Build Record Request

John Greer

LOVES Wooden Canoes
Looking for info on the following OT. Serial number
171 304 18
Canoe in excellent shape only in need of new canvas and belongs to a friend of my son's.
The Old Town canoe with serial number 171304 is an 18 foot long Otca model with a keel. It was built between August and September, 1961. The original exterior paint color was red (although this may have been painted over dark green). It shipped on September 20th, 1961 to Jacksonville, Florida. This canoe may have traveled a lot. The back side of the card shows that a copy of this build record was sent to New Hampshire in May of 1981. Scans showing both sides of this build record can be found by following the links at the attached thumbnail images below.

These scans were created with substantial grants from the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association (WCHA) and others as you probably know well. A description of the project to preserve these records is available at if you want more details. I hope that you will join or contribute to the WCHA so that services like this can continue. See to learn more about the WCHA and to join.

It is also possible that you could have another number or manufacturer if this description doesn't match your canoe. Feel free to reply here if you have any other questions. Good luck recanvasing.



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This is the first time I have ever seen the notation on the back of the build slip of a request for a copy.

It brings me to ask: are we annotating our on-line records when a request is made? Could we? Should we?
The short answer is no, I am not "annotating our on-line records when a request is made." This forum provides some record of the recent requests but we lost a lot in the crash last Fall. Over 793 serial number request messages were posted between April 2, 2001 and July 24, 2004 and some were for many canoes. I have copies of any electronic mail requests that I have answered and a seperate folder with the serial numbers and research dates of nearly 800 build records that I have looked up since March of 2001.

I don't feel that we need to be annotating these records but this is a topic that might be worth discussing.

In the "ideas are cheap, implementation however..." department let me pose a question in followup to the curmudgeons post.

Could we further our knowledge of the lineage of wooden canoes by tracking requests on individual boats? For instance, in John's case, we learned that the canoe was shipped to Florida, but 20 years later, the owner (and presumably the canoe) was in New Hampshire. Now, 25 years after that, we know at least that John Greer knows it's current location.

Is this info useful to us?

(I bet this is gonna cost me dearly when Dan M and Benson extract their revenge! - OK, 1st round on me.)

OK, my two cents... With information already in hand about who requested info for a S/N, etc. this could easily be put into a database but that would only be the tip of the iceberg. I have noticed that for all the ones who request a S/N, only very few of them ever followup with what they did with their canoe, did they restore it? did they sell it? where is it now? There would have to be a commitiment by all wooden canoe owners to inform WCHA of all changes is condition, location, ownership, etc. for all the data to be entered and worthwhile. The administrators would get stuck with the work. Maybe a fee for service arrangement! If there was a small charge when people request info, only those truely interested would reply and maybe we would have a good chance of getting updated information. WCHA could earn money and become the warehouse for information on all remaining wooden canoes. It sure would be nice but, what about servers, etc. I guess it sounds neat until you look into what would be involved and who would have to do the work. It's too bad that only the wooden canoe owners would really care. If there were really interest, I would offer to help with MS Access as the dBase... CYA
MikeCav said:
Is this info useful to us?

Certainly a new owner of an old wooden canoe might like to know the lineage of their canoe. The study of wooden canoe migration patterns might be an interesting academic thesis topic but I expect that most people would not care.

The implementation question raises a whole new set of issues. The WCHA kept a database listing the members' canoes between February, 1990 and September, 1997. It has not been updated in years because most people didn't want to send in the information about their canoes. There was very little interest in keeping the information current as the people and canoes moved around. I suspect that a canoe lineage database would suffer a similar fate.

However, if anyone wants to take on a project like this then I am willing to help...

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Ignoring the work/effort it would take to collect/track request info,

on couple OT's I have, previous info requests were documented on the back, and it was interesting to note the history and in one case, that the previous owner had it for at least 25 years before I got it.

I'm not sure it's worth the effort though to do this on all requests the site gets.

Interesting discussion but I was only interested in the origin of the canoe since it belongs to a friend of my son's and he said it had been in the family for several years and wants me to recanvas. For what it's worth the canoe is located in Missoula, Montana so looks like it traveled from Maine - Florida - New Hampshire, and at least Montana.
Too bad the canoes themselves couldnt tell us their stories and travels.Some would be very interesting others not so,but to us all... facsinating.
dboles said:
Too bad the canoes themselves couldnt tell us their stories and travels.Some would be very interesting others not so,but to us all... facsinating.

How true! I made finding out as much as possible about this canoe a part of the restoration project -- It gave me something to do for a break when I was getting dizzy from the paint stripper fumes and needed a break.

"Mabel" had a pretty pedestrian life, but finding out about her took me into contacting a lot of new friends and aquaintances as well as picking up some really interesting history of the area. It was a fun part of the project. And I like knowing more about her history when we go for paddles together in her renewed state.

I am still looking for confirmation of her owner(s) and activity during the first ten years of her working life (1920 - 1930). Have attached the notes for anyone who might be curious.


Morley Pinsent


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