Free$$ Canoe

But it appears to be a sponson canoe... double screw holes every other rib and carry handle at bow... maybe a different serial number?
I went and checked

I did a rubbing, used a magnifying glass, and wet the numbers a little, and it still is a 88694 17.
This poor old canoe has had so many modifications I wouldn't be surprised to find things added. The carry handle has diamond headed carriage bolts, but the seats and thwart have round heads, one end cut off so now it's a square stern 13 footer.
What is the Heavy Water designation? Is that the sponsons?
I can't see enough of the ribs to know if the double holes run full length, so, could they be mounting holes for seats that might have been added?

With that said, I sorta have a mate to this canoe, except that mine came from OT that way. It's 14' squareback, that "appears" to be a cut down 18' Guide. Mike's correct, this back end doesn't look at all like mine, as mine has significantly more wood there. It also has a keelson that I don't see in this one. And I believe the seats in mine are hung on stringer attached to the ribs, not from the rails.

more info

Dan, the double holes do run the length of the canoe, all the way to the mongrel square back.
The seats were not attached, but you can see the carriage bolts hanging through the gunwales where the seat frames hung from.
I know this is important to the historical aspect of this canoe, and perhaps someday it might just be restored to what it once was, but as for right now we'll do the best we can to rebuild this as we can.
I found some birch that we'll use for the deck. We'll try to do what we can to make this the best canoe we can.
Who knows what the future holds for any of us........someday we'll see.
Well that's that then.

Any thought of rebuilding the missing end?

Maybe the question is, what kind of canoe/boat do you what to end up with?

too much money

It was suggested before, but it's outside the financial resources, and scope of the Scouts I lead.

Could you sell raffle tickets... use the proceeds to rebuild the canoe and some *lucky* winner can paddle it into the sunset? Folks love projects such as this, which keep our Young People off the streets, busy learning useful tasks under the tutelage of a Wise Mentor.

Selling raffle tickets is another Useful Personal Skill.
fund raising

With Scouts, there is always an fund raising idea around the corner. And this, along with another skiff building project are thoughts along that line.

I have concerns with young, energetic boys being respectful, careful, non-destructive to an older wooden/canvas canoe for their use. I guess that's why you see composite and aluminum canoes at Scout camps.

The idea of fixing this canoe to sell is a great one.....however, knowing my Scouts.....I think, anyway, might be more prudent to first restore, then sell. Although your idea of raffle tickets to offset expense peaks my interest.

Can I throw one more idea on the fire as it were? Are there any members local to New Bedford, who can provide more expertise than myself. I am confident in my abilities to use tools next to wood, but have never undertaken a rebuild never mind a restore before. I would need someone to tell me if it's worth it in the first place, which is where this thread started.

I want to say one other thing, this site is incredible. You all have been so helpful, insightful, and without rancor.......(other than that flaming match picture) It is truly great to correspond with people who obviously take a great and warm interest in the preservation of these canoes and the craft of doing just that.

Thanks so much for ALL the help.
Dave Babcock
energetic boys and wooden canoes

Didn't know how to begin this, so I "Wikipediaed" both Camp Widjiwagan and Joe Seliga and decided to post a link to the latter.

My opinion is that kids have a sense of what is cool and special and can become awestruck to the point that they will listen and learn, and treat an awesome object with respect. Widjiwagan is a YMCA camp, and most of its canoes are still wood/canvas, I believe-- thanks to the legacy of Joe Seliga. The reason there are now some Kevlar Seligas at camp has more to do with weight than the need to be careful... and maybe that need has something to do with our children becoming too sedentary (I will descend from the soapbox now).

Denis Kallery tells a story from his ancient past, about a Scout Master who rented a fleet of Old Town wood/canvas canoes for his troop to paddle... and now, decades later, we have Denis the Canoe Restorer... because the boats were special, and that specialness can go to the core of those who are Aware.

