New to WCHA, just picked up unknown boat

Peter Hunt

New Member
I have just discovered WCHA. I had heard of WCHA years ago but did not realize what a large and wonderful resource it is! I’m getting back into restoring a “real” canoe after some years of treading down the kayak road (sorry, I repent).

I have just found the following “canoe” and hope WCHA can shed some light on it. It is reported to be an Old Town, it is a double ended rowboat built canoe style (see photos). It is 16’ long and about 39” wide. The number on the stem appears to be 29171 16. I know Old Town built a similar double ended rowboat as I rowed one once as a kid but I recall it having more beam and more raked ends. Is this an early version? The seller did not know any history about it.

The boat seems original and complete except for missing oarlocks and rudder/sail rig. The sponsons are falling apart, one end tip (bow) probably has some rot, there are of course the ever present broken ribs (few it appears, however more always seem to appear!) and some damaged planking, but overall it seems to me a pretty good candidate for restoration. I paid $200 for it. Did I get “taken”?

Any thoughts on this boat would be appreciated. I plan on restoring it to original condition and using it for all sorts of adventures.

Peter Hunt


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Wow - that boat has the fine lines of a Sherman tank:D Looks canadian, but someone else is going to have to take over from here!

You never get taken if you're happy with your purchase. Only if you're speculating for profit.:cool: Enjoy your relic, havent seen anything like that before.
Mike, if its an Old Town then you owe Canadians an apology:p
The Old Town with serial number 29171 is a 16 foot long, CS grade, double ended boat with red Western cedar planking, open spruce gunwales, ash decks, ash trim, a keel, outside stems, a floor rack and sponsons. It was built between October, 1913 and June, 1914. The original exterior paint color was dark green. It shipped on June 9th, 1914 to Dighton(?), Massachusetts. A scanned copy of this build record can be found by following the link behind the attached thumbnail image below.

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.

The information at may help you put a value on this but $200 doesn't sound unreasonable to me. These can really fly with two strong people at the oars. Mike owes both Peter and the Canadians an apology. Then ask him to provide some detailed pictures of his first Old Town restoration project before he started.

It is also possible that you could have another number or manufacturer if this description doesn't match your boat. Feel free to reply here if you have any other questions.



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Andre -1, Mike - 0 :p

I could use a boat like that in the breeze we had today - would have been a blast. Another thing to keep my eye out for that I don't have room for...
I am constantly amazed by items I had no idea I could not live without, after I just learned of them.
sign me up for one.
Welcome to WCHA Peter.

After threats of an international incident from Andre, I guess I can't enter Canada for Assembly this year! Actually, the Old Town number gave it away, but I wasn't at a computer with access to my build records when I made that post.

The before and after pictures Bension mentioned First 2 are my 1929 HW, the second pair are a 1929 Otca - I specialize in hopeless wrecks...


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Thanks guys

Thanks Mike, Andre, Dan and Benson for your comments. I did not think that posting some old boat pictures could start a border war...

Benson, the description of the build order fits the boat exactly. Not only that, it apparently has not traveled very far - I bought it in Taunton, Mass - next town over from Dighton! The boat has a mast partner and step but the build order does not mention it. Would this have been a standard feature or do you suppose it was added later? Thanks for the link on values - that was a help.

I have only seen the later version of this double ended boat once before, when I was younger, and I always wanted one. I was real happy to find this and was willing to pay more. Glad you guys like it enough to want one, sorry - this one is MINE now - for using and not re-sale! (yeah, if you're really serious about water you need a bunch of different types of boats... its a real problem) If you guys have not seen one of these before I wonder how many there are around? Maybe Old Town did not build too many. It is rather "robust". I plan some solo rowing excusions on big lakes - Moosehead, West Grand, etc. maybe even the coast of Maine. Places a solo canoe would be more difficult or dangerous.

Thanks Mike for posting your before and after pictures. I will have to do the same. I used to restore antique runabouts professionally so have a handle on restoration. I've done a couple canoes but that was a few years ago so I am now getting back into it. Finding WCHA will be a big help with gathering information.

Thanks again, I probably will be asking more questions as I get into this project.

Peter Hunt
The sailing rig was probably added later since it doesn't appear on the build record. It looks like it was done well with standard Old Town parts though. The article at gives some estimates of how many examples of different canoe models were made. This same technique produces an estimate that 1646 examples of the double ended boat model were built between 1906 and 1968 or about 26 per year. Have fun with yours!