1960 old town OCTA question?


Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes
Just wondering what kind of wood this canoe has on the gunwale and ribs and planking ? Also ...Iam refinishing the inside wood with Ephines (sp) ...Question....is it necessary to sand between coats ? And last...do the cane seats get a coat of Ephines...or leave them alone .thank You for any help
The Otca generally should have ribs of white cedar and planking of red cedar.

Epifanes makes a variety of different varnishes (https://www.epifanes.com/page/clear-finishes), and they are excellent. Their traditional Epifanes Clear Varnish requires light sanding between coats, although they also make products that can be re-coated without sanding. Sanding is a pain on a ribbed canoe, but it is important for best adhesion, it helps level the finish if done properly, and it makes it easier to see where you need to apply varnish on the net coat. Best is to follow the directions on the can. Sanding should be light, with nothing coarser than 220 grit; 320 is even better. After building up some coats - maybe 5 or 6 depending on how thick you apply them, you can sand more aggressively with 220 backed up by something firm in order to level the varnish before applying more coats. This will get you a very nice finish.

There is a lot of great information about Epifanes varnishes and their application here:


Seat frames should certainly be varnished, but people differ on whether cane should varnished or left unvarnished. I've never seen a definitive answer to this question. You can search these forums and read about the supposed pros and cons of each approach.

Hope this helps,
Thanks ! Some where ..I was told ,mahogany was used on the outer gunwale...it looks a little purple ?
See http://www.wcha.org/catalogs/old-town/specifications.jpg for the specifications from a 1962 catalog. More information like this is available from http://www.wcha.org/store/complete-old-town-canoe-company-catalog-collection if you want additional details.

Varnish and cane seats were the subject of a long running debate in a previous version of this forum. The Old Town Canoe Company did not traditionally varnish cane. Some restorers insist that cane must be varnished, others varnish only the top side. I don't know of anyone who has ever done a detailed analysis of the results over time to see what works best. This seems like another case of "It's your canoe so do what you like."

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Could anyone tell me the original color of my Old Town 16 foot OCTA.....# 170 363 16 .....thanks