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Dave Murphy - Chestnut Prospector

Posted on March 23 2012

I'd like to thank you for the very helpful advice and instruction you have given me through your three books. And I wanted you to know that you have stirred up a creative part of me that I didn't know was there. I have always worked in wood but never felt such pride and satisfaction as when I first placed the finished canoe in the water. I am a first time canoe builder. I borrowed a friend's strongback and mold's for a Bill Mason's favourite, a 16 ' Chestnut Prospector. After truing up the molds, I spaced the forms to give me a 17' 6" canoe. The thinking being, I wanted to carry lots of gear and have a faster boat that would hold a course well across windy lakes. I made some other changes because I am also making it into a sloop-rig sailing canoe. I beefed up the inwales and outwales (I always liked the wide, tapered trim of the old Peterboroughs) to support a lee board and added a keel to help from sliding sideways. To keep a clean. uninterrupted line on the outwale, the inwales were fastened first through through the planking, then outwales were fastened through both gunwales from the inside every 6 " and plugged with walnut. Rather than a single piece of wood, I made the yoke out of 6 pieces of ash, and although fairly delicate, it supports the 75 pound canoe easily. I also made the outside stems from 3 strips of ash, epoxy-glued and fastened through the inside stems. I've added generous decks (in the Peterborough style) for extra strength and appearance. Decks were fastened from outside before the outwales were attached. Outwales were then fastened up to the deck area with stainless screws and the remaining ends were glued up to the stems with epoxy. Seats are made with thin pieces of ash that have a natural spring, making for a comfortable ride on extended trips. I took a chance a uses 2 oz. fiberglass cloth to save weight. So far it's holding up quite well, although I probably sacrificed some strength. I am now building a new strongback and designing a new solo canoe. Thank you for what you have given me through your very comprehensive and inspirational books... Dave Murphy

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