Canoes are very cool, for many reasons. Their history is filled with adventure... beginning with all the indigenous craft, and how they were built and used.... and then, how the birch bark morphed into the wood/canvas and had to be constructed in reverse-order. I suppose some kids would be bored by this... but maybe not when they actually head into the water. Knowing you can actually build something that will float you down a river is a powerful thing.

I can imagine some dads volunteering for the project... especially those who worked on their son's Pinewood Derby car. Some dads have fancy woodworking tools and knowledge of which end of a hammer to use.

All and all--- this project seems a wonderful opportunity!
Widji has something in excess of 100-110 W/C canoes in their fleet, about 45-50 are Seliga's, the rest a mix of the other usual brands.

While Widji bought a few of Joe's canoes early on, ie, 40's and 50's, and in fact still have a few of the original 16 ft'ers in service, (likely the only place they exist) the fast majority of Widji's Seliga's are more recent buys, say 1960's and newer.

By far the largest buyer of Seliga's was Sommers Boy Scout Camp on Moose Lake. Starting in 1950, they, over the years, bought 122 Seligas, including 1 18 ft Vee back.

I don't know how large the Widji fleet is in total.






rancor (uncountable)

1. The deepest malignity or spite; deep-seated enmity or malice; inveterate hatred.

I could almost see the rancor in his eyes when he challenged me to a fight.

2. A fictitious, feral creature in the Star Wars universe.

[edit] Related terms

* rancorous
* rancorously

[edit] Translations
the deepest malignity or spite[show ▼]

* Dutch: rancune, wrok
* German: Groll
* French: rancune
* Spanish: rencor

[edit] References

* “rancor” in the Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G & C. Merriam, 1913.

[edit] Latin

[edit] Etymology

rancere + -or

[edit] Noun

rancor, rancōris f

1. a rancid stench
2. a grudge

maybe a bit strong considering in your second post you "...humbly request your honest opinions"
many a discussion here of late revolved around burn piles, just another option. Far be it from me to tell you to lighten up, I was just suggesting you light up:p
good luck with your project, from a former cub scout. Baden Powell would be proud, his brother was an early proponent of canoe sailing.
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I agree with you Kathryn

I agree that kids can be taught, and can learn to appreciate and value things that have something special, but I also don't believe it can happen overnight.

Some kids, especially those that grow up in an outdoor environment know the value, and respect the property they own......rinsing a fishing rod when done, oiling the chain on their bike, etc. Most of my Scouts don't care, nor have they been taught to take care of their stuff.
I don't know if I am fortunate or not to lead a Troop of boys with affluent I mentioned in an earlier post, there is a sense of entitlement and immediacy.........if something gets broken for whatever reason, it's no big deal, we'll just get another one.
Some of these boys had never heard the word no, until I came along.

But working on this canoe, with sweat and tears might just teach them about something of value, and to an extent, an irreplaceable can only hope.
The boys you work with are very fortunate, indeed... for reasons beyond the affluence. One can only hope they will open their eyes to you and what you (and Scouting) offer!

Best of luck with this honorable project! And keep us in the loop!

I'm confused

I've learned so much from the wise folks who post here while reading for the past year or so. This is the longest thread I've seen yet. I am intrigued.

So far I gather these facts:

--You have about 2/3 of a 1920's standard model Old Town canoe.
--It is in unusually poor shape, lacking gunwales, seats, thwarts, and an entire stern. Inwales are shot. Canvas is shot. Lots of cracked ribs.
--You need to reconstruct the missing third or it will not handle well; also, it will look like the dog's breakfast, as now.
--You are unlikely to get money from the troop for materials, which are costly: ribs, planking, gunwales, inwales, varnish, canvas, filler, paint, seats, tacks, etc. Hundreds of dollars at least.
--Ditto for tools.
--You will need to train unskilled scouts to do the labor.
--These scouts, like most their age, are not known for patience and capability for painstaking care.
--Their parents do not want them using sharp tools.

Why is this going to work?

