Results 1 to 16 of 16

Thread: A Different Point of View

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Hunter Lake, Minnesota, USA
    Posts
    3,753
    Journal Entries
    40

    Default A Different Point of View

    I was reading this last night and I thought I would post it. They do have a point. Nothing goes through the water like a wood/canvas canoe.

    http://www.camptemagami.com/the_myths_of_canoes

    I still have one (that needs a serious overhaul), and it is still one of my favorite canoeing experiences - as long as I don't have to carry it! I can still remember portages where I seriously considered lighting the thing afire so I wouldn't have to carry it any further.
    The perfect canoe -
    Like a leaf on the water

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Nr Rochester in Kent
    Posts
    3,822

    Default

    Yes, it is interesting Pierre. Reading some of your posts has made me think a lot about the differences between canoeing in the UK and in the USA/Canada. I may be way off the mark here, but I can't help feeling it's all about cultural history.

    Walk along any river/canal in the UK with homes on it, and you will find row boats moored up. Old, wooden row boats. Some of them will even float! Folk on the river take them for granted and will use them without a second thought, without a PFD, without any safety gear. They're not plastic or anything modern as a rule (well I guess there are some). They've always been part of river life.

    Canoeing on the other hand has no place in our history in the UK. It is totally imported. It is a "sport", and with it comes gear, clubs, associations, safety etc.

    I imagine (rightly or wrongly) that in the USA/Canada the canoe is part of your history, like our row boats. It's just part of river life, and you kind of take them for granted as something that's always been there.

    Although I can see that modern materials are taking over pretty much, the wood/canvas canoe must have a strong hold as the original design (excepting birch bark of course) in your history, so I can see that folk will probably always value them.

    Just read that back, not sure if it makes any sense really, just the late night ramblings of someone who's spent all day fitting air bags into a new boat!

    Matto

    Ours was the marsh country, down by the river, within, as the river wound, twenty miles of the sea.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Gillingham, Kent
    Posts
    490

    Default

    Matto, it does make perfect sense and I think that you are spot on.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Hunter Lake, Minnesota, USA
    Posts
    3,753
    Journal Entries
    40

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Matto
    Yes, it is interesting Pierre. Reading some of your posts has made me think a lot about the differences between canoeing in the UK and in the USA/Canada. I may be way off the mark here, but I can't help feeling it's all about cultural history.

    Walk along any river/canal in the UK with homes on it, and you will find row boats moored up. Old, wooden row boats. Some of them will even float! Folk on the river take them for granted and will use them without a second thought, without a PFD, without any safety gear. They're not plastic or anything modern as a rule (well I guess there are some). They've always been part of river life.

    Canoeing on the other hand has no place in our history in the UK. It is totally imported. It is a "sport", and with it comes gear, clubs, associations, safety etc.

    I imagine (rightly or wrongly) that in the USA/Canada the canoe is part of your history, like our row boats. It's just part of river life, and you kind of take them for granted as something that's always been there.

    Although I can see that modern materials are taking over pretty much, the wood/canvas canoe must have a strong hold as the original design (excepting birch bark of course) in your history, so I can see that folk will probably always value them.

    Just read that back, not sure if it makes any sense really, just the late night ramblings of someone who's spent all day fitting air bags into a new boat!

    I am sure you are right, but you need to try a wood canvas canoe some day ( a new one, or one in excellent repair) to see just how good canoeing can be. Cedarstrip fiber glass canoes run a close second. I currently have one of each - but use them very seldom due to their fragile nature and value.

    I don't buy into everything stated in the above article. The current price for an old 17 foot Oldtown wood/canvas canoe - without the canvas - but otherwise in pretty good condition, is about $1000.

    A good wood canvas canoe gives that "leaf on water" feeling you only experience in the very best of canoes, extremely responsive and incredibly fast.

