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Thompson Row Boats

PostPosted: Sat Apr 16, 2011 5:53 am
by W Guy
I was wondering about the two styles of hulls I've heard about. There's the cove & bead and the style where the boards are butted together then covered with canvas. (strip built?) What years were each style offered, or were both styles available during the same years?
I've been looking for a nice one that I can afford and I prefer the cove & bead style so I can finish it in natural wood with a leakproof finish.
Verne :)

PostPosted: Sat Apr 16, 2011 7:13 am
by Phill Blank

To my knowledge and from what I have read in the old Thompson literature all cedar strip boats from Thompson, both cavas covered and non-canvas cover had the compression type strip construction. That was a big selling point with Thompson boats.

The difference between the canvas covered and non--canvas covered boats was the thickness of the strips. To make the lighter take-along boats, I do believe the strips where thinner to save some weight.

If you get the CD's with Thompson boat info you can check the features of every boat they built over the years. These CD's are worth the cost in info and photos, etc.

I purchased the whole set years back and it has been very helpful for not only myself but in my being able to help other people identify their boat models when asked for help.

The CD's are available from

Good Luck,


PostPosted: Sat Apr 16, 2011 1:31 pm
by LancerBoy
Bead and cove strip built hulls and canvas covored hulls were offered at the same time during many years at Thompson Bros. Boat Mfg. Co. There were only a few canvas covered boats (in addition to canoes and duck boats) in the product line. In 1952 or thereabouts Thompson had something like 72 models. Only a few were canvas covered. And I can only think of one bead and cove strip built model that was canvas covered during that time period.

The typical "Take-Along" canvas covered boats were not bead and cove strip planked. They used carvel planking which was very thin, maybe 3/16 inch. The planking was also much wider than the typical bead and cove strip hull.

Almost all bead and cove strip hull boats were meant to be painted. Stain and varnish was only available on the Deluxe and Super Deluxe and Thomboy models. The typical row and motor boats were intended to be painted. I have seen a few of these where an owner has stripped the paint and then sanded and varnished. They don't look very good in my opinion. The screw holes were filled with a white putty (probably white lead) and for you to make it look right, you'd have to dig out all that putty and refill with a stainable filler.

Just my opinion.


PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2011 5:06 am
by W Guy
Thanks for the advice and history. Nearly every old Thompson row boat I see seems to have a canvas covered hull, so for some reason they seem to be the ones that survived the best.
I would like to find something like this one but NOT at that price and NOT with canvas. :roll:

I may change my mind about the paint vs natural wood, but I do like the natural look, possibly even with the screw holes showing. I guess it's time that I finally ordered the CD :D

PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2011 9:39 am
by LancerBoy
That's a very nice boat on the Baltimore craigs listy. It is a model 240 Take-Along which is canvased covered. It is not bead and cove strip construction.

Looks just like one I restored and then sold a few years ago. Wish I had kept it!


PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2011 3:04 pm
by W Guy
OK, I just ordered the Thompson CD set. Soon I will know the differences (and years offered) between the strip built, TVT, canvas, etc, etc, etc models. It will also be neat to see if they list the options available on my '60 Sea Coaster.
( and I won't have to ask so many dumb questions.................)

Verne :)

PostPosted: Sat Apr 23, 2011 12:47 pm
by W Guy
Well, I received my CD, shipped very fast by the way. It's been an education. The Rowboat section is separate from the TVT section and I noticed that the row boats (after sometime) mention optional spray rails, then finally mention they were standard equipment. The TVT section seems to show the type of boat I'm looking for. They have the "V" hull design with a keel and all have the spray rails. It seems that the models that have the varnished mahogany sides also have the long bow deck which I'd rather not have.
I also found out that the Thomboy was the deluxe version of a Sea Coaster. Lots of fancy appointments. Maybe they should have called it the "Playboy"................ :roll: