Keels vs No keels.

Dave Wermuth

Who hid my paddle?
Well I went back two months and reviewed 20 OT canoe serial number requests. I found that 19 were keeled and one was not. That's five per cent with no keel. Extrapolate that out and of the 210,000 or so canoes scanned, the number without keels would be 10,500. BUT. this is not scientifically sound as I only checked about .01% and therefore the sample is way too small to draw anything more than anecdotal conclusions. Having said that---

About 95% of Old Towns were made with a keel.
Sorta' totally anecdotally.
dewey wins

There may be some sample bias

10% are 15' 50lbs
15% are 16'
25% were built in the 1960's
5% were built in the 1950's
there are statistics

And then there is the truth. ;-)
I initially had been looking at the pie charts and wondered how many OT's were made with keels. Couldn't find a pie chart on that one. Benson suggested I check the serial number searches.

There were some earlier good posts on whether to keel or not. The general consensus was that, amoung the membership, the no keel camp was in the majority.

I had earlier spoke to someone who spent a lifetime of canoe bulding and restoring, and he said they all were with keels in his experience.
So, my curiosity being piqued, I finally got around to checking the twenty OT's. Using your count on the lengths and comparing to a pie chart on lengths could lend some clue to the overall guess that 95% had keels. For instance, if your per cent of the number of 16 footers matched the overall number on the pie chart (and I did not check the pie charts obviously) then perhaps the accuracy of that finding can lead us to infer that the 95% figure of keeled canoes is more likely to be accurate.

What I find interesting is that is seems that we now tend to put keels on at a much lower rate. Oh, and one other thing. I have gained a greater appreciatioin for the efforts it took to scan the OT records.
Your first 20 sample got me wondering if there was any pattern to which canoes survived long enough to be counted. Maybe all of the keel free canoes were ordered by river running mad men?

My backyard sample is 75% with keels, 25% without.

Can I assume you have four canoes? Even if you had twelve the numbers would be consistent between my findings and yours.

River running mad men with more money than ability may have accounted for the low number of unkeeled canoes alive today I suppose.

The way to really do this is and be statistically valid would be to check about 200 canoes at random from the CD's. And someday when I get the extra cash I may do just that.

I suspect that bark canoes never had keels. Canvass covered is a close cousing of the bark canoe. I believe that the use of keels represent the influence of the traditional wood boat/canoe industry of those early days.

I wonder if I could get a gov grant of alot of money to play with canoes and study these things.
Preference by destination would be interesting.
Liveries and camps vs personal use. East vs West ...

..."I wonder if I could get a gov grant of alot of money to play with canoes and study these things."

If that happens, I might just be willing to help with the research...

I have a 17' OT Otca, and it has two keels. The previous owner didn't like the original, and had a shoe keel installed. The original keel came with the boat when I bought it.

The real question, to me, is, once I finally get around to restoring this boat, should I put the keel back on it? I personally don't like keels, which is a reflection of the fact that I paddle mostly on small winding creeks, where a keel is a liability. If I want to do this as an accurate restoration, I should put the original keel on it... which will make me less enthused about paddling it. I'll probably just leave it off, and then if I ever sell the boat, will give both keels to the buyer.

Of course, if I want to do an accurate restoration, I should paint it the original orange color, which I find ... well... YUCKY! Something a bit more subdued would be more to my liking. :) So how much does the final color matter?
the original orange color -Yucky

Paint it the color you want so you can enjoy using it -- Unless you are restoring the boat for a museum, there is no good reason to make your boat ugly. Just as you can save the keels, you can save the color information (or sample, if you have it) in the event an obsessive-compulsive type might someday take over ownership of your canoe. And of course, you can always paint over a pleasant color with yucky orange, if the "accurate restoration" spirit ever becomes too strong.
Hi Bob,

Man, I AM the therapist. Saving the world every day. All you got to know is three questions. 1. what seems to be the problem? 2. What do you think you should do about it? 3. Will that be cash or charge?

But you have to admit this--there seems to be a change in trend over the generations when it comes to keels.
Admit it, I know you can.

I'll email you.