    The last time I did the St. Louis River with a group, I was soloing an old home built wood canvas canoe (since sold). Every 15 or 20 minutes I would have to pull over to the bank and wait for the other canoes to catch up. No low gear in a wood canvas canoe.

    I do listen to talk of clubs, etc, with a certain amount of envy. While I'm sure there are canoe clubs somewhere in the US, here, canoeing is an individual way of life (I won't even say sport). You most often don't say to someone, "Let's go canoeing." You more likely say, "Let's paddle in and camp," or "Let's go fishing, we'll canoe in."

    My daughter-in-law's father belongs to a rowing club. He is an incredible woodworker and has a "rowing shell (?)" he built many years ago. He rows with the Duluth boat club in the Duluth harbor. This is a strange and unusual sport here. I keep wanting to ask him, "Why would you want to do this?" I never have asked, as I feel it would be impolite, still I can't see the point of it.

    Just one more thought on canoes;

    Birchbark canoes, which you mention above, are a completely different item. They are nothing like any other canoe. The ribs are friction fit, and in rough water, the whole canoe can undulate like a snake. They are surprisingly good in heavy waves and in white water (if you dare to run one through it) as they will slide over rocks that would hole a rigid canoe.

    Another incredible canoeing experience, but the upkeep and fear of ruining the birchbark canoe are enough to give you an ulcer. I sold my most recent one last summer and have resolved to have nothing more to do with them. Still, I do have most of a canoe's worth of bent ribs out in the shed, and birchbark harvest season fast approaches.
    Last edited by pierre girard; 22nd-May-2006 at 03:19 PM.
    The perfect canoe -
    Like a leaf on the water

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Nr Rochester in Kent
    Posts
    3,822

    Default

    A good wood canvas canoe gives that "leaf on water" feeling you only experience in the very best of canoes, extremely responsive and incredibly fast.
    Now that is a nice thought. I can almost picture it already. Maybe one day I'll get to experience it.
    Matto

    Ours was the marsh country, down by the river, within, as the river wound, twenty miles of the sea.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Eastern Canada
    Posts
    6,971
    Journal Entries
    18

    Default

    I would like to pick up a cedar canvas one of these days but It will probably have to wait a few years. There is a company a couple hours north called Cedarwood canoes that was started by one of the employees of the old Chesnutt factory in Fredericton. He only builds a few every year. Ideally I would like to get an old one and reverse engineer it and build my own but even the old ones are $1000. A friend of mine has an old Prospector that needs a lot of love and he still wants $1000 for it. I have hopes of finding one forgotten in a barn one day that I can get for a deal

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Romsey, Paddle estuaries within an hour, also club member and coach, and scout canoeing helper
    Posts
    670

    Default Wood and Canvas Canoes

    I think if I was going to build a canoe then it would be a wood / canvas one. I think it's the best opportunity to get a traditional canoe with relatively easily available materials (plenty of sails out there ). Must get to try some designs first though, once I've worked out what sort of canoe I really want / need.
    What type of canvas is used and how is it waterproofed normally?
    Brevan,
    The truth (about Rights of Navigation) is out there
    Romsey, Hampshire
    Twitter: BrevanM
    Follow my blog at http://riveraccessrights.blogspot.com/

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Eastern Canada
    Posts
    6,971
    Journal Entries
    18

    Default

    The canvas sealing compound is a closely guarded secret with some companies (ie. Chesnutt) but it is basically a glue paint mix of some type. There is a short video on cedar canvas construction that is not too detailed but is a good starting point or at least it invites further study.

    http://www.poleandpaddle.com/ bottom of page

  9. #9

    Default Where did the design come from?

    Hi guys,

    cool points of views here in the Thread. Buying some stuff for my cabin I got into the question of designs and boats in general.
    Matto, mentioned the "sport" versus historical tradition thought which I found very interesting. I would like to dwell on that with you guys for a moment.

