Help support the WCHA Forums by making a tax-deductible donation!

Wood canoe newby and first purchase

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by craigr, Jul 16, 2020.

  1. craigr

    craigr Curious about Wooden Canoes

    I just purchased my first wooden canoe off CL, the seller did not know the maker. Any ideas? Is it fiberglass over canvas? It is peeling do I reglass it or will that ruin the value?
  2. OP

    craigr Curious about Wooden Canoes

    I loaded the pics in the examples file
  3. Wrothgar

    Wrothgar Curious about Wooden Canoes

    I can't see the pictures.
  4. OP

    craigr Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Here are some of the pics the serial number I found was 17- 16696, posted a serial number search. Thinking Old Town
  5. OP

    craigr Curious about Wooden Canoes

  6. Dave Osborn

    Dave Osborn LIFE MEMBER

    Congrats. You have a canvas covered canoe, which is good news!
    Looks like it needs new canvas. When the current canvas is removed, that is the time to make any repairs that need to be done.
  7. johnmetts

    johnmetts Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    Craig, Beautiful canoe!

    You are in the right place for information and help refinishing your canoe. I had never restored a canoe before and I am not (NOT) a craftsman. The great folks on this site helped me restore a 1915 wood canvas canoe. 27 broken ribs to steam bend and replace. About a 1/8 of the planking to replace. No canvas. It was painted red, inside and out from end to end. I read Jerry Stelmok's & Rollin Thurlow's books, Mike Elliot's book, and I got a lot of kind advice from everyone here. There are lots of good videos out there too (Orca Boats does nice vids) I made a lot of mistakes but it came out pretty good. I did my second one last year and have been paddling it all summer. Like Dave Osborn says, it looks like your canoe just needs a new hide of canvas, filler and paint and maybe some minor repairs. Have fun. There is nothing like paddling a W/C canoe. It is even better when you have restored it.

  8. Greg Nolan

    Greg Nolan enthusiast

    That's a nice canoe you have.

    When considering any mainitenance/restoration work, whether you plan to do it yourself or to hire a professional, there are three good sources of information about canoe restoration that you would do well to get, or at least look at, before making any decision about how to repair or restore your canoe:

    The Wood and Canvas Canoe: A Complete Guide to its History, Construction, Restoration, and Maintenance by Rollin Thurlow and Jerry Stelmok

    Building the Maine Guide Canoe by Jerry Stelmok

    This Old Canoe: How To Restore Your Wood-Canvas Canoe, by Mike Elliott

    The first is often called the "bible" of canoe repair, restoration, and maintenance; the second is an excellent study of the wooden/canvas canoe and its construction. The third is the most recently published and has been well received.

    Of course, you can always ask questions here on the forums.

    You might also want to look at The Old Town Canoe Company by Susan Audette and David Baker, a great history of the Old Town company and its canoes.

    These books are all available from the WCHA store, often on eBay, or from Amazon.

    It's hard to tell with certainty from your pictures, but it looks like your canoe could use new varnish on the interior and gunwales, new canvas and paint, and some wood repair.

    The varnish looks worn and worn out in your pictures -- stripping before new varnish is probably called for. Varnish is not just an aesthic issue -- it protects the wood from wear and abrasion, and at least as important, varnish protects against the wood being degraded by the sun's ultra-violet light. Ordinary varnish/polyurethane will not do the job -- marine varnish with UV inhibitors, though a bit expensive, is what is needed.

    The best time to revarnish is when the old canvas is removed for replacement. It is also the time to do any wood repairs -- and at a minimum you have one cracked deck showing in your picutres, and there may be more wood issues.

    You are lucky that you don't seem to have fiberglass, which is difficult and unpleasant to remove. The chipped/cracked paint shown in you picture indicates just a canvas cover, and if that picture is representative of the general condition of the hull, a replacement canvas with new filler and paint is called for. Replacing canvas is an ordinary maintenance item, like replaceing tires on a car -- and it is pretty certain that the canvas on your canow is a replacement, maybe the 2d or 3d. A new canvas cover should last 20-40 years (sometimes even longer, depending on use and storage).

    If the pictured damage is only a small, isolalted spot, it could be repaired without replacing the entire canvas -- but I would guess not.

    Your canoe is more than 100 years old; with proper care, it's easily got another 100 years in it. Good luck with it.
  9. Dave Wermuth

    Dave Wermuth Who hid my paddle?

    Lovely canoe. Lots of good folks in the Michigan chapter and the U.P. Mi. chapter that could be helpful resources in your resto.
  10. Dave Osborn

    Dave Osborn LIFE MEMBER

    I sent you a PM a few weeks ago....

Share This Page