60's old town

I just bought a 60's OT 15 feet long. It came with a full sailing rig. Generally it is in good shape but I have a few questions.

There have been a few repairs, looks like fiberglass affecting 4 ribs and 4 planks. The rear stem appears to be bent probably as a result of something hitting the rudder. The wood also seems very dry and brittle. In places if you slide your fingers over the canvas it will create a a little roll or wrinkle.

My questions are is their a problem using the canoe as is? Does the loose canvas mean it needs to be replaced and is why parts of the canoe feel sturder than other? What can I do to make the wood less brittle?

Thanks for your help.
I have not personally done a lot of canoe repairs so hopefully someone else can offer more expert answers. These are very subjective questions so I would encourage you to find some other old wooden canoes for comparison. There is probably no problem using your canoe as it is.

Dacron was originally covering your canoe as described at http://forums.wcha.org/showthread.php?t=799 on the build record. This is much less stiff than filled canvas and may appear to be relatively loose in places. It probably does not need to be replaced if it is not disfigured or leaking badly.

The fabric covering your canoe is not likely to be the source of your sturdiness concerns. Wooden canoes are designed to be somewhat flexible. Causes for concern would be noticeably loose fastenings or wood that is rotten or broken.

The thread at http://forums.wcha.org/showthread.php?t=812 has some good information about canoes that feel brittle. The usual solution is to apply a coat of thinned linseed oil to the hull when you replace the fabric exterior with Dacron or canvas.

Feel free to post some pictures or more specific questions if you are still unsure.