Old Town 174615


Wooden Canoes are in the Blood
In Memoriam
I'd greatly appreciate the Build Record for 174615. Actually, I have a copy of the front of the Build Record, but I was wondering if there was any evidence of correspondence regarding a sail rig on the back. It is an Old Town 50 lb model, but I think a sailing rig was added later.

Thank you.

Happy New Year everyone!
Hey Fitz,
Here is the build record. There was no scan for the back, so it probably didn't have any additional info. There were plenty of other in this series with back notations.



  • 174615.gif
    47.9 KB · Views: 482

It has been a couple of years, (other projects came first), but 174615 is slowly making its way back to the water.


  • BoatLengthEdit.jpg
    82.4 KB · Views: 486
  • CanvasStretcher.jpg
    77.1 KB · Views: 477
  • NewCanvas.jpg
    139.3 KB · Views: 476

Yesterday was a beautiful day for filling. This canoe has lightweight No. 12 canvas and I think the goal of keeping it lightweight may be achieved.

Now I have to wait for it to dry. The waiting is the hardest part :) .


  • Filler1Edit.jpg
    159.6 KB · Views: 426
  • Filler2Edit.jpg
    167.8 KB · Views: 445
Old Town 174615 Nearing Completion

OT 174615 is finally nearing completion. It needs one more coat of Kirby's gray green, and some touch up varnish, but I'm close to calling it finished. It will be heading to my Uncle-in-Law in Virginia.

This canoe has mahogany outwales that don't show up on the build record but I'm quite sure they are original. When I bought it, it had a sail rig, but I removed that for use on my Guide. I built a new bow seat for it and center thwart, replaced a lot of the thin planking. It has lightweight No. 12 canvas on it.

Good to see it go.

PS: According to the wife's bathroom scale, the 50 Pounder now weighs just under 60 pounds. Oops.


  • DeckFinishEdit.jpg
    327.6 KB · Views: 455
  • SideFinish2Edit.jpg
    670.9 KB · Views: 467
  • OtherLengthEdit.jpg
    584.5 KB · Views: 454
Last edited:
I was looking a some old post and ran across this on on your 174615. I, in the process of restoring a similar model but it built without seats. I was planning on adding some and was wondering how far back your bow seat was mounted. My boat is a 15'.

Seat location


The canoe now resides on a quiet lake in Virginia, so I can't run right out and measure it! It might be better if another member with a 50 pounder could assist. This one originally came to me with a sail rig and the original seat was the larger mast thwart/seat. I took the sail rig components off this canoe and installed them on my Guide and built a new seat for this canoe. The dimensions are likely very close to the original, (I copied an OT seat), and the seat location looks and feels right, but there might be some slight differences.

If you can't get dimensions let me know and I will put in a call to VA.


Thanks for the reply. My 1957 OT 50 lb was originaly ordered with thwards in place of seats so I will need to adjust the placement of the thwards as well.

I'm at Smith Mountain Lake, VA. What small lake are you refering to?



  • wood canoe 001.jpg
    wood canoe 001.jpg
    309.1 KB · Views: 351
An alternate method to locate the seat is to use the scale provided by the canoe itself -- the ribs. As may be seen in the pictures of Fitz's canoe (1965) above, of my yellow canoe (1931), and of the blue canoe (1914) that Benson Gray restored and for which he posted pictures
( http://forums.wcha.org/showthread.php?t=3968), the aft edge of the bow seat is at the 8th rib forward of center. So that location of the bow seat has withstood the test of time.

However, you might note that in Benson's 1914 canoe, the seats are mounted directly to the inwales, whereas in the later canoes the seats are hung from the inwales and are a bit lower. Mounting the seats directly to the inwales provides a certain structural rigidity that is missing when the seats are hung from bolts (the gunwales on my 50 pounder have spread a bit, so the seat hangers are splayed a little, and the decks are no longer tight to the inwales), but makes for less stability. I seem to recall seeing a picture of at least one 15' OT which split the difference -- the bow seat was hung, but the stern seat was fastened to the inwales -- I don't know if this was done at the factory, and I can't locate the picture.

Rollin Thurlow advised me that the stability gained by lowering the seats is desirable.

I believe that it is standard to have only one thwart, the center thwart, in an OT 15' canoe with seats. Having additional thwarts (except small carry thwarts) would result, I think, in an awkward layout, and could make it difficult to paddle solo from the bow seat while facing the stern. But a thwart layout using two thwarts without a center thwart might be managable. But then it would be more difficult to carry the canoe on your shoulders -- can't do anything without trade-offs.

I have aready made small carry thwarts like the ones your canoe has and plan to install them soon, in hopes of stiffening the gunwales at least a little, as well as providing a handy place for attaching painters.


  • m 100_2578.jpg
    m 100_2578.jpg
    370.8 KB · Views: 377
  • 3.jpg
    174.6 KB · Views: 383

Here is a photo of a 1963 model. As Greg points out, the bow seat hangs from the inwales, providing more stability, but less strength. The stern seat is attached directly to the inwales with the forward bolts and hung slightly below the inwales with the aft bolts to make the seat level. I also made short bow and stern carrying thwarts for strength and painter attachment. The Old Town style diamond head bolts are available from vendors on this site.



  • IMG_0752_01.jpg
    365 KB · Views: 380
Not mentioned above is that both stability and structural strength are improved by attaching seats to a cleat screwed into the ribs.
Sheldrake --

It was the picture of your canoe that I was thinking of above. Is that a factory seat configuration, or did you come up with it on your own?

Rob --

Using cleats as you describe is something that has been in the back of my mind as something possible to do, when I get around to re-canvasing and otherwise repairing my 50#er sometime in the future. But I wonder if the thin lightweight planking and ribs of the 50#er are suitable for mounting cleats. Any thoughts? How would you fasten the cleats?
Hi Greg,
My canoe is a standard thickness of ribs 1/4" if I recall. I'm not sure if the difference in rib thickness on a 50#er would be a significant structural risk with the cleat screwed through 5 ribs +planking.