    I want to use a boat around my cabin for "work". Laying out fish traps, nets to catch fish. Walking up and down the boat etc etc. My first thought where to buy the same boats all my neighbors have, like Matto was writing about.
    People here only use canoes to "play" around. I need a workhorse.

    Then again I love the feeling of a canoe "dancing" around my paddle. I hated the thought of paying for a rowing boat; I would love to by a canoe.
    Well, as it goes I am going to buy a boat for work and a cheap canoe for play. Some years later when I am "rich", I am going to buy a canvas canoe only for myself. Hehe.

    Well, anyhow. What do you guys think, where did the design of the canoe came from? Did it come for river people needing to go against the stream, being flexible and quick moving? Where canoes used or developed on lakes too? Where they used for working with net fishing? Even on a lake I was faster with my canoe than people with a rowing boat. I am going with my first buy for a boat, so I am able to walk up and down the boat. I know its possible but still not fun for me in an canoe.

    Cheers
    Abbe
    "Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without."



  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Eastern Canada
    Posts
    6,971
    Journal Entries
    18

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Abbe Osram
    I want to use a boat around my cabin for "work". Laying out fish traps, nets to catch fish.

    People here only use canoes to "play" around. I need a workhorse.

    What do you guys think, where did the design of the canoe came from? Did it come for river people needing to go against the stream, being flexible and quick moving? Where canoes used or developed on lakes too? Where they used for working with net fishing?
    You want a working canoe then buy one of the Prospector models. They don't call them "the workhorse of the north" for nothing. Then again, the work that they were doing was a bit different than lake fishing. You may want to look at Maine guiding canoes; they are a bit bigger and are more specialized.

    As for where the various designs came from; you were mostly right on all counts. I person could write a book on the subject and I have no such aspirations. So I will just talk about a few main areas.
    Everyone agrees that all boats probably started as a log or collection of logs or reeds tied together. In British Columbia on Canadaís west coast the deep salt water meant they didnít have to advance too much further than that. It is a mountainous region and inland travel by water was more or less unpractical. The tribes that lived here made a living from the sea and built great war canoes for raiding and taking slaves they built them out of red western cedar, a tree that is huge and can be 200 feet tall and as big around as a small house. Their canoes are like little Viking boats and served the same purpose raiding as far south as California. As we get away from the pacific areas smaller lighter canoes are needed to get around.



    The Inuit and the Dene who lived in the north above the tree line built their canoes from moose, caribou, and seal skins over drift wood frames. The Inuit traveled mostly in kayaks to hunt sea mammals where the Dene plied the lakes and rivers as land hunters in their canoes. The photo below is not a traditional skin canoe but a modern recreation however you get the idea of how they were built.


    When you start getting to central and eastern Canada and the U.S. you start seeing birch bark canoes, skin canoes were still used but bark was predominant. The central tribes like the Algonquin used both rivers and lakes and traveled down to the big lakes in the spring and back up in the fall so their canoes had to be light enough to portage over the rapids. A number of hull shapes were developed from this Ojibwe canoe below to the Mi'kmaq canoe below that.


    The Mi'kmaq people fished and hunted in the open ocean as well as traveling lakes and rivers and have a completely different hull design presumably to cut the effects of the wind while still keeping adequate freeboard. To answer your last question; the native canoes were definitely used for net fishing; their nets being made from string spun from willow bark.
    Lloyd

    Sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug...


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Hunter Lake, Minnesota, USA
    Posts
    3,753
    Journal Entries
    40

    Default

    A "workhorse" canoe in our area would be a 20 foot Grumman square stern. Many fishermen use them, despite the weight, even portaging them throughout the Boundary Waters and Quetico.

    For working canoes, my family, in centuries past, used dugout canoes for working a single lake or body of water they frequented often, and birchbark canoes for traveling and portaging. My g-g-grandfather had a dugout 65 feet long, though most of them were under 20 feet. They really didn't like birchbark canoes much as they wore out in two years. The dugouts lasted forever, if cared for, and at least one is still in useable condition.

