books on restoration

Book to use

"The Wood & Canvas Canoe by Jerry Stelmok and Rollin Thurlow.
Don't do anything on the canoe until youl have read at least 3/4 of the book or you will waste a lot of time backing up in the process of restoration. And if you are new to restoration reread it before you start, the second time through it makes a lot more sense. Good luck and have fun, and whatever you do, do not set a deadline for completion, it can only lead to disaster.
Some people also mention Building the Maine Guide Canoe and the book about Joe Seliga as being useful. Follow the link Dan gave to the online storem and browse. Once you get going it is worth spending some time going through the archives of these forums. I've printed out enough topics to fill a binder and that is now my 3rd "bible". By the way you will also see the authors of those books, and other professionals contributing to these forums.
Although I have been a wood worker for a long time there were things that I just didn't feel comfortable trying on my own. So after reading all the above suggested books I sought out a professional that was willing to teach me. The hands on experience I got with her and her tips and suggestions were invaluable. I know there are several experienced canoe restorers out there that are willing to teach. Also there are classes taught at various wooden boat schools. Perhaps some of the folks on this forum can give you more information on who and where. You don't mention where you are from but there are canoe restorers and builders all over. Just another suggestion! Look on the Builders and Suppliers list for WCHA. Best of Luck, Denis
Ps. My teacher was Pam Wedd , Wcha board member who lives in Parry Sound Ont. Canada
In addition to Denis' suggestion to look for a workshop and/or mentor (which is a very good idea, btw), another suggestion is to hook up with one of the Local Area Chapters ( If there is a chapter nearby to where you live, you may be able to participate in a demo project, which some chapters do regularly. You may also want to come to our annual Assembly ( - there is a whole tent (or two) devoted to construction and repair. It's a great place to learn.

If you are inclined to take a class or workshop, there will be a list published in the April issue of Wooden Canoe. Many WCHA members (myself included) will be teaching restoration classes over the next year.

Go to the mountain

The bible is the book from Rollin and Jerry. If it's not in there, you probably don't need to know it.

If you want hands on training, Rollin and Jerry both offer classes in their shops. Bring your project boat to Maine and they will teach you how to repair it.

I can't imagine a better experience than working in Rollins shop. He and his staff are damned good (they have done an incredible number of new and old boats) but they never make you feel like you don't fit in (well almost).
I presume there are other builders that are also willing to share their knowledge.