USE AND CARE OF YOUR WOODEN CANOE
Store upside down and inside if possible.
If the canoe has to be stored outside use a good weatherproof tarp and make sure it is off the ground and out of the sun.
Even though we use a good oil base exterior enamel, a canoe should not be left in the water for extended periods of time when not in use. If you have cane seats, varnish the top surface only. The material has to breathe.
If your canoe overturns - dry it out. Cedar readily absorbs water - not drying it could cause the planking to warp. The secret is attention to details that aren’t immediately obvious. That’s why it is so easy to miss them. The forces you’re fighting are sunlight and rain - they’re sneaky and persistent..
The ultra-violet rays of the sunlight tear apart wood finished almost as fast as a belt sander and what the sun doesn’t ruin, the moisture soon will. Therefore, it is imperative to refinish the exposed woodwork on your canoe (a light sanding and a coat of varnish) at least every two years.
We cannot be held responsible for damages if the above suggestions are not addressed, particularly the one about keeping the canoe “covered” when not in use.
These few tips, if followed, will add many years of enjoyment to your wood canoe.
WEIGHT - Weight has some serious disadvantages for boats and equipment, but it also has some unexpected benefits pertaining to paddling. Weight adds momentum at the end of each stroke, maintaining speed while you reach for the next one.
Keep in mind when purchasing that new paddle, that lightness is not the other only factor to have in mind. By choosing too light a paddle, one may sacrifice strength and over the long haul, you may be up the creek with a broken paddle.
FACTS ON DECAY - Decay is often a keen partner to stress when it comes to destruction - woods rot- plastic and fibre glasses degrade.
It’s all part of natures regenerative process. Generally, decay thrives in an environment of warmth, moisture and air. These are all available at your local shoreline. By keeping your canoe off the ground and covered, we are doing all that we can to preserve it.
P.S. Don’t forget - if you see smoke from the chimney, drop in for a chat!!!!
A FEW FACTS
The wood-canvas canoe has one unique attribute which simply has been forgotten. “Two Hulls”, a structural naturally floating cedar hull is covered by a single water-tight sheet of canvas. This outer covering can be removed to make minor structural repairs and then a new canvas covering will make the canoe like new again.
Minor accidents, bumps and scrapes are responsible for most of the touch-up work. The other contributor is the physical reaction of the canoe to her environment. Canoes are assaulted by the elements. Afloat, they flex continually. Ashore, changes in the temperature and humidity cause the wood to swell and shrink. Generally, the hull is more flexible than the finish. Varnish and paint provide a slightly flexible, but hard layer of protection. The problem is, they are not sufficiently flexible to withstand the continual movement. The finish will eventually break down over time resulting in surface cracking which shouldn’t leak at this time, but does not appeal to the eye. A thorough sanding, special attention paid to the areas of cracks and a couple of coats of a good oil base marine enamel should bring it back to almost like new. Remember, expected life of a canvas covered canoe is approximately 20 - 25 years - much less IF IT IS NOT LOOKED AFTER.
Canoes have been constructed of tin, rubber, aluminum, fibreglass, kevlar, ABS, graphite compounds and even concrete, but these materials are incongruous with the purpose of most canoes which is a vehicle that transports us into the unknown wilderness of a quiet river, plodding moose and the call of the loon.
In the sixties, many of the children’s camps abandoned the simple art of re-canvassing, blinded by the craze for plastic. Hundreds of canoes, mostly Chestnuts were improved with fibreglass covering. Now years later, those canoes are rotting shells because the plastic did not let the wood breathe.
HISTORY - The canoe developed Canada, opened its frontiers and established its trade and commerce.
It carried Canada’s first statesmen. Today, it quietly advertises Canada throughout the world.
To Americans, canoeing in Canada means “the genuine experience”.
Robert Thomas Allen
CHESTNUT AND PETERBOROUGH CANOE INFORMATION
The number usually stamped into the stem inside the canoe included - work order number and model number. This data was also printed on a work order tag and accompanied the canoe through out the different work stations of the factory. This number contained no specific build date, and was for factory use only. Some customers received their canoes with this tag still attached.
WHAT’S YOUR CANOE STYLE
Canoes come in many shapes and sizes. They are also made from a wide range of material, including plastic, Kevlar and aluminum, fiberglass and wood.
There are pros and cons to each material. The choice you make will often depend on practicality and, of course, price. Here are some finer point to consider:
There’s a heartbeat to wood, a steady rhythm that continues to beat long after the tree has been felled by the axe. A beat that grows more intense as each thin layer is peeled away by hand plane or saw. Some say they can hear the beat if they listen closely. Certainly you can see it in the grain of the wood.
