Old Town Identification

Duncan Rosborough

Curious about Wooden Canoes
16 ft
34.5 width
13 depth

These are the photos


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It will be interesting to see the OT build record. How unusual to have no decks, carry thwarts, and unusual inwale junction (more like Thompson).
Hi Duncan---Well, this is a mystery...

The serial number on your canoe certainly appears to be 117428--- this comes up an 18 foot GS (lowest) grade guide model canoe with white Maine cedar planking, open spruce gunwales, ash decks, ash thwarts, ash seat frames, half ribs and a keel, that was shipped to Naples, ME, on June 23, 1936.

This doesn't seem to me to be the correct record for your canoe. The lack of half ribs is an obvious difference, as are the presence of outside stems, and the small carry-thwarts, which-- if this was built by Old Town-- would indicate the canoe originally had sponsons.... unless the original owner specified wanting them. Look on the inside of the canoe, along the sides, to see if there are any tell-tale holes where screws might have held sponsons. Seems to me that adding carry thwarts without sponsons would be something that was noted on the record (along with the OSS).

Where are the decks? If this is an Old Town, it's been scalped! Poor thing.

Maybe someone else has an idea of what this canoe could be, if not an Old Town... and meanwhile, I'll look at the records for a canoe that fits... I'll try some other numbers.

The scan for this record is 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 anyone reading this will join or renew 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.



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It looks to have been glassed at one point. I wonder if there were some repairs done at the same time, new seats and diamond head bolts purchased and added, and decks discarded. To me it looks like a Thompson Ranger Light, sans decks. That doesn't explain the serial number, though.
Hard to tell from the photos, but the thwarts smell a little Thompsonesque.
Dunc, do you have better photos of the thwarts?
It appears to have one hand-caned seat and one with machine-made cane held with spline--- probably a replacement.

I tried 117423, which is a Yankee--- doesn't look like Yankee-profile to me.
It appears that the order # was changed. Is there a way to track the crossed out #. I think the old guy I bought the boat from replaced the outer gunnal and put a light fiberglass on it in the early 60s. He said that it was an Old Town. I will get intouch with him and see if he removed decks and added grab thwarts. There is no sign of sponsons being attached.The boat seems to be original except the outer gunnals and the fiber glass.
The boat seems to be original except the outer gunnals and the fiber glass
The inner gunwales are not typical of Old Town. It may well end up being an Old Town. (good idea checking the crossed out order number!) Also remember that lots of people think of all wood/canvas canoes are Old Towns and use the term generically.
If possible, a photo of the planking pattern near the bow or stern could be used to determine builder, too.
The only way to check on the crossed-out order number is to spend many hours going over the records... those order numbers jump all over the place. The only way (as I see it) to avoid many hours and lots of eye-strain, would be to get very lucky and stumble upon the number. Many of the records have crossed-out order numbers. I'll look for examples and maybe get lucky and stumble upon #2389.
order number examples

117427 is order number 2139
117429 is order number 3342
117430 is order number 3683
117433 is order number 2832
117434 is order number 1479
117495 is order number 436

I think we need to decide if the canoe is an Old Town vs Thompson (or something else)... and also ask the former owner if he removed half-ribs.