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  • Writer's pictureAlec McColm


Updated: Oct 6, 2021


September 9, 2020.

I dont sell canoes, at least not yet, I mostly just buy them so far. As a buyer I'd still like to acquire a canvas/cedar in the 14 - 15' range, ideally a 50 - 60 pounder when complete; and I dont mind doing some work on it to refinish.

Presently I own a Richardson canvas cedar 16', their Camper model, originally built between '61 and '68. Once refinished about 20 years ago and still in good condition. Its basically same form as Peterborough Champlain Cruiser, or Chestnut Ajax (before the Ajax widened from 34 to 36" beam to become the Pal).

For heavier duty and tripping purposes I have a We-no-nah 16' royalex Prospector; and a 14' Clipper duraflex kevlar Prospector for solo outings.

As well as a couple recreational kayaks. And the ash trim remains of my old royalex Mad River Explorer. After many good years of tripping the Explorer hull started cracking from the varied seasonal expansion/contraction affect differences, between the royalex hull and the ash trim (I store my canoes outside, racked without roof, but all wrapped in removeable tyvek sleeves for the winters or when not in use). This cracking risk is now alleviated on the royalex We-no-nah as the ash seats and yoke are hung on a more standard plastic gunwale, that has similar expansion/contraction properties to its hull; and the Clipper, with Kevlar hull, doesnt suffer same effects and so can take a full ash trim including gunwales.

My taste for the traditional materials in backcountry gear, woods in the boats, is present in all the canoes I have. And my paddles are all straight wood as well. While I can appreciate the effectiveness of more modern equipment and forms, I still enjoy the character and utility of the traditional equipment and materials. And like good industrial design, the effect of mixing modern and traditional materials together can be both pleasing and performing. Such as the Clipper in duraflex kevlar, with the ash trim, a great example of no performance compromise, in a good looking wood trimmed package.

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