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by Rob

The ACBS (Toronto) Spring Tour of Muskoka boat shops.

May 1, 2018 in Uncategorized

This past Saturday April 28, 2018,  some 200 vintage boat enthusiasts were treated to a tour  of  eleven Muskoka boat shops, as well as the Gravenhurst Discovery Centre’s assortment of fine watercraft.
One of the stops on the tour was Tom Adam’s shop in Port Carling,  bustling with work on the go.  This huge Clive Brown launch, below,  from 1939, is in for a new stem and some forward side planks. With bench seating around the perimeter, this vessel will surely seat more than twelve passengers. We suspect she was originally built for a Muskoka resort.  (If only the ACBS could buy her for use by the members!!!)

Miss Canadiana, below, powered by a Ford engine, (currently out of the boat) is estimated to have reached speeds in the 150 mile per hour range. She’s in for some top side enhancements and rebuilt sponsons.

The very attractive Duke launch below has been beautifully restored and seems ready for action.

Meanwhile,  at Stan Hunter’s Milford Bay restored boat shop, Tuxedo, below, is a magnificent Minett resting in Stan’s varnish shop. The Hunters are well  respected for their beautiful varnish work.

The flat stern end bottom on Tuxedo appaears to imply a hybrid displacement/planing hull combination.

Stan and Crosley have produced several of these beautifully streamlined WJ. Johnson designed, centre-steer replicas. This model will  “fly,” without requiring a monster engine, reducing the boat’s environmental footprint. Currently, one of these boats is for sale on the Port Carling Boats website. (To view the boat, please click on the link.  Ad  number #787)


Stay tuned for more photos and videos of the 2018 Spring Tour to follow.

by Rob

A senior craftsman’s love of Hackers, plus Breen Boats project 4:

March 22, 2018 in Uncategorized

Congratulations to seventy-nine year old John Campbell of Texas, a fine craftsman who has been building boats for sixty years! John is a real Hacker enthusiast. He describes his latest project, ‘Rosita”, below.
“I must confess that I am hopelessly in love with this little boat and have lusted after ALL Hacker boats for at least 40 years. I have built radio controlled models of many of them….
I wanted to build Rosita full size (21′ X 5’2″all these years and life kept getting in the way and now I’ve found Slippery (John’s latest obsession, not pictured in this post) and MUST have her. I’m 79 years old and have been building wooden boat models and a few full size craft since I was 19…….I cannot imagine life without building a wooden boat and Mr. Hacker’s designs are simply the finest……I’ll keep you up to date with pics and progress on “Slippery”……..don’t be too surprised if you find that I’ll be powering her with a 31 hp liquid cooled V-twin Kawasaki or Kohler engine…….I build light and have it on good authority that 31 hp in this little boat will get me to 28 – 30 mph which is fast enough for an old man, no?…”
John Campbell

“PS: My Rosita is powered with 15,000 watt brushless water cooled electric motor running on 37 VDC…..she has not been wet yet….very recently finished….will be transported in a large spring-loaded wooden box mounted on my Castlecraft aluminum canoe trailer…..more pics to come when all is ready…”

Meanwhile, back in Ontario,
Peter Breen’s boat shop, located near Rockwood, Ontario. has been very active over the winter.
The water-craft below is a personal project for Peter, who has a fantastic collection of vintage canoes.  This is his latest acquisition. Built around 1900, this eighteen foot, “double-end” sailing canoe has all original wood. One section of planking has had a crack repaired and the entire boat is being hand-sanded –  to be followed by a few coats of varnish.

by Rob

Butson Boats goes gangbusters with multiple projects!

February 14, 2018 in Uncategorized

THis Greavette Executive was once owned by Ted Turner

Tim Butson and his staff have their hands full this winter, with restoration projects flying out of their steam-box (so to speak)! The shop currently hosts two Greavette Executives, a custom ski/speed boat, a Shepherd prototype, a Grew Overnighter, a two masted ketch and a Duke Playmate.
Enjoy the photos and video below.

Tim estimates that this ski/speed boat will reach 70 mph.

The Grew Overnighter, seen in this photo, is undergoing a top to bottom restoration. (See the photo below.)

The Grew has been strengthened with thicker lap planks, a reinforced transom and beefier ribs. When installed, the superstructure will provide additional support.

This Shepherd prototype design later appeared as a ski boat in Florida

The second Greavette Executive, early 1970s. rests beside a very substantial ketch

This 34 ft. two masted East Coast ketch, also from the 1970s, is in for some major bottom work and other repairs..

Note the massive rudder.

“Pip Pip” a charming 1949 Duke Playmate (an “everyman” boat built by the hundreds) awaits major work before returning to Magnetewan, Ontario.

With their Buchan midget engines (see photo below) these Playmates sip gas so gently that a day long excursion on one tank is taken for granted.

Hundreds of these small, reliable engines were built by Buchanan Marine in Orilla, Ontario

by Rob

Giesler Boats: A family enterprise since 1927!

November 1, 2016 in Uncategorized


This year Giesler manufactured 50 cedar-strip boats of varying sizes and styles.

Not many wooden boat builders can boast an 89 year history. Yet Giesler Boats, of Powassan, Ontario, can do just that…having been in the business of manufacturing cedar-strip watercraft for almost nine decades.
Very few builders can claim the numbers that Giesler notches up. Gerry Giesler, current owner/manager of the family enterprise, revealed in a recent visit that 50 cedar-strip vesssels of varying styles and sizes left the shop this year. With some twenty-plus models to choose from, including everything from canoes to big water boats, customers certainly should be able to find a vessel that suits their needs.


