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Old Town 88807 17ft

Discussion in 'Serial Number Search' started by Keith Mille, Aug 7, 2010.

  1. yeolwoodsman

    yeolwoodsman Rolf Warncke

    Any thoughts on the dimensions that I included? My daughter also did a little photoshop on the photo to check the numbers by overlaying one on the other. The second two numbers had matching lower loops while the first is distinctly different. The build record for 38307 was attached earlier in the thread but is not a match to what I'm seeing on the boat.

    I was wondering what the heat gun and scraper would do. This stem is quite "dry rotted" It will need to be completely replaced so more damage is not a big deal, but the number on this stem is better than the front stem, and I'm guessing that the heat gun and scraper may very well wipe the stem out.

    Thanks again!
  2. Denis M. Kallery

    Denis M. Kallery Passed Away July 3, 2012 In Memoriam

    A light touch could make the numbers stand out almost as if you were doing a tombstone rubbing. But remember a LIGHT touch just to remove the old varnish and other stuff from the surface. Perhaps even using a single edge razor blade.
    LIGHT touch!
  3. Kathryn Klos

    Kathryn Klos squirrel whisperer

    The 17' HW model is 34" wide and 13" deep, according to Old Town catalogs-- and the 17' CR model is 34" wide and 12" deep.

    It has long been said that catalog measurements should be taken with a grain of salt, especially after 90 years. Seems the canoe fits the Charles River model best though.

  4. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    The heat gun will soften the varnish & paint & other finishes that made their way to the canoe, but as Denis said, use a LIGHT touch with the scraper or razor blade. Work for just little bits at a time...

    With the rot there, I wonder if just sanding by hand might even be a better idea? It would be slower, but gentler. Anybody have thoughts on that?
  5. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    I would take a piece of white chalk or a crayon and rub over the numbers.
    Then wipe off the excess and see what comes up.
    The rub is a good way to get a better idea of what you have without removing varnish or wood.
    It works on tombstones and timing marks and equally well on canoe stems.

    This one is tough.
    I looked through this thread last night after I saw the photo's and was surprised
    that every combination of numbers that I thought might be have already been tried.
  6. OP
    Keith Mille

    Keith Mille New Member

    More History of OT Serial #38307(?)

    Hi Everyone!

    Wow, thanks for all the input to helping figure out the puzzel of the serial numbers on this.

    I have some good news to add to the discussion - I was successful in getting back in touch with the former owner. Key points from him are: 1) he is 'pretty sure' that he had installed the diamond head bolts (that probably would have been during the late 1950s); 2) he had made other modifications in years past; and 3) he does not know the history of the canoe prior to 1955 (his father picked it up (wood and canvas at the time), at a cost of $50.00, in the Port Jervis NY area, in 1955).

    Also recall the letter from 1984, which references Serial #38307 (see post #3 in this thread). Since unfortunately I had to store the canoe outside under canvas and tarps for the last 20 years, presumably the serial numbers would have been more legible in 1984 - so I think we should be giving more weight to the 1984 interpretation. Also, since the consensus above from the photo interpretation also seems to point towards #38307, and since we now know that the diamond head bolts are not original to the canoe, maybe #38307 is truly accurate? Maybe the wood decks, etc could have been changed in the past?

    Pasted below are the stories from Dick Lund, the guy who owned the canoe from 1955 until the 1980s, just prior to the time when I received it. Dick has given me the o.k. to re-post his stories here to share with all. I thought these stories would be fun to share with everyone, as each of these canoes has their own unique heritage. Regardless of the serial number, there is some colorful wooden canoe history with this canoe!



    August 31, 2010

    Hello Keith!

    Yes I remember you.

    Well, well. You have resurfaced! It’s great to hear that you are gainfully employed in the biology area. I’m truly amazed that you still have that canoe! It has been a long time, and many details are fuzzy or lost, but I’ll reconstruct what can be dredged up.

    My father picked up that canoe (wood and canvas at the time) for me, at a cost of $50.00, in the Port Jervis NY area, in 1955. Nothing was known about its previous history. I was in between sophomore and junior years of high school at the time. Dad had opened a pet shop in Port Jervis, and my folks had bought a lot along the Delaware River about a mile or so below Milford, PA. To make an anchor for the canoe I dug a lot of bullets out of the State Police practice range (below the new bridge to NJ), and melted them over the campfire to pour the melt around a bent iron strap. With a good rope, it worked very well.

