uncle Sam, another hull of a similar type, both being drawn at the early part of the last century, early 1900s.

A cluttered photo, you can nevertheless see the lines and sheer despite the awkward coaming.

Nice amount of rocker, and sternpost.

Although canvas covered and built this way, as boards are gapped and have no battens backing them up, the boat is planked and decked in butternut. Used on very early Canadian boats, the planks are full length at 17' long. A comparison with a modern butternut paddle shows the unmistakable wood. 

UPDATE! brought home sails from the Assembly this year, now to get this project back and running

Main and mizzen, headed for a long soak in Oxy Clean to bring the brightness back

An undersized 16/30 set made by Douglas Fowler, they will provide all the power this hull needs

Around 70 sq feet combined, down from the typical 90 for better manners

A clamp on sliding seat of the type to be built for this boat. A permanent seat  bridge, even a moveable one with coaming cleats and multiple positions, would not be right for this boat. The earliest available units would have been clamp on boards

A very early board, with great attention to detail. Underside shot showing the bar under the bridge that clamps on to the coaming

Extended to one side

Butterfly inserts, likely to prevent warping or splitting

Nice and simple

Wing nut and bolts

Top side of bridge. 
A great piece, but couldnt stick around long enough to find the owner, and it sold to another. Not a problem, we've dimensions and enough photographs for duplication

Another move forward, white oak for all new ribs in the sailer. Older air dried stock , this will bend up very well before taking all new rivets. This came out of a barn in Muskoka during yet another trip to retrieve a canoe

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Looking forward to see more of the outcome of your restoration.

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