Need Alaskan restorer

Ken Norsworthy

New Member
Does anyone know of a restorer (commercial or private hobbyist) based in Alaska? I have a 1950s vintage Old Town Yankee 16 I want to have fully restored taking off the glass that someone recovered it with long ago and put back to original canvas. I live in Anchorage and so far have not found anyone here with this experience and skill. I am trying to avoid the expense and hassle of shipping it out and back to get the job done right.
What a vacation

for a seasoned WCHA restorer. Pay their way and get your work completed!
Wish we could do it!
John and WEndy Kimpel
Wish I could do it, too! It would probably cost double if you paid to bring a restorer to you, with wages, materials, and transportation costs.
Find someone driving to the lower 48 or BC that would haul your canoe... That would solve one way transportation. Look for restorers in their destinations.
Unless you are dead set on THAT canoe, it might be cheaper to buy a restored canoe and go through our travel registry forum for delivery.
Ken-- Have you considered tackling the work yourself? Maybe at least part of it? Many of the folks here began by picking up an old canoe, without knowing how to restore it, but found the Forums here and a book or video, and did it themselves. Fiberglass removal is a matter of time and work, and having a heat gun.
Ooof! How depressing to imagine the possibility of no wise, old craftsman living in little cabins, dotted all over the great wilderness of Alaska!

I've never been there - and I hasten to add that all the alternate suggestions here are great - but I'd like to hold onto my fantasy a little longer... that the souls of gold prospectors, beaver trappers, snow-hardened Iditarod racers and self-taught woodworkers are still out there somewhere; and that somebody with an intimate knowledge of old wooden boats will come trudging out of the woods on 100 year old ash snowshoes any minute now...

Best of luck!
Alaskan restorer suggestions

I am a newcomer to this site and am enjoying reading the interesting responses to my plea. I would tackle the project myself if I had the time to learn how and to execute it but am a boomer and full time professional and what little spare time I have I want to apply to the hobbies I am already into. If I took up this project I'd either botch it up or take so long doing it I'd never live to paddle it. It will require more than removal of the glass and re-canvas. It needs some significant wood work also. My wife and I are immigrants from Texas and have lived in the Great Land now for 35 years. We've owned a number of canoes, mostly Old Towns, and only one other wood canvas one a 12 or 13 footer I picked up in the early 70's that had been poorly patched and leaked but I used it several seasons and caught many trout from it before trading it for a rifle; which I've regretted ever since. I've got the bug to restore this Yankee that recently came my way because it has a long history in Alaska. The fellow I got it from had it in his family from the time he was a kid here after his family moved to Alaska in the 60s. He told me his dad and a friend of his dad bought two canoes from a summer camp north of Anchorage and this is the one his dad got. I ran the serial number and according to the WCHA archive it was shipped sometime between 1950-53 and his dad bought it in about 67. So I feel like to restore it and continue its use at my lake cabin 80 miles North of Anchorage at Willow Alaska in the shadow of Mt. Mckinley (Denali), would be a nice preservation of Alaskana. So I want a real pro to do it and do it right. If I can't find anyone here to do it I am leaning toward trying to get it down to Harmon Canoe in Arlington, Washinton at some point. I still have some hope that I'll find someone here that can do it but they just aren't advertising as it's not a business. There are some wood boat restorers in Homer Alaska that seem to be more into fishing vessels but I am planning to try to contact them soon if I can. Unfortunately there was no electronic contact method on their website.
If you don't already have a copy of your canoe's build record, post the serial number and we can look it up. Then you'll know the exact birthday.


I did a Google search on "Alaska wood canvas canoes" and found the following:

Cabin Fever Company
Owner: Judy & Jim Moffit
PO Box 19326
Corner of Freeman Drive & Sandy Beach Rd.
Thorne Bay, Alaska 99919
Phone: 907-828-3331
Handcrafted cedar and pine needle baskets and traditional wood canvas canoes using local cedar.

There may be others. I didn't spend much time going through the search results and I have no idea of the distances involved. Let us know how you make out.
I just got in an 18' Ogilvy Special restored several years ago but never in the water. That would be right at home in Alaska. @$3000 that would be less than most restorations. Only one way shipping would be required. Approximately $1000. I also have a nice Contemporary Carlton at only $4200.

Robert P. Ross
Ross Bros.
PO Box 60277
Florence, MA 01062


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the number is 155860 16

The Old Town canoe with serial number 155860 is a 16 foot long, CS (common sense or middle) grade, HW (Heavy Water) model with red western cedar planking, open spruce gunwales, and a keel. It was built between May and June 1951. The original exterior paint color was dark green with the name "King's Lake Camp" painted on the right bow. It shipped on June 6th, 1951 to Seattle, Washington.

This scan and several hundred thousand others were created with substantial grants from the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association (WCHA) and others. A description of the project to preserve these records is available at if you want more details. I hope that you will join or renew your membership to the WCHA so that services like this can continue. See to learn more about the WCHA and to join.

You may have another number or manufacturer if this description doesn't match your canoe. I hope that you are able to get it restored.



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