    At the end of July of that year, I managed to persuade two of my friends from Brooklyn to come up and camp with me at Milford. They had never been camping, and their parental units were difficult to persuade. Our 4-person tent was pitched on the second terrace above the river level, about 27-30 feet above normal summer water level. Dad slept in the car, two terraces higher up.

    It rained. In fact a hurricane, Carol I believe, went over New England and us, and the river rose about 6 feet. So, being careful, I wrapped the anchor through the roots of a large black birch at the lower edge of the first terrace.

    It rained some more. Hurricane Diane went more or less right over us, to the tune of 11 inches of rain that day. We all felt that it just had to be a beautiful day coming up, for a change. At some time during the night, the rain stopped, but I woke up to the sound of lapping water. Thinking the ditches were full around the tent, I lifted one edge to push the water out. A sheet of water stretched out, level with my eye, and the bright moonlight shone across it. The water rose on my hand as I figured out that we had a bit of a flood and it was rising fast. After we salvaged friends, cat, and whatever else could be salvaged, our thoughts turned to the canoe. The extreme tip of the stern was sticking out of the water, held by the anchor and rope. Dad then tied a rope around my waist and I dug/swam my way through the muddy debris-laden water, tied the rope to the seat support, and pulled my way back. Dad then went out along the rope, cut the anchor rope, and we pulled the canoe to safety. Full of mud, sticks and leaves but intact. And it was a beautiful sunny day, so we watched trees, houses, and canoes going down the floodwaters. We even salvaged an old Coca-Cola cooler from the flood that held a warm six-pack of Rheingold beer. It was the only drinkable fluid for miles around, and was my first beer.

    Incidentally, what really woke me up were the thousands of Daddy-Long-Legs and crickets climbing up to the inside top of the tent to escape the flood. I still have a warm spot in my heart for them.

    At some time or another I fitted the canoe with a sail-seat and mast step, and had lots of fun with a hand made square sail. I did recanvas the canoe at a later time. It was painted in the spring on a weekend, and when I returned the next weekend found that the Aspens had all shed their cottony flowers into the fresh paint, leaving a fuzzy canoe. When it was redone, it bore two large eyes on the bow, following a very old maritime tradition. A few years later, I decided to fiberglass the canoe, perhaps not a very smart idea but it was durable. I am pretty sure that I had to replace some fasteners with those diamond-headed ones then. By this time the canoe was showing serious signs of wear and tear, with a broken gunwale and wood rot on the stem and stern peaks, and a broken plank. A neighbor made a stainless steel splint for the gunwale, which of course also trapped moisture. One problem was that the canoe was always stored over the winter under a tarp since we had no indoor facilities to hold it.

    So, I went off to college, and my folks eventually were bought out by the agency that assembled the Delaware National Recreation area. Realizing that I had no place to keep, store, or use the canoe, I gave it to JVT.

    It would be wonderful if you actually got it restored, or rebuilt. It holds many, many, happy memories for me.
    Good luck and have fun.


    P.S. And what led up to the mast step and square-rigged sail, made out of old parachute nylon? Us teenagers wanted to try to rig a sail on the canoe. So we went into the woods, and found a healthy sized green sapling hickory. We rigged it with a crossbar made from the thinner part of the sapling, strung an old rubberized poncho on the contraption, and.. One steered while the other kneeled in the bottom, holding up the mast! This was wonderful, until a crosswind hit. Overboard went the mast and my friend, and me, but the canoe (one of these old time broad freight carrying canoes) just popped back up without shipping a drop of water. I never could tip that canoe over.

    Richard Lund
    Research Associate,
    St. Joseph's University
    Carnegie Museum of Natural History

    co-PI, The Bear Gulch Project
  7. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    This is just grand! Thank you for posting it!
  8. Kathryn Klos

    Kathryn Klos squirrel whisperer

    Wonderful story-- proving once again that there is soooo much to a wooden canoe-- they arefilled with memories.

    I'm still voting for 38307. Changing a canoe from closed gunwales to open is also something that sometimes happens to a canoe over the years. You may never know for certain, but this was the record that fit the best.


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