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new guy, old canoe

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by tadaio, Nov 21, 2011.

  1. tadaio

    tadaio dreamerwithapenny

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    Folks, I'm pretty sure I fouled up the pic posting thing, but if not here are some pics of my 'free' canoe (insert chuckle here). I've got quite a bit of experience with wood and other materials, a shop, and tools. I've also got a boat in way worse shape than I'd thought now that it's getting a practical eye instead of a passing glance. I'm in the learning stage right now without even having picked up a tool. It appears I have an OTCA but I have no clue if there were different models or of it's date of manf. It's been worked on before I think as the thoroughly rotten stems have no ser.# and sure look like Oak to me. Planking is 3 7/8" wide if that's any clue (?)
    It's got 11 broken ribs, decks are shot, outwales are shot, inwales can be scarfed, 1 missing thwart and plenty of cracked and broken planking.
    I think my first question regards the planking which has gaps from shrinkage (no doubt) that range up to 1/8 wide. Unless there's a filling process for this ailment I may well have a 'Parts boat' on hand here. :-(
    At any rate, a hello to all, hopefully my pics are attached, and if so I'm looking forward to hearing your collective thoughts on this beleagered boat.
    Thanks in advance, Fred
  2. Dan Miller

    Dan Miller cranky canoeist Staff Member

    Hi Fred,

    The gaps between planks is a non-issue. Happens to lots of canvas-covered canoes, and since it all gets covered with canvas in the end the gaps are inconsequential - you don't do anything about them. Beyond getting the blue paint off (and it looks like its peeling well so might strip out ok?) the rest is straight-forward.

    Welcome to the Support Group from Hell!

  3. yeolwoodsman

    yeolwoodsman Rolf Warncke

    "I may well have a 'Parts boat' on hand here. :-(". Sure is a parts boat, but with a few new parts added in and a generous helping of time and hate to say it $ it should be a beauty. If it truly is a parts boat then all I have here at my house other than the one I've restored are parts boats. And I plan on getting them all floating again!

    Seriously, it looks to me like a great project, not an easy one, but if it was easy it wouldn't be so satisfying! You have started down the road to a serious addiction...welcome to the club! Best of luck on the project. Can't wait for pictures!

  4. jdm6593

    jdm6593 Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    Welcome Fred.

    You would do well to have "Building the Maine Guide Canoe" and "The Wood and Canvas Canoe", both by Stelmok (also Rollin Thurlow on the 2nd), the standard bibles. For your situation, the reprint of an old Woodenboat magazine article "Rebuilding the Wood and Canvas Canoe" by Jerry Stelmok is brief and very to the point. It should put your worries to rest. It is available as a pdf download or a much easier on the eyes version is sold by WCHA store (a very good deal). Have fun!

    It does look like an OTCA to me, but I don't know much about it. You might start an ID thread in the "Serial Number Search" forum, even though you don't have one.
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2011
  5. OP

    tadaio dreamerwithapenny

    Dan and Rolf, Thanks for your responses. The 'non-problem' re: the gaps in the planking has all the earmarks of a mixed blessing. I though I might get out of this project with a good excuse! The lovely blue paint (yak!) seems to want to let go pretty well. What you see in the pics was just what I blew loose with an air hose. The guy made a point to paint every nook and cranny but skipped over the prep part, bless his heart.
    The entourage that hangs out here at my barn offer encouragement as you both do, but always seem to subtly imply that I'm an idiot. Of course that makes me want to show'm that I can bloody well fix this canoe. 'Guess that makes me an idiot and a sucker. I'm feeling more qualified already ! (chuckle)
    Joking aside, I'm going to be having questions for the "Support Group from Hell" as this thing goes on. Bear with me on the rudimentary stuff if you would please. It's been my experience that the folks on forums like this one can save a body the agony of re-inventing someone else's wheel.
    Cheers, Fred
  6. OP

    tadaio dreamerwithapenny

    Joe, thank you! I will look into Maine Guide Canoe and W&C Canoe. I have not one but three copies of Stelmok's 'Rebuilding' article, given me by the fellow who gave me the canoe. One is here by the computer, one in the shop, and the other on the nightstand. It really is a great, concise article. And while I'm leery enough to know it takes a few iterations to gain confidence, his instructions most certainly give you the sense that the whole process just might be doable. Thanks again for the tip ! Cheers, Fred
  7. JClearwater

    JClearwater Wooden Canoe Maniac

    We are practically neighbors, I'm in Cornwall. I'll send you a private message.