    The second and third photos in WhyAyeMan's post are Ojibwe longnose canoes, though this style is fairly recent. Before that, the Ojibwe used a style more reminiscent of the Voyageur canoes. This page shows several styles. In the diagram, the old style Ojibwe (or Chippewa) is listed as "Algonquien."

    I've built one Ojibwe "longnose" birchbark canoe, and paddling one is a real experieince. It may well have been my favortie canoe for paddling, but the upkeep was never ending, and in the end I sold it as I just did not have time for it.
    The perfect canoe -
    Like a leaf on the water

  12. #12

    Default UK canoe history

    Quote Originally Posted by Matto
    .
    Canoeing on the other hand has no place in our history in the UK. It is totally imported.
    when we were carrying out some flood defence works to the River Witham in Lincolnshire we found a number of pre-historic dugout canoes. I think they are in Lincoln museum now.

    Perhaps we're just discovering our roots too?

    p.s. don't forget Rob Roy


    Chris
    "All right" said Eeyore "We're going. Only don't blame me"

    www.canoepaddler.me.uk

  13. #13

    Default

    I believe that the canoe was a universal form of transport in dug out or even a primative plank and stitch form. I think the terrain in canada with lakes and portages lead to the canoe devloping into a light weight frame and birchbark job that could be portaged easily. Over here we didn't have the need to portage so far, we built quay sides and docks to take bigger and bigger boats. In other areas where a light boat was needed they too went to a frame and skin type like the Curragh that is brought up over rocks where they couldn't make a harbour. So I believe that's why the canoe touches us all.

    Anyhow enough global village rambling, I'm lucky enough to have a cedar canvas and they do paddle like a dream. Our boat is a 'Peterborough' and is over 17' but still paddles beautifully solo. Weight would be on a par with a similar royalex boat, maybe a fraction heavier. I think the extra momentum makes it easier to paddle. Also the skin is slightly softer that plastic, aluminium and glass, that kind of quietens the whole experience. Things don't clang or bump around in the bottom of the boat either. Of course you are also surrounded by all that beautiful steamed wood and cedar planking. The hull behaves so well and the entry so fine that it fair zips along - anyhow I'm starting to ramble. Any SOTPers in the North that want a to experience all this then drop me a line and I'll try to get out for a paddle (next two w/e s busy...) - maybe not sleningford though...

    Mick

  14. #14

    Default

    Talking about the canvas canoe, what is the thing to watch out for buying one. Here in sweden I know of two guys building the canvas type canoe. One can buy or build his own canoe there. The course is about 1000 to 1400 Euro and one can take the boat home.


    http://www.kanotmakarn.com/

    http://www.trakanot.se/canoes.htm


    I wonder when I later buy myself a fine canoe what to look out for not buying some crapp, I am too considering going to the place and building one but it is far away from my place and would need a while to get done.

    Cheers
    Abbe
    "Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without."



  15. #15

    Default

    Hi Abbe,
    well when you are buying look for tears and shrinkage in the canvas, wrinkles or lumps are not good either. Inside look for discolouration of the planking where water may have got in (although a certain amount sometimes does), also look for broken ribs...

    Making your own looks good - at least you'll know everything about the boat.

    Mick

  16. #16

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MJBL
    Hi Abbe,
    well when you are buying look for tears and shrinkage in the canvas, wrinkles or lumps are not good either. Inside look for discolouration of the planking where water may have got in (although a certain amount sometimes does), also look for broken ribs...

    Making your own looks good - at least you'll know everything about the boat.

    Mick
    Thanks for the pointers mate, it will be a while down the river before I will have time to go to make my own there. I first have to get a new roof on the cabin this year, this is a must as it starts to rain in at the chimney.
    I believe it will be 2 or 3 years from now.

    cheers
    Abbe
    "Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without."



Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •