First canoe 1918 old town wood canvas

Old town 1918

New Member
Hello everyone. Just picked up my first canoe and according to the serial numbers it’s a old town charles river model delivered to Portland Oregon in 1918 because iam a newbie lol thought I better find a website with some wisdom so here iam no real questions yet just wanted to get in the loop I will try to post some pics


  • BE2C0797-A6D0-4C0F-932E-8F3E29E528D6.png
    1.6 MB · Views: 417
  • 191D6C2A-3ED4-4937-B2E3-3B9C90C4240F.png
    1.3 MB · Views: 476
  • 0E357EC8-F71D-4D8D-8E2E-25E4F0FB1E36.png
    1.5 MB · Views: 445
  • 959A1F0D-DA7A-4E8C-8771-317344253AAD.png
    1.6 MB · Views: 423
  • 9A6163DD-E6D1-4112-BD3D-C598DB4DDB53.png
    1.4 MB · Views: 414
I would probably use something like 320 grit. The idea is to sand just enough to improve the grip of the fresh varnish. Resist the urge to use a power sander. Hand sanding gives you better control and allows you to spot sand more effectively. You want to use a very high quality marine spar varnish for good UV protection. Do not use a polyurethane product. I prefer Epifanes over other brands but I would also recommend Captains Spar as an alternative. You should plan to put two or more coats on. Lightly sand between coats.
You might need to get some inside the hull and also on the decks.
Are you near salt water? It looks like you have salt blooms surround the clinched tacks. Salt water corrodes/destroys the brass tacks these hulls were planked with. Hopefully that is superficial damage and not structural. When they are really badly corroded the fix is re-tacking the hull....a very time consuming and unpleasant job that is done when the canvas is off. To avoid more salt damage, try to avoid more ocean paddling and make sure to do the best you can to rinse out the boat and dry it if you do. The varnish will help somewhat but the real problem is water between the planking and the canvas...
Thank you so much for the information iam in Oregon not on the coast but purchased this canoe from a guy in Bremerton WA had been sorted in doors unused for 35-40 years was at an estate sale find. That’s about all I know the guy I got it from was retired wood boat builder who loved wood water craft but getting up in years so wanted to pass it on thanks again for the great information