Decks and Trim for 1934 Yankee


Trout Bum
Benson informs me that the old Yankee form is now making 16' OTCA Canoes at Old Town, and I started thinking (dangerous, I know) that if this was an OTCA in 1934 it might have had long decks. The decks are shot and need replaced one way or the other.

My plans for this boat are to float down the rivers of northern Michigan chasing trout alone or with a companion. Some of the rivers, like the Black in NE Michigan can be pretty shallow at times and you need to get out and pull the canoe over the rocky flats. Sometimes the rivers are really running fast, and sometimes I'm out until the wee small hours of the morning, having fished the Hexegenia hatch all night. These instances all require grabbing the canoe and hauling it either downstream or out of the water in a not really genteel way.

Would long decks be a bother on a working canoe like this? Would I be better with short decks and short grab handle thwarts? Or are the long decks good handles, and provide semi-protected places to stash stuff out of the way?

Does anyone here have an opinion?:rolleyes:
I'll 'bite'

Just returned from a trip on Trophy Waters where a two foot Brown trout grabbed my Brown Drake and then let go. All other fish were small. I think Short decks are better for that business. the canoe needs to be light and heavy at the same time. The weight saved on small decks can be spent on stonger canoe where it counts. Half ribs or heavy canvas.
Too bad about the big brown, but that's in their job description.

I floated from Conners to McMasters Bridge a week ago and the water was as high as I've seen it, but the guys I was with said it was down a foot from several days before. There were new trees in the water and the river was FAST! We were in 2 AuSable Guide Boats and the guides had all that they could do to keep the bow pointed downstream and the dry side up.

Would heavy canvas really be a plus? I like the idea of lighter weight. Canoe has a floor rack so I don't think half ribs are in the plan, but they do look good and won't fall out if I should ever flip. Stuff can't fall under them either, can it? Damn, more decisions to make! And I still haven't picked the paint color!
Benson informs me that the old Yankee form is now making 16' OTCA Canoes at Old Town, and I started thinking (dangerous, I know) that if this was an OTCA in 1934 it might have had long decks.

But when they retired the old Otca form and renamed the Yankee form as Otca, they also stopped using long decks on the Otca model.
I knew that. I was saying IF they had labeled it an OTCA in 1934 then it might have had....

Oh, never mind. It's not a fancy canoe anyway.
The short answer is that it's your canoe and with all due respect, it is not particularly rare so do what you like with it. My experience is that most canoe damage happens on dry land so a lighter canoe will usually suffer less than a heavy one. Dry bags will offer much better protection for your stuff than a few extra inches of deck. A 1934 Otca would have had the longer decks but it would also have been slightly narrower. Let us know what you decide.

Don't worry, I'm not offended a bit. I was just thinkin' out loud.

I think it's going to have short cherry decks with the older cut-out pattern, and a grab handle like Chestnut used in oak like the original thwarts, and spruce, ash, or cherry rails depending on what I can find that looks good and has good straight grain. It'll be a Jeep Cherokee of a canoe.

I'll find an AA grade OTCA from the long deck era after I get this one done.

Then I need a Trapper.

And a Prospector in 16', and an 18' - 20' guide.

Maybe a fancy pleasure canoe or two.

A double ended rowing canoe would be nice.

And I really like Bill Miller's canoes.

And an all wood Peterborough (longitutdinal strip).

It's gotta be cheaper than collecting cars or fancy shotguns, right?:D
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It's also cheaper than owning horses...

... and the collection is easier to house than, say, an Airstream Trailer collection.

Yes, mostly they get hurt out of the water. Gil had Dacron that was the real strong stuff. I put it on an 18'er. It's lighter than No. 8 and tougher. It's not as easy to put on as canvas but it's not impossible.

You can check the river levels online. Start at Rusty's site and you'll find the link. I watched the levels drop for a week before my trip last Friday and it was still way high and fast. Three people died there this spring. Livery customers. btw, the canoeists I saw included what looked like the pope, gold necklace and big gold cross. Sitting high on the bow of a plastic/rubber raft, presiding over a boatload of youngins. No one wearing pfd's. the liveries have them sign off and then shove off. Most have no idea what to do in a canoe. It's like me renting an airplane.
Yesterday I got the rib stock (thanks for the cedar, Denis!) , spruce in-wales and cherry decks cut to size, planed, and ready for being turned into canoe parts thanks to Gary Willoughby. What a set-up, a boat shop on the banks of the AuSable River's Holy Water!

I roughed out the decks on my band saw and will finish to final size today, then boil & bend them.

The in-wales are going into a pond for a bit and then will get steamed and clamped under the existing in the boat. The last foot is gone from my existing in-wales. Anybody care to offer a width for the tips at the ends? I can start the taper to match the originals, but don't know what dimension to taper to. And I want to cut the taper on the in-board side, correct?

I located some clear 17.8' cherry for gunnels. Can I bend this on the boat as well, or will I need to build a jig?

I'll post some pictures tonight of progress.