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Thread: Rangeley Ellis 3

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2022
    Durham, ME, USA

    Default Rangeley Ellis 3

    I recently obtained a 1938 Ellis 3 Rangeley Boat.
    looking for recommendations on rib repair, oarlocks, soaking

    Herb Ellis apprenticed under my Great Grandfather, Francis Barrett from 1936-1938. Ellis purchased the business when Barrett’s health declined in 1938. My Grandmother was also an Ellis, so enjoying the family history of this beautiful boat.

    I have some old documents about the boats. I understand that oak was originally used for the ribs. Any recommendations on the bending/fitting process for these? A few are cracked towards the stern. I have zero experience with this and any advice would be really appreciated!

    also curious what size outboard is found most suitable?

    Thanks for your time

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Walney, near Cumbria UK

    Default Re: Rangeley Ellis 3

    Hi, and welcome to the Forum.
    Pictures, please, we lurrve pictures. Pictures help us provide better answers to your questions.
    Specifically, what is wrong with the ribs and oarlocks. How long is she, dimensions are good.
    If the ribs are steamed oak, use white oak, soaked before steaming, and cook it in wet steam for 1 hour per inch of thickness.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Norwich,United Kingdom

    Default Re: Rangeley Ellis 3

    John Gardner documented the Ellis Rangeley quite thoroughly in one of his books and there ought to be enough information therein to re-create any of the parts.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Concord, Massachusetts

    Default Re: Rangeley Ellis 3

    I grew up in Rangeley, and scraped and painted quite a number of these for people from away during my teenage years. I dabble in wood and canvas canoes now and have never restored a Rangeley, so not much help. I am thinking that steam bending the ribs and installing them would not be too difficult. If you want to hire the work out, Bob Bassett in Vienna or Kevin Martin in Epping, NH both do great work.


    "Wherever there is a channel for water, there is a road for the canoe. " - Thoreau

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Mountain lakes of Vermont

    Default Re: Rangeley Ellis 3

    Quote Originally Posted by John Meachen View Post
    John Gardner documented the Ellis Rangeley quite thoroughly in one of his books and there ought to be enough information therein to re-create any of the parts.
    Building Classic Small Craft by John Gardner. Available on the WoodenBoat website for $48.
    I've got a copy and have read the chapter on Rangeley boats since one of these days I'd like to build one.
    The construction process is detailed complete with lines and off sets along with plenty of construction drawings.
    There is very little mention of what woods were used other than oak for the stem. Ribs were 11/16" x 3/8". Planks 5/16" thick. The original boats used iron nails for clenching the planks to the ribs. Planks predrilled and nails driven and in and clenched over while the ribs were still hot to avoid splitting. Copper nails or rivets would be used now.
    The book simply mentions "low-horsepower outboard" so I'm thinking in the 2-3 hp range.
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.
    Skiing is the next best thing to having wings.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2002

    Default Re: Rangeley Ellis 3

    Gardner built the boat and I got to see it at the boat show one year . It was layed out in front of an outbuilding in the shipyard with some otheres ,having just been sold out of the Mystic collection for $1,800 I think ; a beutifull boat . She's on the cover of one of his books.

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