16 foot old town


New Member
I have a 16 foot old town canoe (the last owner believed it to be an old town)... I have a few photos attached if that helps in identifing it. Oh, and I have a partial serial number...i believe it is the last 3 digits, but Im not sure.... partial serial # 579


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Was the keel removed and placed inside the canoe, or is that a keelson? Except for the war canoes, Old Towns don't have a keelson. Your decks have an Old Townish ogee shape, but thwarts are different and outwales don't look quite Old Town to me-- Old Town open gunwales have a "huskier" look (just my impression-- those of you who have actually reproduced them could answer this with greater authority).

Old Town serial numbers appear on both stems. Some of the other canoe companies put the numbers on the stem too, but often only the bow or the stern. Getting only the last three numbers doesn't help much, when it comes to Old Town... there'd be thousands and thousands of numbers to pick through... and the task would be similar to spinning straw into gold.

Over the years, there have been lots of good suggestions offered here in Forums for visualizing the digits in serial numbers. Here are a few that come to my mind:

(Remember to compare numbers on BOTH stems)

Carefully scrape off surface paint/varnish, or use paint stripper to reveal numbers

Wet the area

Do a rubbing: Place paper over numbers and go over the paper with chalk, crayon, pencil or whatever

Take a picture with a digital camera and post the picture in Forums

Here are a couple of thrilling videos which show the process of finding the serial number and looking up the build record:



Good luck finding more digits--- others should chime-in with their thoughts about your interesting canoe.

Your canoe may only have those three digits for a serial number, and if so, that's another factor against it being an Old Town. It appears to be a top-grade, mahogany trimmed canoe. The half-ribs were an added feature the customer would have requested, no matter who built the canoe.

Just wanted you to know it's a nice find, and you certainly shouldn't be disappointed even if the original build-information isn't available. If you're planning to restore her yourself, there are many in this group who will provide support and advice.