Just got home with my new canoe!


LOVES Wooden Canoes
Well, I spent the weekend traveling to get a 1934 OT Yankee AA with. The build sheet can be seen in the records forum 114258. It has the original canvas and paint on it and the wood appears to be in very good condition. I will be cleaning it up some today and conducting a close inspection.

What I can tell so far is that the canvas appears sound except for the paint is peeling off in large chunks and while it is well attatched at the gunnels, it shows some separation from the hull near the bow.....It looks as if it will be watertight.

Anyone have any recommendations as to cleaning techniques for the wood, and what I can use to rejuvenate some of the flex...the planks seem brittle and it has been in a garage untouched for 25 years

My plan is to sand off the paint and try to refill??? repaint the canvas. If that fails, I will make my first attempt at recanvassing. Also, as I said, the wood is in need of rejuvenation so I will get started on that.

Any thoughts, suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Some pics can be seen on the build record request as well.

Thanks GUys!

Hi Adam,

That's a pretty canoe, and it looks like it's in very good condition compared to many that you might find. However, as you'll see if you search for posts like yours, many people who have restored old canoes like this will strongly encourage you to do more than attempt to re-paint and "rejuvenate the wood". The finish on your canoe is old, worn, and likely re-coated a number of times (with who knows what). You would be truly amazed at the beauty of the woods in your canoe (red cedar, white cedar and mahogany) of you removed the old finish, cleaned well, and did a quality re-varnish from bare wood. And if the canvas is really old (it looks like it), separating from the hull, and paint peeling off, you'd be well advised to go ahead and re-canvas. You may or may not get reasonable paint adhesion to that old surface, but even if you do the fact that "it shows some separation from the hull" means that the canvas is at the end of its useful life.

Perhaps you want to do some quick repairs and enjoy the canoe a bit on the water, but an improperly canvassed and varnished hull will suffer wear and rot much more readily than one that's been restored. And again, the beauty! Just go through some of the photos of restored canoes on this site- most of them looked like yours or worse at the outset.

I should clarify. I am planning on stripping the wood and the canvas if need be, but wanted to know with brittle planking, is there a rejuvenation process.

Also, on looking at it today, many of the screws have had some sort of reaction (Sea salt/air possibly) and are going to be difficult to remove....any suggestions for removing stripped or broken screws without damaging gunnels?

I am very excited about this canoe, its overal condition of the wood is awesome with no noteable cracks or rot of any sort.

Thanks for your help.

If you remove the canvas and strip the old, thick, dark varnish, you'll have full access to the wood, and be able to see any problems that were hidden under varnish and canvas (cracks, breaks, etc.). Repair problems if they exist, and then if you follow the lead of many people, you'll coat the exterior of the hull with oil (some people use boiled linseed or tung; search the forums for discussions) or with thinned varnish. The interior varnishing starts with thinned varnish. These treatments will really soak into the old, dry wood, providing just what you're after.

Re corrosion, it doesn't sound too bad, so the fasteners will likely come out with no serious problems. If you do break a fastener, you can still get it out. Tacks are pretty easy. For screws, try "Unscrew 'Ums". These handy little tools are expensive for what they are, but they are invaluable when you need them. They're available from a variety of sources. I think Jamestown Distributors carries them.