Hand made by Dick Bird

Funds from the sale of the Canoe will be donated to the Moses Hudgin Log House Restoration Fund

Dick Bird comments:

The canoe is called the "Severn" built in the tradition of the Peterborough Canoe Company (1892-1961). It is correctly called a cedar/canvas canoe. This canoe is 17 feet 6 inches which makes it rather large by canoe standards. It is built for heavy loads and more open water. There is no keel which we find makes it easier for paddling. Also it is a bit heavy (around 80 pounds) which makes it heavy for portaging so we advise a light two wheeled canoe cart.

The lumber is local white cedar/white ash/black cherry and sugar maple. We feel it is a very safe canoe. This is canoe #29 and all have been donated or sold and the money sent to worthwhile causes. The white ash came from Morrison's Point and is the nicest wood I have ever worked with. 

Here is more entertaining information from Dick:

It probably takes somewhere between 100 and 150 hours to complete the 17 foot Severn canoe. Some jobs like bending the hot cedar ribs and planking are more enjoyable so I slow down a bit. All cedar canvas canoes are built on a wooden mold that has steel bands to match each rib. The ribs are bent on the mold and fastened to the ash gunwales with bronze ring nails. While still on the mold the planks are nailed or tacked to the ribs. Each tack (3000-4000 per canoe) goes through the plank and through the rib. The point of the tack then hits the steel band and curls back into the rib. In this manner the tack acts more like a rivet than a nail or tack. They are almost impossible to remove. The white cedar that I use comes from the swamplands east of Bancroft and I purchase it from the Mennonites at Hermon. The big cedars reach high into the canopy for sunlight and produce excellent straight grain logs even though the heart of the tree is often rotten. Cedars "burry the knots" so I have seen 16 foot cedar planks without a single defect. Cedar is easy to work with, bends well and it even smells good. If properly cared for a cedar canvas canoe will last for many generations. I have never seen a cedar canvas canoe that could not be repaired. I build three styles of wooden canoe but the 17 foot Severn is my favourite. It is very stable in open water, can carry three people or 2 people with 300 pounds of gear. It also performs well with a small sail or a 2 hp motor. It is a treat to paddle alone. Sit near the centre of the canoe with a life jacket under your knees and a second jacket under your backside. Now shift your weight slightly to one side and start paddling. You will soon see that the canoe tacks well and there is no need for a correcting or J stroke. All of my canoes do not have a keel. A keel might be needed for river work or if the canoe is pulled up on rocky shores but the brass stem band seems to give adequate protection. Also, the absence of a keel helps to keep the paddler in control rather than the canoe dictating the direction of motion. Finally remember that a true Canadian was not only born in a canoe but also conceived in a canoe. If you find this hard to believe I invite you to visit the Canadian Canoe Museum in Peterborough and look closely at the design of their "Courting Canoe".

For more information please contact  Dick Bird or Cheryl Anderson