How aobut buying a canoe that needs far less work, say, canvas, refinishing, and minor woodworking repairs, for a few hundred bucks and starting a project that is more reasonable in scope? The funds needed would be less in the end, the work woudn't take forever, and you'd have something nice afterwards.

I have a canoe similar in age to yours. I love canoeing. I was a scout. My son is a scout. I used to live in Padanaram. I did not post any humorous pictures. Stay calm.
A couple things

At first I had the idea that this was going to be a simple.....rebuild for use type deal. Which probably would've worked if the facts of this canoe had remained obscure.
For sure it's not a priceless, undiscovered antique. And just as true, it's in sad shape, and it has had more than its share of non-traditional owners and abusers, which now leave it, (and me as well) in a confusing situation.
Most of what you listed is in fact also true, other than tools......I've got too many of those, if that's possible. Although specialized forms and expertise are among the missing ones.
However, research coupled with enough time and money, I can do this. But can my Scouts? Or is it in fact, smarter to get the equivalent $200 beater canoe to let them loose on, figuratively speaking.
Choices must be made! I can effectively deal with the parents......just wish they would be here as part of the process.....but that's my problem too. They're not totally disconnected, especially when it's a adventurous thing we do. The boys with guidance will connect and become a has happened before.....briefly.
I have received responses back from some of the parents, and they want to go forward with the reuse repairs.

We are planning to take a trip out to Salmon Falls Canoes in Shelburne Falls, MA. both as informational and inspirational side activity. And I have also been offered some help from local? craftsmen and canoe nuts. We'll see what transpires, and report back......if you care to know the decision.

While a full-up "pro" restoration may cost a bunch of $$, I'd argue that you could probably "restore" it to useable condition for not a whole lot of $$, maybe $200. Look around for lumber, it doesn't take much, assuming you don't have to preplace all the wood. :)

I often get "clear" red cedar for planking cheap at Menard's, and ash (trim) is reaonably cheap. The toughest might be white cedar for ribs, but again, if you look around you should be able to find rough boards for not too much $$.

While this canoe may be in bad shape, each step of the restoration is ralatively small, just take care of one thing ast a time and don't let it overwhelm you and the kids.


Oh, and it is just an Old Town, only the most common canoe out there.
Don't worry too much about what you end up doing to it.
if you can locate an Amish sawyer you might find white cedar very reasonable.

ohhh i hope i didn't HIGHJACK this thread!:rolleyes:

If you are looking for some inspiration about working on wooden canoes with kids, take a look at the posts by "Good Cookies" a teacher in the Buffalo City schools who did a great restoration with a bunch of inner city 6th, 7th & 8th graders.

I had the pleasure of visiting his classroom - he did a wonderful job and the kids really did do most of the work. They were incredibly knowedgeable about all aspects of the work, proud of their accomplishments and still very gung-ho after almost a year of sanding, scraping, nailing etc. Was it a museum quality, professional restoration? Nope. Was it a very servicable canoe? Very much so. Did he build character along with a boat? ABSOLUTELY!

Keep plugging!
Enuf talk

I’ll tell you what I’ll do. I’ll send you a check for $50 IF 9 other WCHA members pledge to do so also and IF you get 10 of your affluent parents to contribute $50 a piece also. That will give you an even grand. In return you build, repair or restore a canoe with this troop say, by the end of August?
dump it(no pun intended)

Sometimes you have to go with your gut. Many here have restored canoes that they wish they hadnt. "Listen" to what they are saying. I've restored several canoes and they are ALL a great deal of work. You will be investing a great deal of time on this one, not to mention $$$. There are other canoes to be had, so.... drop back 5 and punt! I'm not saying this canoe couldnt be saved, with a ton of work, but it sounds like way more work than you and the scouts will want to invest. I've tried teaching adults to restore on canoes much less damaged and they even lost interest after the first 40 hrs or so. I really admire your willingness to get kids involved in a project but get the right one first. Get rid of the piece of junk.:rolleyes: