Aspen or Spruce ribs in Old Town HW?

Canoe Junkie

Lunatic Fringe Canoeist
First post here.
I received the build sheet from OT for my 1921 HW # 67304. Next to "planking" on the sheet are the words "Aspen Spruce" My thoughts were that OT used only cedar for ribs, so since there is no place on the sheet for ribs, can one assume they are one of these woods or is it actually cedar?
 
Welcome, the build record for the Old Town serial number 67304 appears to have "Open Spruce" written on the planking line as shown in the attachment below. My guess is that this is a clerical error since that phrase is usually written on the next line down to indicate that the canoe has open spruce gunwales. The ribs are typically white cedar and the planking is usually red western cedar as described at http://www.wcha.org/catalogs/old-town/specific.gif from a period catalog. The image at http://forums.wcha.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=11403&d=1278023924 shows a more typical example of a build record from this era. Can you tell what woods were used to build each of these parts in your canoe and if it has open gunwales?

Benson
 

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See attached pic. The gunwales are open, but the outwales do not "appear" to be ash as described in the record nor does the deck or thwarts. they will likely be replaced anyway. The inwales appear to be similar in grain/color as the ribs.
 

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The person filling out the build record form is one line off-- the gunwales are spruce (inwales and outwales)-- the decks, thwarts, and seat frames are ash. So-- ribs are cedar, inwales and outwales are spruce, and decks/thwarts/seats are ash (unless they have been replaced at some point).

Kathy
 
Thanks for the replies. As for replacing the gunwales, I see only the following gunwales available: GUIDE, MOLITOR, OTCA, TRAPPER or STRAIGHT. The model is an HW, so what would be the correct gunwale?
 
Others here with on-hands restoration experience will chime-in, but in general the restoration of a canoe usually involves re-making the parts you are replacing. The HW model was discontinued in the early 1950s. You may find that you can use the old outwale as a template for making the new outwale. Or, you could order a straight wale of appropriate length and steam it and clamp it to the inwale and it will take the appropriate shape.

An advantage of these forums is that even if an old part is completely missing, someone in the group could send you enough information to re-create the new part.

If you are considering replacement of decks, please understand that the new Old Town decks are different from the old ones and you might be able to splice-in a replacement for a damaged area.
 
As for replacing the gunwales, I see only the following gunwales available: GUIDE, MOLITOR, OTCA, TRAPPER or STRAIGHT. The model is an HW, so what would be the correct gunwale?

The Otca gunwale would be the closest one for your HW. However, most old wooden canoes have changed shape over time so a straight gunwale that has been steamed and bent to match the exact curves of your canoe will give you the best results as Kathy mentioned. A separate form with some extra curve to compensate for the 'spring back' would be even better.

Benson
 
another thought

Many times inwales that have just the tips rotted away can have new tips spliced in. You get to keep more of the original canoe that way. Same thing for decks, like Kathy mentioned.
 
Thanks for all your replies.
One more question, now that Dave mentioned it. Speaking of rotting tips... if a rib is intact, but the ends rotted away, do folks still splice in a new end, or are you replacing the whole rib?
 
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