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Thread: Herters Wilderness 17' Square Stern?

  1. #1

    Default Herters Wilderness 17' Square Stern?

    I picked up an old 60's or early 70's Herters canoe to piddle with over the winter. Anybody know the capacities of the ole 17'er? I can't find a plate. Think I should use polyester resin instead of epoxy to patch a crack or two?
    I remember having only 3 catalogs in the house back then, Sears, Monkey Ward, and Herters.

  2. #2
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    Default Herters canoe

    there was a place here in Anchorage that had the rights to make them here in town, a plastic shop behind Spenard builders here in town, they were not a bad canoe in its time

    if this can help
    SID

  3. #3

    Default Herters Square Stern Canoe

    I got one for my high school graduation present in 72. The flotation compartments are under the seat, and might leak and hold water in time. Mine did. I literally ground the keel through on Ozark gravel rivers. Easy enough to patch them back with common fiberglass and resin from the auto store.

    Looking at one of my old Herters catalogs here, it says:
    the weight is 104lbs. and the cost in 70 was $165.
    Max loading capacity is 750lbs. (They will haul a load.)
    Can't find the hp max but I believe it was 4hp.

    I ran a 2 and 4 hp on mine and it certainly wasn't overpowered. With heavy use mine got a crooked keel and it got considerably heavier as the fiberglass lamination soaked up water through the years.
    A fond memory of my youth but I don't want another one. Overall, a good enough canoe IMO. There's better out there in this day and time.

    From a 1970 Herters catalog:

    This canoe is designed for rugged wilderness travel. They will carry tremondous loads safely and will outlive most boats in rough water. These are the perfect canoe for the Mining Explorer, Professional Fisherman, Guides and Trappers who do not have time to be fussy about how they drag over dams, or pull it up on a rocky or timber strewn shore.

    Ol George Herter was quite a salesman. I miss him.

  4. #4

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    Thanks for the info fellas. I picked this thing up to get a little fiberglass experience before I start on my real project.

    Zack, what part of the Ozarks? That's my old stomping grounds.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Boud'arc View Post
    Zack, what part of the Ozarks? That's my old stomping grounds.
    Just north of Galena, Mo. James River is in the back yard.

    Hey, I thought I'd add those rocket fin looking things on the stern of the Herters square stern really work. They kinda keep the ass end of the boat from digging in at full throttle. Ol George was on to something there. Zack

  6. #6

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    I was on the east side of the state. Bought a bow last year from the boys in Nixa and spent moose season this year with a friend from Cedar Creek.

    I've seen those hydro foils on Grummans before. Don't think I'll get that crazy with it. The keel is in good shape. Someone broke the support pole in the middle that attaches to a cross pipe and the plate on the floor. There is a large crack length way in the floor. The missing support is likely the cause. Someone patched the outside bottom so it doesn't leak. They must not have known about compression and tension. I'll lay some cloth inside and out on the bottom, make a new sopport pole, and repaint it. Should be good as new. The foam under the seats is probably not good. Might replace it too.

  7. #7
    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    I had a used one in the early seventies. It came with a skag and mast with sail. I ran a 5hp Eska motor on it and it would skoot along nicely.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Boud'arc View Post
    I was on the east side of the state. Bought a bow last year from the boys in Nixa and spent moose season this year
    Should be good as new. The foam under the seats is probably not good. Might replace it too.
    Black Widow. I wired that building for them when they moved there in 93. It was an interesting job.

    There wasn't any foam under the seats in my boat. What they did was use some kind of heavy cardboard for a form and then fiberglass over it. Just an empty chamber. Zack

  9. #9
    Moderator Alaskacanoe's Avatar
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    Default Herters

    I remember reading those catalogs,, they were so much fun,,
    Every thing he sold was guide model this, or professional model that,, ..
    I still have a Herters reloading press..
    it works great,, I use it for resizing,, I had a herters canoe for a few years in my rental fleet, it was a heavy fiberglass boat with cast Aluminum parts in the ends, etc.. The fiberglass started to crack in places where the bulkheads had the foam, and it did get heavier..
    I painted the canoe a baby blue color and patched it up and sold it about 5 years ago...
    I am sure its still going strong..
    When you come to a fork in the trail, take it!

    Rentals for Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts, boats serving the Kenai canoe trail system and the Kenai river for over 15 years. www.alaskacanoetrips.com

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alaskacanoe View Post
    I remember reading those catalogs,, they were so much fun,,
    Every thing he sold was guide model this, or professional model that,, ..
    Oh yeah. I've got several of the old catalogs and drag them out and look at them now and then. I've even got the 'Herters Bull Cook' cook book. Tells you how to make the best peanut butter and jelly sandwich, the best places to eat in New Orleans, France and San Francisco and how to survive a 1960s cobalt bomb attack. George was a diverse man.

  11. #11

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    Does the fiberglass pickup weight during use and dry out or does it saturate and stay there? Wouldn't it show signs of mildew or mold? Maybe the culprit is the lack of paint or finish on the inside. I don't want to get too deep into this canoe but I may give the bed liner stuff a try inside and out on the bottom. Whoever buys this thing from me down the road will get a solid canoe. Maybe a little heavier but solid.

    To the wizard behind the curtain: Sorry I misspelled "beaver house". Wasn't think'n.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Boud'arc View Post
    Does the fiberglass pickup weight during use and dry out or does it saturate and stay there? Wouldn't it show signs of mildew or mold? Maybe the culprit is the lack of paint or finish on the inside. I don't want to get too deep into this canoe but I may give the bed liner stuff a try inside and out on the bottom.
    1. Don't know. When I was running one it never got much chance to dry out. I had it in the water regular. We don't freeze over like you guys do.
    2. Never say any mildew.
    3. With me it was when I ground through the keel. Grinding through the gel-coat and into the fiberglass cloth lamination. Laminations started wicking up water. Zack

  13. #13

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    OK, I'm doing exactly what I said I wouldn't do. Rather than simply fixing the the cracked bottom on this old canoe I decide to do a little experiment. I took all the heavy aluminum parts off (keel, rails, seats, nose, transom) and removed all three layers of gel coat. The middle layer was baby blue Alaskacanoe. Just may be your old canoe?

    The original dimensions were 17' long, 36" wide and 13" deep at mid ship. I'm adding 4" to the depth by glassing a 4" section of 1/4" plywood lapstrake style around the top edge. The canoe will be 17' long, 40" wide and 17" deep with the modification. I'll add another layer of glass to the exterior, glass some sections of rope onto the bow and forward keel area for abrasion, glass some 1"x3" boards on the inside bottom for stiffness, close in the bow and stern for built in flotation, add a built in motor lift, new wooden gunwales, thwarts and net seats and new gelcoat. The aluminum I took off the canoe was heavy so the weight should turn out pretty close to 110-120# in the end. So much for a simple fix.

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    how about some photes of the canoe ??????????????????????? it sounds great, a labor of love so will you show it off a bit

    SID

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    DSCF1258.jpgThe crack that started it all.DSCF1262.jpgExtension contrast.

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    DSCF1264.jpgSides in place.DSCF1261.jpgBuddy, the helper.

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    Wow, can you spell FREEBOARD? That will be really nice when you're done; thanks for the pictures. (+1)

  20. #20
    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    It was a heavy canoe to start. It will take a man younger and stronger than me to roof top it. Should glide wonderfully
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

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