Old Town Hand Caning


Wooden Canoes are in the Blood
In Memoriam
Does anyone have a close up photo of a hand caned Old Town Seat - original caning preferred? I think I recall someone saying the seats were done differently than the directions available in most craft books. On my last project, I pretty much followed craft book directions. I could be wrong, but I was left thinking the original pattern was simpler.

The seats I'm working with now were repaired with rawhide lacing at one point. Corner holes were added to the bow seat. The stern seat has no corner holes.

Any input greatly appreciated.

Page 22 of the 1913 catalog from the Old Town CD has a good picture of the original cane seat pattern as shown below. This image also shows how the ends of a floor rack looked. Good luck recaning your seats,



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The 1913 page shows what seems to me to be the usual form of caning in very early canoes from both Old Town and E.M. White- at least this is the pattern in 2 of my E.M. Whites and 2 of my Old Towns (1916 and earlier), and in all of these cases, the caning appears to be original). This is a very easy pattern because it requires no weaving during the first four passes/layers of cane. In my later Old Towns (20s and 30s era), what I believe to be original cane was done in the "standard" pattern.

Hand caning is time-consuming but easy (even though pre-woven canoe can be installed faster, I much prefer hand weaving). So just cane in the pattern that suits you. If you change your mind later, it is a simple matter to remove the cane and do it again.

Thanks you for the replies.

Yes, Michael skipping the weaving until the later steps does seem doable and when I looked at Benson's catalogue picture that seemed to be what was done there. I may give that a whirl on this boat and see how it works. This project is a 1923 Guide. Hmmmnn..skipping weaving until the diagonals, is this similar to the Canadian style caned seat???

I did dig out some pictures tonight of the seats to my 1914 Old Town before restoration. I re-caned them using craft books and some helpful hints that Dan Miller posted on the site well before The Crash. Anyway, the pictures jogged my memory and it seems the caning on them was woven not unlike the "craft book style". I think the seat caning was original to the canoe.

Here's a photo of the 1914 seat before recaning:


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There was a How-To article on the Old Town seat caning method in one of the old issues of Wooden Canoe by Jack MacGreevy (sp?, I appologize). I used this article to recane the seats on my 50lb. According to the article there were a couple of variations.
Mark Z.

I found the article. It is in Number 13, Winter 1983 in the column McGreivey's Canoe Shop by John McGreivey.
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How do you get a back issue? Being new, I'm also interested in this for my OT canoe seat restoration project.

Thanks, Bob
How do you get a back issue?

You can order back issues from the WCHA Online Store (http://merchandise.wcha.org). You'll need to know the issues you want. We had an online index for the first 100 issues, but that part of the site hasn't been restored yet. There has been talk of creating a new and current index to the journal, but there has been no action yet that I am aware of.