1922 OT Ideal Canoe "whats left to do?'


Curious about Wooden Canoes
I'm new to wood and canvas canoes but i couldn't help but to purchase this 1922 old town at a garage sale, i bought it from a lady who's husband was very into fixing it up, he replaced a lot of ribs and planking, basically I'm wondering what has to be done to it, i know it needs to be canvased and stained but what about sanding or some type of prepping to the outside of the canoe any help would be greatly appreciated as i am a rookie in this subject.





whats left to do?'

You'll want a copy of this book, available right here at the WCHA online store:


It's commonly regarded as the "Bible" of W/C canoe building, repair, & restoration. With that in hand, you'll be able to figure out exactly where the previous owner was in the process, and pick up from there.

Post questions here, and more pictures, too! You'll get no shortage of great advice.
You'll probably need advice regarding the re-creation of the canoe's long mahogany decks. It appears that your canoe also needs outwales.

If you've never caned seats before, the instructions for the 7-step method can be found on line as well as places that sell the materials. I use H.H. Perkins Co., but there are other sources.

Do you have a copy of the canoe's original build record? Do you want one, if you don't have one?

I've attached the image of the ideal from the 1922 Old Town catalog, courtesy "The Complete Old Town Canoe Campany Catalog Collection, 1901- 1993", available on CD from http://www.wcha.org/catalog/ and http://www.dragonflycanoe.com/cdrom.htm on the web.

It will be gorgeous!



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It is difficult to see the deck structures in your pictures. Do you think someone added the long decks or was it done by Old Town? You might post the serial number and get the build record as Kathyrn suggests to see if it mentions special decks.

You will probably want more shapely thwarts.

The work so far looks pretty good.

I have a 1914 Ideal. It has short decks. It seems like a fast canoe to me. If you need dimensions of something or other details, just shout.


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i would love a build record the serial number is 71475 16', and i have the book in hand and will be reading threw it shortly,

Fitz, I'm not sure what you mean by long decks, and i agree the thwarts i have are pretty boring, i was thinking of also putting in a yoke, do you think the thwarts are original ?

Thanks for all the help!
a special order canoe

Old Town 71475 is a 16 foot AA grade (top grade-- but the Ideals were all this grade) Ideal model canoe. (The Ideal is an AA grade Charles River model, with open gunwales and half ribs.) Your canoe has red Western cedar planking. It originally had 30" mahogany decks, and I will post a picture of what that maybe looked like, as opposed to the "short deck" style.

Thwarts and seat frames on your canoe were also mahogany-- AA grade has mahogany gunwales, thwarts, and seat frames.

Your canoe also had a keel and outside stems. The outside stems consist of a piece of hardwood, shaped to fit the curve of the bow and stern. This not only defines the edge of the canoe but protects it from bumping into docks, other canoes and old snags in the river. There was a recent discussion of Old Town OSS and I'll find that link so you can see what they look like.

Original color and design were the same as the 1923 catalog cover. I'll post that, and you can decide which of the two designs they meant... but my guess is the one in the foreground as the other would have been easier to describe as a particular Old Town design in green with black stripe. That's just my guess, however... and you can paint the canoe whatever you want, just as the original owner did. Image of the 1923 cover is courtesy "The Complete Old Town Canoe Company Catalog Collection, 1901- 1993", available on CD from http://www.wcha.org/catalog/ and http://www.dragonflycanoe.com/cdrom.htm on the web.

The canoe was originally shipped February 5, 1923, to Rochester, New York.

I'm re-posting some pictures of Benson's, showing an Old Town long deck and an Old Town short deck, so you can see the difference. The long decks on an Ideal were a special order. If you're finishing the restoration yourself, someone here may point you to the mahogany you'll need and how to accomplish the task.

The original thwarts would have been "shaplier" than the ones made by the gentleman who began this restoration. If you choose to make them more like the original, someone with thwarts the age of those in your canoe can send you a tracing. (This is a very helpful bunch!)

The scan of this record is attached below-- click on it to get a larger image. This scan and several hundred thousand others 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 and anyone else reading this will join or renew membership in 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 renew.

It is also possible that you could have another number or manufacturer if this description doesn't match your canoe. Feel free to reply here if you have any other questions.



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I notice that the previous owner filled in the old tack holes with some type of filler, what should i use?



tack holes

I guess I will bite. You probably don't need to worry about filling the tack holes. There is a chance any filler might loosen later and end up as a bump in the canvas. I often find putty of some kind filling dings on Chestnut canoes, but I can't really see where it was worth the effort. Plus if you fill all the tack holes, how is the next restorer 100 years from now going to find the tacks to replace a rib or two?!

You can try and use some hot water on the hammer blossoms and dings to swell them out of the cedar.

Your canoe likely had No. 8 canvas on it and unless you put something really light on for canvas or dacron, you probably won't see these dings through the fabric.

I don't have a very good photo of the thwarts in my Ideal, but I have attached one. It looks to me that your previous owner may have bought the mahogany for the thwarts and temporarily installed them, but didn't get around to shaping them. It is hard to say from the photos.

If the face of the stems are highly chewed up from tacks, you could fill the holes with some epoxy thickened with wood flour.


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