Transoms on Giesler Boats are solid mahogany


Here a new sistered rib is installed and trimmed.

Spring and summer are generally reserved for new builds, while the fall and winter months cater to repair work. Currently, some thirty boats are in line for refurbishment at the shop.
Gerry notes that wooden canoes,row boats and power boats are particularly popular in northern regions of Ontario, (and other somewhat remote areas) especially for fishing and hunt camps. Why? They can be repaired on the spot, if damaged. A can of epoxy and fibreglass cloth can perform wonders at the bottom of a rapid, whereas an aluminum boat would likely have to be shipped out for repair work. The light weight of a cedar-strip boat is also a great bonus when trailering.


Each cedar-strip plank is precision cut to abut successive boards tightly, creating a “smooth skin” for the boat

If a customer requests it, an epoxy-fibreglass cloth bottom will be installed on a Giesler.  Prices for a Giesler range from approxiamtely $2500 CDN for a basic canoe to $6,750 for a “bare bones ” 18 foot Georgian Bay model. (2016 price list CDN ) not including a motor. Upgrades to all models are available.


Customers can request an epoxy bottom on a Giesler, (recommended on the exterior surface only.)

Over the years, Gerry and his staff have amassed a wealth of knowledge and experience that has helped to refine the construction and finishing techniques of Giesler Boats. We offer a hearty “congratulations” to Gerry and his staff, and wish the company every success in the next ninety years of operation.
(For more information on Giesler Boats, stay tuned for the upcoming videos. Many thanks to Ray Richards for the photographs in this post).


Giesler boats can be ordered in many different configurations. (This model is in for repairs)


by Rob

News from the Toronto Chapter, Antique and Classic Boat Society

October 5, 2016 in Uncategorized

The Toronto Chapter of the Antique and Classic Boat Society is one of the largest and most active affiliates of the International ACBS. For anyone living in Ontario and environs, this is a great organization. For our friends in the USA, consider joining one of the many branches available south of the Canadian border. The benefits and comeraderie greatly outweigh the modest membership fees of the ACBS.


Mowitza II

Toronto Chapter news:
“Today we start out with a gift suggestion for the classic boat lover.
Check out the Classic Motorboats 2017 wall calendar available from Classic Boating. On the cover is Mowitza II, a 1928 27′ Ditchburn Viking currently residing in Minnesota. April’s feature boat is Riot, the 1996, 26′ Clarion Gold Cup Racer owned by Chris and Julie Bullen. You’ll also find Royaleze, a 1929 36′ Ditchburn Launch and Siren of the Rhine, a 1957 22′ Shepherd V-Drive Runabout. Our beautiful Canadian boats are well represented in this calendar. To learn more about ordering yours, check out the Classic Boating magazine website.


Mowitza II



Register Now for the Return of the Haul Out Party!
Friday, October 28 – Port Credit Yacht Club, Ontario
A joint venture between ACBS-Toronto and the Kids & Classics Boatshops Museum
Complete the form in the fall issue of Classicboat.
Limited Space Warning! This is a New Old Event, and we have selected a scenic location with views out over the lake which will make your participation memorable; however, seating is limited to 80! So – jump in, get creative, meet new members, and see the season out with a party!
Don’t miss out!
Upcoming Events
It’s official – autumn is upon us! With a little luck, we might still be able to squeeze in some early fall boating over the next few weeks – including Thanksgiving weekend! As you make your fall and winter plans, please keep these dates in mind.
Wednesday, December 7 – ACBS-Toronto Annual General Meeting
Watch for details in upcoming Wood Boat Wednesday messages and in a separate mailing.
January 20-29, 2017 – Enercare Centre, Exhibition Place, Toronto – Toronto International Boat Show (TIBS)
Winter may still be a little way off, but we’ve already been thinking about our TIBS exhibit in January. Our 2017 boat show theme will celebrate Canada’s sesquicentennial, so we will be reaching out shortly for appropriate displays.
If you have any ideas, or better yet would like to volunteer to help out with the TIBS planning committee, please contact Kathy Rhodes.
March 23-26, 2017 – Tavares, FL – Sunnyland Boat Show
Join fellow ACBS members for the unofficial kick-off to the 2017 boating season. Special rates are available at the Mission Inn (under Antique and Classic Boat Society). For more information about this show, click here.
July 4-9, 2017 – Muskoka Wharf, Gravenhurst – 37th Annual Vintage Boat Show
Join us as we celebrate Canada’s sesquicentennial! Again this year, we will be offering three days of pre-event activities including a proposed non-motorized craft (canoes, kayaks, sailboats, rowboats, skiffs) regatta on Gull Lake. There will be activities for all types of boats and boaters.
This year, we will be partnering with the Canadian Canoe Museum, the Muskoka Discovery Centre, and several other groups to bring you a show that is inclusive, engaging, and interactive.
If you have ideas you’d like to share (or you’d like to volunteer to help out), contact Kathy Rhodes.
Call for Contributors – Classicboat Winter Issue
The fall issue of Classicboat should have arrived in your mailbox (if it hasn’t let us know). As you read through it, think about sharing your stories in the winter issue.
Send your article or story as a Word document and accompanying photos as JPEG files (minimum size 1 MB) to Kathy Rhodes.
Classicboat Advertising
Do you have a product or service that you’d like to see advertised in a future issue of Classicboat? If so, check out the attached rate card which lists all our available packages and deadlines.
(Editor’s note: google ACBS Toronto for Kathy Rhode’s contact information)