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First restoration worthy?

Discussion in 'Research and History' started by slobber, Apr 7, 2019.

  1. slobber

    slobber Curious about Wooden Canoes




    Hello everyone! A friend of mine has offered me a new canoe, well a new project for me. It would be my first canoe restoration and it has me excited. I don’t know what the boat is or have any information other than these few pictures. That is what brought me to this awesome forum, I can not figure out what exactly it is.

    So my questions are pretty simple, what do you think it is?? I could have the boat in my possession this week, so I would have measurements and hopefully some markings.

    My concern, however; is that this boat is not worth it... that feels wrong to say. Is there such a thing as boat that is not worth the time? Something that was never built well in the first place?

    Thank you for your thoughts and hopefully some knowledge!
     
  2. OP
    OP
    slobber

    slobber Curious about Wooden Canoes

    A few more pictures
     

    Attached Files:

  3. Michael Grace

    Michael Grace Lifetime Member

    Your friend's canoe appears to be very restoration-worthy! It looks like a 17'-long Old Town from the WWII era. The photos don't provide much detail but it will probably need a significant restoration to make it structurally sound and water-worthy. But that's doable. If you enjoy woodworking and wood finishing, a wooden canoe is a real treat and a great learning experience, plus you'll end up with a gorgeous wooden canoe that you'll love paddling and that will make you proud. If you don't want to take it on yourself, there are canoe restorers scattered everywhere who do excellent work (http://wcha.org/builders-and-suppliers-directory).

    You've already found the best website for wooden canoes. Join the WCHA as a member and you'll also get the beautiful and informative magazine, Wooden Canoe, six times per year. It's filled with inspirational stories of canoeing, canoe building and restoration, history and more. Join here:

    http://wcha.org/membership

    For more information on restoration, first get more photos and post them here. These forums contain tons of great information and lots of knowledgeable people willing to help. The WCHA store (http://wcha.org/store) provides the best books on the subject including:

    The Wood & Canvas Canoe: A Complete Guide to its History, Construction, Restoration and Maintenance, by Stelmok & Thurlow
    This Old Canoe: How to Restore Your Wood-Canvas Canoe, by Mike Elliott

    Look through the store - there are lots more great books, and you can even get a period-correct reproduction Old Town decal for the deck of your restored canoe!
     
  4. mccloud

    mccloud Wooden Canoe Maniac

    The canoe appears to be in decent shape, but if the gunwale has been in contact with moist ground for a long time I would be concerned about rot in it. It's not difficult to replace the outwales, but the inwales are a different matter. While typing this, Michael's message popped up and I agree with him. Hard to see but the decks look something like Old Towns and the slat seats suggest a WW2 build. If so, then look for the serial number stamped into both stems on the inside, which will be 6 digits between 130,000 - 140,000. Post those numbers here and someone will look up the build record. Tom McCloud
     
  5. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

  6. OP
    OP
    slobber

    slobber Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Thank you for all of the help! I am more excited than ever to work on this old fella.

    I will be picking it up over the weekend, that will give me the week to set up shop in the garage and build some slings.

    I don’t know much about it’s previous life. My friend rescued it from going in the trash after an estate sale, then it has been how you see it in the pictures for the past five years. We’ll see how it looks with some light on it!

    Thank you again, this forum is great!
     
  7. OP
    OP
    slobber

    slobber Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Finally got this beauty home! The tips are much worse than I had hoped but exactly as you guys thought. It sure is beautiful and I am looking forward to fixing everything.

    The serial numbers are VERY faint but we will be working towards pulling them out over the weekend. Do the detailed pictures help continue the ID?
     

    Attached Files:

  8. OP
    OP
    slobber

    slobber Curious about Wooden Canoes

    More pictures!

    Do you think this is canvas or a fiberglass mesh?
     

    Attached Files:

  9. Dan Miller

    Dan Miller cranky canoeist Staff Member

    It's fiberglass.
     
  10. OP
    OP
    slobber

    slobber Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Scrubbed it up today, I was amazed to see a serial number!!!.....108421 if I am reading it right. Can it be?

    Stripping it will surely bring it out more but the pictures do show it quite well.
     

    Attached Files:

  11. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    Congratulations, the Old Town canoe with serial number 108421 is a 17 foot long, CS (Common Sense or middle) grade, HW (Heavy Water) model with red western cedar planking, open spruce gunwales, birch decks, birch thwarts, birch seats, and a keel. It was built between December, 1930 and July, 1931. The original exterior paint color was dark green. It shipped on August 19th, 1931 to Denmark, Maine. A scan of this build record can be found by following the link at the attached thumbnail image below.

    108421.jpg

    This scan and several hundred thousand more were created with substantial grants from the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association (WCHA) and others. A description of the project to preserve these records is available at http://www.wcha.org/catalogs/old-town/records/ if you want more details. I hope that you will donate, join or renew your membership to the WCHA so that services like this can continue. See http://www.wcha.org/about-wcha to learn more about the WCHA and http://www.wcha.org/store/membership to join.

    It is also possible that you could have another number or manufacturer if this description doesn't match your canoe. The Cobb Camps in Denmark and Bridgton are now known as Wyonegonic and Winona. This will be the location the Maine Canoe Symposium in a few weeks. See http://www.mainecanoesymposium.org/ for more details. Feel free to reply here if you have any other questions. Good luck with the restoration,

    Benson
     
  12. OP
    OP
    slobber

    slobber Curious about Wooden Canoes

    That is amazing! Tracking the history and finding the serial number has been so much fun! We just finished up looking at the camps and all of their history. Trying to piece it all together is really enjoyable.

    I wonder how many canoes those camps ended up buying over the years. And with so many boats, I bet parts may have been swapped over time for repairs.

    Could that explain why this boat had slat seats? And was this originally canvas?

    Thank you for posting the record!
     
  13. Greg Nolan

    Greg Nolan enthusiast

    Fiberglass was not used on canoes back in the 1930s -- DuPont developed the first glass fabric/plastic material in this country in 1936, and it was not used commercially on canoes until sometime after WWII. Your canoe was originally covered with canvas.
     
  14. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    Wooden canoes with a fiberglass covering were first listed in the 1967 Old Town catalog so this one had canvas originally as Greg mentioned. Wooden canoes in a summer camp fleet get used hard. Cane seats need to be replaced frequently and parts are often swapped. It is also possible that someone simply got tired of replacing cane seats and put in slat ones to make their job easier.

    Summer camps were significant buyers in the wooden canoe business but it would not be easy to determine exactly how many canoes any one camp purchased. See https://www.wcha.org/forums/index.php?threads/3309/ and https://www.wcha.org/forums/index.php?threads/99/ for some other examples of similar Cobb canoes. You would need to individually search each of the build records to find them all. These records are available from http://www.wcha.org/store/old-town-canoe-company-build-record-archive-2-dvd-set if you want to pursue this.

    Benson
     

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