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New Old Town Canoe Restoration!

Discussion in 'Research and History' started by Cygarrett, Apr 27, 2020.

  1. Cygarrett

    Cygarrett New Member


    I just purchased I believe a 1948 Old Town Canoe, but do not know anything else about it. I was hoping someone on here could help assist me with the details as I begin the restoration process. Thank you!

    SN# H-24409

    Attached Files:

  2. Dave Osborn

    Dave Osborn LIFE MEMBER

    First off, I don’t think you have an Old Town. I’m guessing Chestnut or Peterborough. Someone will help narrow it down to the correct builder and model. More photos may help.
    In addition to the great folks on the forum for helping you through issues and suggestions on restoration. The search option is your friend. There are a lot of archived threads that contain answers to your questions, or feel free to post the question.
    I would get one or both of these books.
    This Old Canoe by Mike Elliot
    The Wood Canvas Canoe by Jerry Stelmok and Rollin Thurlow
    Both give you step by step instructions on wood canvas canoe restoration.
  3. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    I agree with Dave that it looks more like a Canadian canoe than an Old Town. Old Town canoe serial numbers are all numeric and the charts at indicate that one from 1948 should have a serial number closer to 150,000. Can you provide some pictures of the serial numbers and surrounding areas from the insides stems on both ends? Thanks,

  4. OP

    Cygarrett New Member

    Thank you for the update. I'm honestly am not sure what type it is. I know that the title that came with is states that its an Old Town. I did get a better look at the SN. The one posed on the interior bow reads # 1492 then there's a space followed by 7949. Im not sure if its supposed to be one solid # 14927949. Its hard to tell if the very last digit is an 8 or a 9. Hoping to determine what type of wood it was made out so I can try and match it. I do also have the book, This old Canoe, I appreciate the info tho Dave.

    Thank you for the help everyone!

    Attached Files:

  5. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    My guess is that you have a Peterborough Champlain model #1492 with serial number 7949. These were listed in their catalogs with this model number from 1943 to 1958. See for more details. The thread at shows a previous request about this canoe and shows another similar example. There are no known serial number records for Peterborough so there isn't much more that anyone here can tell you. Sorry,

    Last edited: Apr 28, 2020
  6. OP

    Cygarrett New Member

    Thank you for the information, I appreciate it!
  7. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    There was another non-Old Town canoe that showed up here recently with an Ohio title, stating it was an Old Town. I wonder if the Ohio DNR folks simply assumed all wooden canoes were Old Towns. Or possibly, they had to put SOMEthing in that form, and that's all they knew... would be interesting, in somebody's alleged "spare time," to look more deeply into this, but then all we'd probably get would be copies of some titles with odd serial numbers... without the canoes, there's not much to go on. Like I said, "spare time..."
  8. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    The trick with research like this is finding someone who will respond to your request. I contacted the Illinois IDNR's Watercraft Registration / Title Office in 2009 to see if I could get an electronic copy of their database showing the manufacturer (i.e. Old Town Canoe Company or other), and serial number of each canoe that is or has ever been registered in Illinois (without paying the $5 fee for a copy of each individual title record). My goal was to use this information to determine how many wooden canoes still exist since the Old Town database project could provide some reasonably accurate estimates of how many canoes were originally shipped to Illinois. I was told that an Illinois Freedom of Information Act (5 ILCS 140) request form was required but no one would provide any more details about how to proceed.

    I would still be interested in doing the analysis if anyone can get the data from Illinois, Ohio, or any other state. Many states don't require canoes to be registered unless they are used with a motor so that tends to skew the results. Thanks,

    Last edited: Apr 29, 2020
  9. Andy Hutyera

    Andy Hutyera The Red Canoe Guy

    Here's a photo of what you have acquired. It's a low end Champlain and a darn nice canoe. This is one that looked a lot like yours when I acquired it. It is a great canoe for your first rebuild. Enjoy the journey and keep us posted. BTW if you are in the Cleveland area there is a great group there, CABBS, the Cleveland Amateur Boating and Boatbuilding Society. I can give you contact info if you send me a pm. There will definitely be some folks in your area who could give you valuable info such as where to get good canoe wood. DSC_0899.jpeg
  10. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    Illinois used to require registration for all canoes, but has since changed that to only if you put a motor or sail on it. I still maintain the registration on my canoes, even though I have neither motor nor sail, because I know of three lost or stolen canoes or kayaks that were returned to their rightful owners, because they had registered the boats... though I may be the only one in the state who still does this. We found a canoe in the river here last summer, and the first thing the Forest Preserve Ranger wanted to know was whether there was an Illinois sticker on it... there wasn't, but he still called in the HIN, and no previous owner had ever registered the canoe. Would have been a 4th one returned... It was a chopped fiberglass junker, just 12' long, in any case.

    All that said, I know some folks who might know how to play the IL FOI game... let me check.
    Benson Gray likes this.

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