This is completely unlike the other materials. Plastic just sort of plops itself into a form and becomes a canoe. Kevlar and fiberglass are laid in sheets. Aluminum is clanged around and finally hammered with a rivet gun to take the form of a canoe. There is no life here. Just industry.
When a boat builder uses power tools to work on building his wooden canoe, there is life. As the drill bit or saw blade or sander turns and begins to shape the boat, the smell of the forest fills the air through the sawdust created.
Do the same with the other material and all you smell is a rather unpleasant odour.
Building a wooden canoe begins with the birth of a tree, and each wooden canoe is a singular being with its own character. The other types are not born at all. They are created in some faceless lab or factory, merely clones of one another.
Actually, most canoes made of anything but wood are easier to maneuver. They are faster, easier to paddle and can withstand scrapes with rocks and trees much better than those made of wood. Come time to put a non-wood canoe up for the year, the only work involved is a simple wipe down, and getting it ready for the next spring is as simple as putting it in the water.
But paddle a wooden canoe once, and you’ll see it has a pulse. The fine grain of its ribs and gunwales tells of its life, while the hand-rubbed varnish of its finish tells of the love of its maker. The sound a wooden canoe makes as it slices through the water is one of a soft hush, a perfect blending of woods and water.
Take the plastic, fiberglass or aluminum if you are in a hurry. But at least once, take the time to go slow and feel the pulse softly hidden in the heart of a WOODEN CANOE.
A WORD BOUT OUR FILLER
Filler is basically used to seal and fill the weave of the canvas. The old recipes for filler were closely guarded secrets and developed over the years of testing. One of the ingredients was “lead”. Lead helped protect the canvas from rot and mildew. We can no longer purchase the lead additive due to the fact that it is very toxic to humans.
Our filler formula does include “Zinc Napthaneate” which also helps protect against rot and mildew. Together with the other ingredients that go into our filler, we should be able to look at years of service for your canoe.
A LITTLE HUMOUR
In the early 1900’s on the Charles River in Boston, the water was so busy with canoes, every single cove along the bank, hidden by low willow branches was known to young lovers. They wanted to sneak away for their private moments. It got to be such a problem, that the city passed an ordinance that said ‘NO HEADS WERE ALLOWED BELOW THE GUNWALES’. Water police in rowboats patrolled the river night and day to apprehend the culprits.
“NOW THOSE WERE THE GOOD OLD DAYS”
You can use all the different technical terms you want to describe a canoe like beam; depth; sheerline; rocker; tumblehome; profile; etc. - what it all boils down to is that you are a ‘RED’ canoe person or a ‘GREEN’ canoe person.
CHESTNUT & PETERBOROUGH
Over the years, there has been countless discussions around the capmfire about the virtues of the Chestnut versus the Peterborough Canoe.
In reality, there really wasn’t that much difference between the two. With little public notice, the Chestnut and Peterborough Canoe Companies quietly merged into one entity., THE CANADIAN CANOE COMPANY. However, each kept their individual identities in tack following this merger. Each was filling the other company’s orders depending on their supplies in stock and the demand. It was not uncommon for Peterborough models to be shipped from New Brunswick, or for Chestnut models to be shipped from Peterborough.
CENTRE OF GRAVITY
If you are able, the suggested way to paddle a canoe is to rest or support your backside by leaning against the seat, but your knees should be spaced comfortably on the floor preferably on a towel or thin sponge for comfort.
Remember this is not a kayak. Kayakers sit; canoeists should kneel.
By kneeling, we are keeping the centre of gravity at the low point and we are truly “IN BALANCE” with the canoe, and for the most part don’t have any problems.
By sitting on the seats, we are “OUT OF BALANCE” with the canoe due to the fact that our centre of gravity is too high and we are inviting trouble.
THREE BASIC LAWS OF THE SHOP
1. Wood alwasys moves.
2. Rust never sleeps.
3. Duct tape fixes everything.
If any leaks occur below the waterline, they will usually be at the keel of stem band attach holes.
Once you locate the leak, simply take the brass screw out and let the canoe dry for a day or two, then
shoot the hole with clear silicone. You then put the screw back, being carefull not to strip the hole threads. In two or three hours the canoe should be okay to use.
All holes below the waterline are always shot with silicone during repair or replacement of keels and stem bands, but as the canoe is used, its ability to flex never ceases and therefore, we can expect a few small leaks from time to time.
“ONE SHOULD NEVER PLAN A CANOE TRIP WITHOUT INCLUDING A
ROLL OF GOOD QUALITY DUCT TAPE”