How does a person decipher the serial number of an old town canoe? I'm considering buying a old town with the serial number 128785 18. The seller says it is a guide series. Can anyone tell me when this canoe was built?
The Old Town with serial number 128785 is an 18 foot long Guide's Special model with open spruce gunwales, ash decks, ash trim, and a keel. It was built between December, 1939 and March, 1940. The original color was dark green. It shipped on April 16th, 1940 to Duluth, Minn. A scan showing this build record can be found by following the link at the thumbnail image attached 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 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 renew.
There really isn't much to decipher in the serial number of an Old Town canoe. The first part is a sequential serial number and the last part is the length in feet. The chart at http://www.wcha.org/catalogs/old-town/oldtown_chart.html can give you an approximate date. It is also possible that you could have another number or manufacturer if this description don't match the canoe. Feel free to reply here if you have any other questions.