    Jim C.
  8. OP

    tadaio dreamerwithapenny

    Dan, I visited your site this AM...., nice! 'Helpful too. It appears, using your identification feature (decks) that I have a 1960's OTCA. Thank you! How this boat accrued so much neglect and damage in such a short period of time speaks of a short harsh life.

    p.s. I'm stripping out my rotten stems at this moment and they are of oak. I have a nice piece of hickory on hand and wondered if that might not make for a suitable replacement wood ? I know it's tough and bendable but not sure about it's resistance to rot. 'Your thoughts ? thanks.... Fred
  9. Jan Bloom

    Jan Bloom LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Hickory is not rot resistant. Possibly even less so than Ash and Ash is not very rot resistant but is easy bending as is Oak. White Oak not Red Oak. Go with either Ash or White Oak.
  10. Dave Wermuth

    Dave Wermuth Who hid my paddle?

    I'd give it a try. Nothing to lose. I tried elm once and really liked it.
  11. Dan Miller

    Dan Miller cranky canoeist Staff Member

    Hickory has no rot resistance, but then neither does ash, which is widely used for canoe stems. Hickory is our hardest and most dense hardwood, so you may have trouble with fasteners.
  12. OP

    tadaio dreamerwithapenny

    Actually I can get ash easily so maybe I'll just go with that to keep things standard so to speak. What did Old Town and others use traditionally, ash?
    Also,as luck would have it not one but two guy's showed up here today and both have white cedar on hand. Thanks Jan and Dave.
  13. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

  14. OP

    tadaio dreamerwithapenny

    Thank you gents, for all the info. And of course more question re: wood.
    A: If using the ash for stems would it be helpful to coat with a preservative/sealer before installing? I do have a small bit of the old 'pre green' Thompson's sealer on hand that will accept oil based finishes.
    B: What are the ideal woods for use on outwales, thwart, and keel ?
    I have sources here close by for just about any native woods (a close friend is a NYS cert. arborist and tree sevice) plus access to a sawmill. I'm thinking that if I can ID what I need I can get stock roughed and racked for a bit while dealing with the paint stripping. That's the tentative thought anyway.
    Your thoughts ? Cheers, Fred
  15. Dan Miller

    Dan Miller cranky canoeist Staff Member

    If you want to stay true to Old Town, the outwales would be spruce (CS Grade) or Mahogany (AA Grade). Late model canoes had spruce innners and mahogany outers. Keel would be ash. Thwarts would depend on grade - AA grade would be mahogany and CS grade native hardwoods (birch, ash, etc.)

    If you don't care about what Old Town used, you have a lot of options: gunwales can be spruce, ash, black cherry, white oak, black walnut, etc. Thwarts can be any hardwood, and keel ash or white oak.
  16. OP

    tadaio dreamerwithapenny

    Thank you Dan, As I'd mentioned before, your sites ID feature says the deck is the 1960's version so I'll go back out and strip the thwart and outer to see what I have there. Fred
  17. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    Actually, that deck shape first appeared on page 11 of the 1950 catalog for the Yankee model and has also been found on the 1949 canoe shown below so your canoe could be a few years earlier. The serial number would be required to get the exact build date. The thwarts, decks, and seats were usually all made from the same type of wood so matching the thwart is a good plan. Good luck with the rest of the repairs,


    Attached Files:

  18. OP

    tadaio dreamerwithapenny

    Benson thank you, I have ash for the thwart, decks and seats. Outwales and inwales are cedar. So now you've all helped me with my materials list for which I'm most grateful. My next investigation while I continue to strip blue paint will be to locate the chap responsible for the blue paint. Once found I fully intend to burn his house, sell his children into slavery, violate his woman, shoot his dog, and disembowel him.
    I no doubt shouldn't say such things but it's pretty much all I think about whilst scraping. 'sorry......... Fred
  19. Dan Miller

    Dan Miller cranky canoeist Staff Member

    You meant to say spruce, right? Cedar was not and is not used for gunwales as it is not strong enough.
  20. OP

    tadaio dreamerwithapenny

    I did indeed mean spruce. Thanks for catching that !

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