'26 OCTA Project

Andrew W

Curious about Wooden Canoes
I picked up a 1926 Old Town OCTA AA (87236-17) last September, and am planning to start working on it soon. This will be my first project, and with all the excitement also comes some worry due to the poor condition.

I'll be posting updates in this thread.

As for the history of the canoe; it was found abandoned in a New Jersey canal in the early 80s, restored in '82, was in the process of being restored in the late 90s, then hung in a barn for close to 20 years where it landed in my hands. Below are some pictures of the condition I got it in. I've got a lot of work ahead!

Remarkably, the caned seats are in near perfect condition with the diamond head bolts. The biggest challenge I'm expecting is the fact that all of the ribs on both ends are split at the stem. The outwales were missing and will be need to be made from scratch. So far I've counted 22 ribs that will need to be replaced (until I remove some planking and find more), though some may be able to be patched as I've seen others on here do.


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And so it begins.. post up images as you go.
The issue of the cracked ribs at the stem is probably not a serious as it looks. Believe it or not, they probably did not look and awful lot different than that when they came off of the form. That tight bend over the stem almost always cracks those. How badly they crack depends upon how shaped the stem was, how aggressively the ribs were bent and also how long it took for them to get used after being pulled from the steamer. You can probably use them as is by just tacking them in place and laying in a bit of G-Flex. That could save you some work.
Andrew W

Andrew W

Curious about Wooden Canoes
Spent the morning cleaning the canoe with some teak cleaner (Starbrite Teak Cleaner/Brightener Step 1 to be specific). I'm pleased with the results. I do have the Step 2 Teak Oil, but not sure if I'll use it on the ribs. I tried it out on a broken rib that I know will be replaced and it seems to dark. The mahogany deck however... I'd assume this is all preference, since the canoe will be varnished anyways.
Andrew W

Andrew W

Curious about Wooden Canoes
I must say that bending new ribs has been easier than I anticipated. These were soaked for 48 hours, then steamed for about 30 minutes. Towards the end of the canoe, I bent the new ribs 1-over from where they'll be placed. In the center, I bent them 3 ribs over. This was done using a single Rockler Steam Generator.

I'm not exactly sure how to proceed with the stems. They are both slightly twisted, and the ribs are no longer even. Any recommendations?


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