Old Town 127036


Wooden Canoes are in the Blood
In Memoriam
Steve Lapey and I went on a little fact finding mission today and found another great story. Can you dig up the Build Record for this one? Should be an AA Grade 20 foot Guide.
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The Old Town canoe with serial number 127036 is a 20 foot long, AA grade, Guide model with open mahogany gunwales, mahogany decks, mahogany trim, half ribs, and a keel (although the keel may have been installed just before it shipped). It was built between March, 1939 and June, 1940. The original exterior paint color was dark green. It shipped in August, 1941(?) to Bath, Maine. A scan showing this build record is attached below.

These scans and several hundred thousand others were created with substantial grants from the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association (WCHA) and others as you probably know well. A description of the project to preserve these records is available at http://www.wcha.org/ot_records/ 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 http://www.wcha.org/wcha/ to learn more about the WCHA and http://www.wcha.org/join.php to join.

It is also possible that you could have another number or manufacturer if this description doesn't match your canoe. Can you share the story?



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Yes Benson, I have been unloading the photos from the camera. Steve and I went to the Maine Maritime Museum in Bath to look at the D.B. Neal canoe in their collection to get some details for missing pieces on my canoe.

But they had a few other canoes, including this big Guide. The story is that the canoe was purchased from the factory in 1941, hung in a barn, and never, ever used. It was donated to the museum by a local family It did look like new. It was nice to see a factory fresh canoe.

The pictures are not great. It is a big canoe in a small space. Maybe Steve has some that are better.

The canoe did have a keel installed.

Photos are my photos with permission from the Maine Maritime Museum, Bath, Maine.




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Beautiful canoe. Isn't it unusual to see hand caned seats this late? I thought OT went to machine-caning in the late '30s. Or did they provide hand caned seats as a special order?

We did talk about the seats some. The build record suggests it took awhile to build this canoe (started early 1939). So maybe some hand caning was still being done or there were some seats left over. Also notice the pattern. Not typical, but I think I have seen it on another AA grade from around this time. I have no reason to doubt the story. The pictures don't do it justice.

The floor rack is also upside down, only because it wouldn't fit rightside up with the half ribs.

It was also nice to see the factory finish on the canvas.

Maybe the reason it was never used is the weight of the thing. Once they had it in the barn, it would have taken some gumption to haul it out for a paddle! Actually, the story suggests that the folks were a very active and productive family and maybe life just got in the way of paddling.

Yes, that caning pattern appears to be the "canoe weave" pattern. Our two Detroits have traces of that... and Penn Yan appears to have used it as well. These "time capsule" canoes are fascinating! I like things that challenge what we think we know.

"... maybe life just got in the way of paddling..." I know how this happens, and we HAVE to avoid it!

Big Old Town

Here is another shot of the Big Guide at the Maine Maritime Museum in Bath, Maine.

We saw a few other canoes at the museum also, I was impressed by a 17 foot Morris, serial # 2236, with 24 inch decks and a sail rig that I took a picture of.

This museum is worth a trip for anyone in the area, they have lots of neat stuff!

Photos taken with permission of the Maine Maritime Museum.

Steve Lapey


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Canoe Weave

caning pattern appears to be the "canoe weave" pattern

This weave is a little different than the typical Canadian canoe weave. Note that both diagonals are doubled up. I really liked the pattern and I did a couple of seats this way. The biggest issue is that there is an additional piece of cane (8 steps) plus binder wraps to coax through the holes.