Old Town 163040

Well, I finally got myself a boat at price I could afford (not much). Seems the midwest is a hard place to find a wood canoe that's not an arm and a leg. Anyway, it’s an Old Town with Serial Number 163040 with 16 stamped on the stem for length. Problem is it not that great of shape for the age. It has 5 plus cracked ribs, at least 3 planks with cracks/holes, bow stem rotted at top, both gunwales in poor shape, bow deck dry rotted at tip, but it seem solid and strait other than those few issues. At this point a copy of the original build sheet and wood types would be a great first step in hunting down the rights materials. With two young boys (2 and 3) I anticipate work will be slow in my minimal free time, in addition to being a novice. I’ve done rough frame carpentry and interior trim work so I’ll have most of the basic tools needed. But, I’ll be picking the brains of the senior members for the fine art of brining this think back to life

Brian: The Old Town canoe with serial number 163040 is a 16 foot long, CS grade Yankee model with a keel. It was built between February and April 1955. The original exterior paint color was bright red. It shipped on May 6, 1955 to Chicago, Ill. A scan of this build record can be found by following the link at 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 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. Feel free to reply here if you have any other questions.

- Al


  • 163040.GIF
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Last of the Yankees...

Brian-- Here's some information that should interest you regarding your boat:


Also, you should know that Old Town put less and less detail on their build records as time went on... and now they no longer keep such records. Wood species for CS grade Old Town canoes was "any hardwood"... ash, birch, or oak... so you may have to scrutinize and judge for yourself.... or wet it and take a picture and post it here and get some opinions.

Gunwales most likely spruce... hull is cedar.

Thanks for the info

Al and Kathy,

Thanks for the info on my canoe. I think this would indeed be a Yankee! When I pulled off the canvas the base coat paint was a vibrant red color and it has a keel which seems to be of Oak. The gunwales are softer than ash (and light in color) so they must be spruce. I still have to strip the varnish to get a better look at the interior woods. The person(s) before me just covered the thing in varnish and this horrible blue paint. What is the best product to remove heavy layers of varnish, or will any chemical stripper work well on the soft cedar? Thanks again for the help.

I've seen a lot of discussions here regarding the best product for stripping paint and varnish... and our experience has been that strippers with methylene chloride work best... but hiring someone else to destroy their brain cells works best of all!

Be sure to document your work on the canoe with lots of pictures... and post some here! We like to cheer each other on!

You may appreciate your canoe even more if you pick up a copy of Sue Audette's book, "Old Town, Our First Hundred Years".... at a library or book store (including the WCHA Store).

Hello Brian,
I just came across your posts and see that you are right in the area. Welcome. You might want to further your wooden canoe experience by joining the Great Rivers Chapter for our annual paddle and socialize at Norm's Hideaway on Lake Koshkonong near Fort Atkinson. It happens this Saturday. There are few things more fun than hanging around a southern Wisconsin lakeside bar with a bunch of wooden boats and canoe nuts. Info can be found here.
I haven't been very active of late, but I hope to make this one. If I do and you do as well I'll buy you a beer. :)


Thanks for the invite. I’ve got the form, just never got around to sending it in. I just recently went to a M-F schedule so I might be able to make some meetings. Unfortunatly this Saturday will not work for me. It nice to know there are some locals around here, I really had no idea. I don’t have any wooden canoes that would actually float right now. Maybe we can catch up another time, since your just a few minutes away.