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During World War II, the Grumman Corporation was the largest builder of carrier-based fighter aircraft in the United States. As the war ended, the company sought alternative markets for its aluminum fabrication infrastructure. Grumman aluminum canoes, constructed of the same lightweight stretched aluminum as the Grumman Wildcat fighter, revolutionized the canoe industry. The stretched aluminum process permanently forms the curves of bow, stern and sides while retaining material strength and rigidity. A staple of summer camps and fishing rentals for over 60 years, Grumman's 17-foot double-ender is considered the most recognizable aluminum canoe in America.
The Grumman 17-foot double-ender standard-keel version is made of .060 aircraft-grade aluminum in the deck caps and .080 aluminum in the stern caps and hand-riveted with T-6 alumilite rivets. It is available with die-cut aluminum ribs and either .040-inch or .050-inch hull thickness. The shallow-draft version, designed for whitewater paddling in rock-bottom rivers, is reinforced with seven ribs and a .050-inch-thick hull.
All versions of the 17-foot double-ender are rated for a 660-pound maximum weight capacity of persons and a maximum total capacity (persons and gear) of 755 pounds.
In both standard-keel and shallow-draft configuration, the beam measures 36 and 1/8 inches at its widest span, and the canoe's center depth is 13 and 1/8 inches. Weight of the standard-keel version is 66 pounds with .040-inch hull thickness and 75 pounds with a .050-inch hull. The shallow-draft version weighs 81 pounds.
With the optional side-mount motor bracket, the 17-foot double-ender may be fitted with an electric trolling or gasoline-powered outboard motor up to a maximum of 5 horsepower.
Gus Stephens has written about aviation, automotive and home technology for 15 years. His articles have appeared in major print outlets such as "Popular Mechanics" and "Invention & Technology." Along the way, Gus earned a Bachelor of Arts in communications. If it flies, drives or just sits on your desk and blinks, he's probably fixed it.