Monday, December 5, 2016

Shop Updates 12-5-2016

Lots of work going on in the shop.  Fall is always a busy time of year.  There are just so many cool things to do in New England.  Among the many is the Live Free or Die antique tool auction in NH. It is always a favorite for the huge parking lot dealer sale.  A great place to pick up old woodworking hand tools.  Dylan was pretty excited for his new acquisition, but more on this later.

We have several different types of restorations ongoing in the shop.  Penn Yan, Morris, Old Town, Chestnut, Lakefield, St. Lawrence Canoe and Boat Works, Waltham, Kingsbury, etc.  Several new canoes are underway and we just finished a new canoe building form (or mold depending on what flag you wave).

The cedar pile is high, the brass tack inventory is a couple hundred pounds, and the shelf is stocked with plenty of varnish.  We are ready for a full shop and an exciting winter loaded with lots of cool projects so stay tuned in.  We will have plenty of pictures to help ease the dormant canoeing season as the waterways freeze over for the next couple months.


Last year was the first year in nearly 20 years that we didn't have a Penn Yan in the shop.
This year they multiplied like rabbits.  We have four in the shop for restoration.  Well, actually we have six, 4 for a complete restoration and 2 for repairs.

 Left to right: Penn Yan Swift, Penn Yan Trailboat, Penn Yan Cartopper

 The Swift

 The Trailboat

 A Penn Yan Canoe

 Emily working on the rotten ends

 You never know what you might find

 The rotten end rebuilt

 All rebuilt and ready for canvas

 The Cartopper

 Emily and Annie installing the new inner rails

Inner rails and deck installed

Dylan shaping the bevel on the transom rib

 Transom rib installed

 The new transom

 Emily installing the new transom

 Emily and Annie installing new ribs

Checking for fairness


The Chestnut Prospector is perhaps one of, if not the most replicated canoe designs of modern times. It seems that just about every canoe builder has in one way or another offered their version of  Chestnut's famous Prospector.

For years we resisted temptation but finally gave in (I guess). Demand for a Prospector became high so we took to the lofting board and set out to build a form.  It is somewhat of a large investment to make a canoe form but it is a super fun and exciting process.

We started out with an original 17 foot Prospector that had never seen water. Using this example, we carefully took the lines (measurements) from it which were then lofted (drawing the canoe to full size).  From the lofting, we construct a solid canoe building form from which we can build 100's of new canoes.  It is a long process all done by hand, no computers are used.
It is very rewarding, especially when that first canoe comes off the form.

 Dylan tracing out the station patterns

 Strong back is leveled out...

 ...and stations are fastened on.

 On the shopping list for the Live Free or Die Antique Tool Auction in NH,
Dylan was given strict instructions to come back with a new square for the shop.
It's just that Emily didn't specify what size square he was to come back with.
Dylan, ever able to rationalize any tool purchase, quickly found the perfect task for the new 15lb square!

 All the stations are plumb, square, and fair.

 Starting to take shape.

 Time for the strips to go on.

 Last stealer is ready to go on.

 Finishing up the strips.

 The form gets faired.

 Metal rib bands going on.

 The form is complete! Sure looks like a Prospector.

 Annie shaping the new stem

 Emily and Annie bending ribs on the new Prospector form.

 Hull being planked.

 The first hull being lifted off.

 The first time we get to inspect the handiwork of 200+ hours leading up to this point.

 Annie fairing the hull.

Wannigan ribs being installed.


A nice long decked Waltham courting canoe.
Needs a bit of work but this one will shine pretty when done.

The interior repairs being done


Chestnut canoes often lack the bling bling luster of glistening mahogany, long decks, and elevated workmanship, but what they lack in those departments they quickly make up in design.
Pal's are just an absolute joy to paddle on the water.  And that, seemingly, was Chestnut's modus operandi; to produce more of utilitarian canoe that actually paddled well because of design.

 This is the reason rotten ends should not be rebuilt using short scarf joints on the inner rails or angled away from the decks. We see this far too often and it is a failure waiting to happen.

 The newly rebuilt end being glued up.

The interior and its' 17 new ribs in a row.


Here are some other projects ongoing in the shop

 A very early Charles River canoe.

A Kngsbury Charles River canoe

 Just love those decks!  I mean who doesn't?

 An 18' Old Town Square Stern Canoe

A cedar strip Lakefield Torpedo canoe circa 1913-1919.

 A rare St. Lawrence Boat Works 10' canoe.

 A nice BN Morris

 Emily working on the ends of the Morris

The Morris ready for varnish


 Bringing home some of the contents of an older, now defunct canoe builders shop.

 A nice kids cherry paddle.

 Love this picture.
Three different all wood Canadian built canoes from the early 1900's waiting for restoration.

 A pair of very early Brodbeck seats being restored.

 Bringing home the bacon.

 The 18 footer coming into the shop.

 The nice fine entry of the Lakefield.

Emily and Annie working on a new Chicot.

Okay, that's all for now.  Time to take this little guy for a walk.........