Old town Canoe 118696


New Member
Hello all. New to the site. Great Job!
10 year old Son and I are restoring this old canoe. Have purchashed much of the materials for the ribs and sheathing and decks. But have yet to purchase the materials for the top rails - Gunrails? can you advise what the wood species should be. Someone suggested Cypres, but that does not sound right. Also any builder information to the canoe would be great.

The Old Town canoe with serial number 118696 is a 16 foot long, CS (common sense or middle) grade, HW (heavy water) model with red western cedar planking, open spruce gunwales, a keel, floor rack, and sponsons. It was built between July, 1936 and March, 1937. The original exterior paint was fire red with Catherine written on the left and right bow in black letters. It shipped on April 24th, 1937 to Jamestown, Penna. 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 more 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. The inside and outside gunwales on your canoe were originally spruce. The period catalog page at http://www.wcha.org/catalogs/old-town/specific.gif has more information about the specifications of your canoe. It also shows the open gunwale construction on the top of the diagram at the bottom. Only the closed gunwales had a top rail cap as shown on the bottom of the diagram. Good luck with the restoration. It sounds like a great family project. Feel free to reply here if this is not clear or if you have any other questions.



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Thanks for the information.
My sons birthday is this week end and the plan is to work on the canoe the whole time so the information is timely.
Additional question i have is; What is used as filler today for the canvas. I think it used to be some type of lead filler in prior years? Also seen the drawing you sent (again Thanks) the half ribs on the floor, can't say I have seen that befor. I do have the floor rack and the sponsons. Are the half ribs an alturnative to the Floor rack?
Yes, one of the primary ingredients of the filler on your canoe was white lead so be careful if you have to remove the original canvas. Several filler formulas are available at http://www.wcha.org/build_restore/filler.html and many of the builders listed at http://www.wcha.org/buildsupply/ will sell it already mixed.

The usual purpose of both half ribs and floor racks is to keep your gear from getting wet by small amounts of water in the bottom of a canoe. Many people like how they look as well. Half ribs will also make the floor more smooth and stiff at the cost of more additional weight than a floor rack.

Have fun,

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Good luck restoring your canoe. My Dad and I restored an Old Town when I was 10 or 11 years old. I'm 64 now and still remember it fondly. I'm confident your son will cherish this time spend with you as well.

BTW, I currently restoring the same canoe for the third time.