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Canoe Re-do

Jim’s Grandfather bought a brand new Old Town canoe in 1926 and for many years it was stored in the barn of the family homestead. Neither of us remembers exactly when it came to live with Jim’s Mother but when she was downsizing, it was given to us for safe keeping. It was in pretty sad shape, so we found someone who would fix it up properly…wood and canvas…and it was brought back to life. It was a thing of beauty and was well loved. We did a lot of paddling, and our boys enjoyed the adventures we had on the lake near our home and the rivers we travelled to. We would just pop the canoe onto the roof of the car and off we’d go! When we moved here about 20 years ago, we used the canoe a handful of times and the boys did as well, but as the demands of farm life kicked in and the boys moved away, it went into the barn on a pair of saw horses and there it stayed.

the tip of the iceburg?

Last Fall, I got a bee in my bonnet about pulling it out and having a look at it. All of a sudden, it was so much heavier than we remembered! How could that be? We could barely move it! Twenty years makes a difference…and all those bales of hay and buckets of water apparently didn’t build much muscle. What a disappointment! We would never be able to get this canoe onto the roof of the car or carry it to the pond that abuts the farm. Maybe this is how canoes get passed from generation to generation. Once you’re too old to pick it up, you pass it on. Hmmm…

Russ & Jim take a good look

Well, we weren’t ready to give it up so we called our local canoe expert, Russ Guibord of Cane & Canvas, right here in Bristol. We had seen what he’d done with an Old Town of the same vintage that friends had picked up at an auction…very impressive! After a consult which revealed a couple of possible trouble spots Russ took it away last month. An invitation to come see it at his shop, all stripped down, confirmed those trouble spots but not much else. It’s really in pretty good condition…yay!…and he will work on it during the winter. The best news is that we will probably be able to pick it up when it’s done. He’s going to cover it with Dacron which weighs a whole lot less than canvas and is also very durable. With any luck, this will be the last time the canoe needs restoration. And when we can no longer pick it up, we’ll pass it on…

on the road to recovery


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