Wednesday 28 December 2011

Peterborough Muskrat

Just in time for Christmas, I was able to finish the Peterborough Muskrat. Actually, I sneaked out late Christmas Eve to install the new brass stembands. The old clunky and partly rotted outwales were replaced with a new set of Peterborough style D-shape white ash outwales. I am very pleased with the result and I hope the customer will feel the same when he sees it.

The quarter thwarts are not original, but a great add-on, handy when lifting the canoe and helps keep the ends together. I also installed a new Peterborough deck decal on the bow deck.

Saturday 17 December 2011

Repair progress on the Peterborough Muskrat and Burleigh Falls canoes.

Where did the time go, it's more than three weeks since my last post? Well I've been busy.

Coamings, decks and king planks

The Burleigh Falls cedar-strip received two more coats of tungoil, repair and clean-up of the cedar decks and I made two new deck coamings as well as king-planks.

The Peterborough "Muskrat" has progressed well.

Oiled and varnished


Rubbing out filler

It is now dressed in new canvas, filled with quick drying soy-oil/silica filler.

Two coats of primer

I've primed it twice, the last primer coat coloured green. It got a couple of new ribs, a few minor backside rib repairs, about 50 ft. of new planking, stem repairs to both ends as well as repairs to the inside gunneltips. I also made a new bow slat-seat and repaired the stern seat.

Sunday 27 November 2011

Stripping out the varnish of the Burleigh Falls cedar-strip

Since the last posting, the weather has been cooperative, so I was able to strip out the varnish of the Peterborough Muskrat,

as well as both the interior and exterior of the Burleigh Falls cedar-strip.

The gray and weathered exterior did not need a lot of stripper, but the result left a lot to be desired. Several applications of bleach and two part cleaners removed most of the staining. I am letting the hull dry for only a day after the many applications of rinsing water. The swelling of the planking raises the wood around the nail-heads which are otherwise too close to the surface for any useful sanding of the hull exterior. Now I am able to get in a couple of hours of very careful sanding with 180 grit, knocking off the fuzz and raised grain.

Yesterday, I applied a couple of applications of hot 100% pure Tung Oil. The change this imparts never stops to amaze me; a warm amber cedar colour comes forward and the hot oil also swells shut much of the gaps between the planking. I apply oil until the dry planking can't absorb any more, followed by a rubbing down of the surface to remove any excess oil.

Monday 14 November 2011

Rib removal on the 14' Peterborough Muskrat canoe

Old Town Charles River

While the paint is drying on this Old Town Charles River, the time has come to bring in the 14' Peterborough Muskrat  to the shop.

Peterborough Muskrat

I removed the old fiber glass covering and the damaged top row of planking a couple of weeks ago. There are three broken ribs to replace and a lot of split and buckled planking. The planking issues are definitively due to that the canoe had been fiber glassed the last time it was repaired.

There are several methods to remove a damaged rib. As I don't want to damage any good planking which is easy to do when prying out the old clinched tacks, the method I am using here is as follows: I first make a series of cuts with a utility knife along the length of the rib.

It is now quite easy to break apart the rib.

When all the wood is removed  cut off the tacks and push out the remainder of the tack.

The rib is removed without any damage to the planking.

Tuesday 8 November 2011


The pictures below are of some canoes awaiting restoration over the next months. I will post about the restoration progress on each of them.

14' Peterborough Muskrat from the early 1950's. The next one into the shop. From a distance not too bad, it was recently skinned of its fiberglass covering.  A lot of buckled and split planking, a handful of cracked ribs, it will need new seats, inner gunnel repairs, new outer gunnels and of-course new canvas.

16' Chestnut Cruiser ?, but no markings on this one. However, I am pretty sure it is a Cruiser from the mid to late 1950's. Its last covering, a "Verolite" canvas, man what a stink when I started to pull off the covering.
There was hardly any canvas left, just the outer vinyl skin, the rest mildewed and rotted away. The rot has spread over the two top rows of planking and the rib ends are bad on almost the whole starboard side.


17' Burleigh Falls cedar-strip. Not too bad. The outside is badly weathered and it needs new gunnels and decks, but overall a pretty straight forward restoration.