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Old Town Canoe Info Requested

Discussion in 'Serial Number Search' started by ChrisM, Jul 7, 2016.

  1. ChrisM

    ChrisM Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Serial # 42180. It originally belonged to my Grandfather and has been sitting in the boathouse unused for many years. I believe it was built in 1916.

    I would like to restore this boat. Any recommendations on videos, online info, tips or sites would be appreciated. The canoe is white in color now (I think it was repainted); I wonder what the original color might have been.

    I have some experience building wood strip canoes with fiberglass, but have not worked on a canvas boat.
     
  2. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    The Old Town canoe with serial number 42180 is a 17 foot long, CS (common sense or middle) grade, HW (Heavy Water) model with red western cedar planking, open spruce gunwales, ash decks, ash thwarts, ash seats, and a keel. It was built between March and June, 1916. The original exterior paint color was dark red. It shipped on June 19th, 1916 to Kalamazoo, Michigan. A scan of this build record can be found by following the link at the attached thumbnail image below.

    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/ot_records/ if you want more details. I hope that you will join or renew your membership to the WCHA so that services like this can continue. See http://www.wcha.org/wcha/ to learn more about the WCHA and http://www.wcha.org/join.php to join.

    It is also possible that you could have another number or manufacturer if this description doesn't match your canoe. This forum is a tremendous resource for restoration questions. The books at http://store.wcha.org/Books/ are also good. The ones at http://store.wcha.org/The-Wood-and-Canvas-Canoe.html and http://store.wcha.org/This-Old-Canoe-by-Mike-Elliott.html are particularly suited to your needs. Feel free to reply here if you have any other questions.

    Benson
     

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    ChrisM

    ChrisM Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Benson-Thanks much for your prompt response and good information. I will post additional questions as the project progresses.
    -Chris Mann
     
  4. Kathryn Klos

    Kathryn Klos squirrel whisperer

    If you are in Michigan, you should know that there is a very active chapter of the WCHA in Lower MI and also in Upper MI. One good way to learn canoe restoration is to become involved in a local chapter-- or at least connect with WCHA members near you, who could lend you a hand. Here in Forums, we can provide advice and cheer you on, but the in-person-stuff is hard to beat--- especially since you couldn't find a nicer group of people.

    There's a list of the chapters and contact information on the main page of this website. Some chapters also have a Facebook page.

    Also, the 4th annual Upper Great Lakes Regional Assembly will take place August 19-21 in Marquette.

    A book you might find helpful in the restoration of your canoe is "The Wood and Canvas Canoe" by Stelmok and Thurlow--- available in the WCHA online store. It's considered "the bible of wood-canvas canoe restoration".

    It's wonderful that you have a family canoe to restore! We love pictures-- feel free to post. Do you have any of your grandfather in the canoe?

    Kathy
     
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    ChrisM

    ChrisM Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Thank you Kathy. I live in Rockford, IL (90 miles west of Chicago). I appreciate the information.

    I recently scanned some old glass negatives taken by my great grandfather on Browns Lake, WI (SE Wi) which is where the canoe was. These photos were from 1900-1908, so the canoe is not in them. My grandfather's family was from Chicago and stayed at Browns Lake in the summer. They owned a drydock on Goose Island in Chicago where they built and repaired wooden ships. There are many wooden sailboats and paddling boats in the pictures. Here's a link to those photos: https:/flic.kr/s/aHskpZGx8w

    -Chris
     
  6. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    Hi Chris,
    It would be helpful if you could describe the type of repairs/restoration that your canoe needs. That would help us to point you at specific reading/video materials that you could study. A few pictures of condition issues would also be helpful.
    For example, do you need to recanvas, are there broken ribs and planking to replace, are the gunwales (rails) serviceable or do they need to be replaced, is there stem/deck/rail rot to contend with etc.
    Mike
     
  7. Kathryn Klos

    Kathryn Klos squirrel whisperer

    You're in the Great Rivers Chapter area. They host a get together in the fall at Jag Lake in Wisconsin that is great fun and lots of opportunity to get restoration advice.

    The editor of Wooden Canoe, Dan Miller, is always looking for old pictures with canoes in them to publish on the inside of the back cover of journal issues. Please consider sharing your great grandfather's pictures.

    Kathy
     
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    ChrisM

    ChrisM Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Hi Mike,
    The boat needs to be recanvassed. There is some rot on the gunwales near bow. Thwarts and ribs appear to be good. I will send some photos when we are about to start the project.
    Thanks.
    -Chris
     
  9. Greg Nolan

    Greg Nolan enthusiast

    Before making any decision about how to repair or restore your canoe, you would do well to get, or at least look at -- "The Wood and Canvas Canoe: A Complete Guide to its History, Construction, Restoration, and Maintenance" by Rollin Thurlow and Jerry Stelmok, and/or "Building the Maine Guide Canoe" by Jerry Stelmok.

    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.

    There is now a new book to consider -- just recently published, so I am not personally familiar with it -- but it has gotten some good reviews -- This Old Canoe: How To Restore Your Wood-Canvas Canoe, by Mike Elliott, also carried by the WCHA online store.

    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 are available from the WCHA store, are often on eBay, or from Amazon.
     
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    ChrisM

    ChrisM Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Thanks for the info Greg. I put an order in yesterday for the first book you mentioned. I will also look for the one on the Old Town Canoe Company.
    -Chris
     
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    ChrisM

    ChrisM Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Great Rivers Chapter

    Thanks Kathy. I will send Dan some photos. Also will look into attending the Jag Lake get together.
    -Chris
     
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    ChrisM

    ChrisM Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Hi Mike,
    Here's a link to some photos of the canoe I wish to restore: https://flic.kr/s/aHskBFzwvY
    It needs new seats, some woodwork in bow and stern, and new canvas & paint. I will re-varnish the thwarts also. It must have been recannvased at some point. The white spots on the side of the wood look like repairs done them. The canoe was painted white, which is not the original red color from Old Town.
    Do you have suggestions on how to refinish the inside ribs and planking?
    I have watched the Orca Boats video on recanvasing. They used mastik as a filler. Is there a special brand? Or something else that you'd recommend?
    Overall this canoe seems pretty solid and I think it will be a fun project.
    -Chris
     

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