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  • Writer's pictureAlec McColm

Chestnut 17' Guide Special

Chestnut 17' Guide Special This canoe I believe was built in about 1975. A 35" beam, 12.25" depth, about 75 lbs. In cruiser like form, a little sharper shape, more rounded hull, made for an agile responsive canoe. With the added close rib strength, was thought good for river duty (though I would think larger rivers with easy entries and exits, not so much small rocky river agile, or tough put ins and take outs). I'd consider it to be a good traditional heavy duty tripping canoe. Though a little weighty in exchange for the sturdiness, best handled tandem. Bought at a good price from the original owner in Edmonton. In good fairly original condition. The usual weathered wood to refresh and refinish. The right side gunwales had a couple flatter sections (perhaps by being stored up on side for a time) that could use restored shape in some way. The hull canvas was intact, though with extensive cracking paint, but the hope was that it could still be used and refreshed in appearance, well sanded for a fresh coat of paint. So refinishing consisted of first restoring the top woods, sanding gunnels and deck plates, after dropping the seats, thwarts and grabs. The brass stem guards and bow ring were also removed and stripped back to clean brass condition. Interior and interior varnish was vigorously cleaned with tsp, and a light coat of thinned varnish was reapplied. New thwarts (centre and quarters) were cut, which pushed the flattened right gunwale sections back to appropriate curvature shape. That took the original 35" beam out to 36", not too out of line for a 17' length. Outwales were then removed for sanding and repainting of the hull. The sanding was done by hand, to do the heavier removal that was necessary, with care not to breach the underlying canvas. Original chestnut green paint was reapplied, three coats, well hand sanded in between. Brass stem guards and bow ring reinstalled. The outwales were reinstalled with silicon bronze screws and the seats and grabs were hung on new silicon bronze carriage bolts (as the new thwarts had been). Final touch was placing new decals from the Canadian Canoe Museum, on bow deck and mid ships hull both sides. The finished product was fairly good, as can be seen in photo(s), a refreshed but fairly original classic Chestnut. Ship shape useable, though at some point in the future still due for new canvas and likely outwales then too. Sold to a fine gentleman in Prince George BC.

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