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Paddling Club Canoe

Discussion in 'Research and History' started by Roger Kontak, Jun 20, 2021.

  1. Roger Kontak

    Roger Kontak Curious about Wooden Canoes

    My local paddling club (not WCHA) received a donation of a wood canvas canoe. Without supporting evidence, it was purported to be a 1910 Old Town. The club plans to sell the canoe to raise money for operations so I am trying to support that effort. I must admit that it does not appear to hold much value and isn't likely that vintage. There is no serial number evident on the canoe. The outwales have a distinctive cap connecting them over the tip of both stems as seen in these pictures. I would like to know if anyone is familiar with this feature to help shed light on this canoe and whether this is an original feature or a customization made during restoration.

    Thanks, Roger Club Canoe 3.jpg Club Canoe 1.jpg
     
  2. Michael Grace

    Michael Grace Lifetime Member

    Hi Roger.

    It doesn’t look like an Old Town. At a glance it does, but so many things are different. The deck cutout is somewhat crudely done (asymmetric), the painter ring is similar to Old Town but certainly not the same as what was their norm, the metal bits on the ribs next to the stem, the bits at the top of each rib, the round-headed screws in the outwales... None of these are characteristic of OT.

    It’s possible that someone modified it during restoration, but it looks like a fairly recent build in it doesn’t look like it has been restored. Another possibility is that it is a home build that was modeled after or intended to be similar to OT. More photos of other parts (seats, thwarts, other deck, etc.) might help. Hmmmm...

    Wish I could tell you more. Maybe someone else will have some other ideas for you.

    Michael
     
  3. OP
    OP
    Roger Kontak

    Roger Kontak Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Thanks Michael. Your assessment confirms my suspicions. An individual associated with the club apparently did restore the canoe about 20 years ago. The restorer has passed away so information is sketchy. It looks like the restoration may have changed a number of things. You had a sharp eye to notice the metal reinforcement on the rib ends. Quite a few of these can be found throughout the canoe including on the bottom of each cant rib. Additionally, several ribs are misaligned with one another suggesting issues during replacement. I was focusing on asking about the cap over the tip of the stem since it seems to be such an odd feature. Again, I suspect that it is a customization done by the restorer but don't have enough background to know if this is the case. Your insights are helpful. I will try to go back in the next day or so to get pictures of the seats and thwarts to see if they shed any light. The other deck is quite similar and both appear to have been replaced. Given its condition and lack of serial number (looks like the canvas needs to be replaced due to cracking and chipping paint), it isn't worth extensive research unless something shows it to be an unusual find.
    Thanks again and happy paddling.

    Roger
     
  4. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    Have you checked the base of the stems for serial numbers? It's possible the stems were replaced, and they would have nothing, but it's a thought, anyway.
     
  5. OP
    OP
    Roger Kontak

    Roger Kontak Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Yes, I've checked the stems for serial numbers. The stems may have been replaced.

    Here are pictures of a seat and one of the thwarts.



    Club Canoe 4.JPG Club Canoe 5.JPG
     
  6. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    Hard to tell from the pictures, but are the ribs tapered toward the ends, at all? I'm thinking Home-Built, much more recent than 1910, but trying to emulate some Old Town Characteristics, such as the deck cutout... The interior wood surfaces don't appear to be aged over 100 years. Pictures can be deceiving, and other opinions are welcome, of course!
     
  7. Dan Lindberg

    Dan Lindberg Ex Wood Hoarder

    Ribs and planking look a bit narrow for an OT.
     
  8. OP
    OP
    Roger Kontak

    Roger Kontak Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Thanks Paul and Dan for the input. I agree that the wood does not appear anywhere near that old. The ribs do have some taper. I think that this could be a case of calling any canvas canoe an old town and a fair possibility that it is a home build made to look like one.

    Dan, I still have the Thompson in the lineup for restoration but have moved it back in the line. I hope to focus on a Kennebec during the winter this year and also looking at building a Cheemaun on a borrowed form. Hope we can connect sometime before long.

    Roger
     
  9. Dan Lindberg

    Dan Lindberg Ex Wood Hoarder

    Roger,
    Ya, it's amazing how that "line" keeps getting longer.

    Dan
     

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