Old town identification


Curious about Wooden Canoes
I have started restoring an Old Town canoe that has been in Oklahoma some 50 years or more. I belong to a family club that has a lodge and cabins on a creek in eastern Oklahoma. The Lodge was built in 1917 for families to escape the heat of the summers. It remains a wonderful getaway with about 40 families as members. One of the elder members (a 93 year old widow) has refused to sell me her canoe despite it not having been used for the last 20 years or more. I finally convinced her to let me restore it and mount it in the lodge as art with a plaque indicating she had donated it to the club.

I have stripped the fiberglass the was put on in the early 70's. There is some rot in the decks and a couple of damaged pieces but it is in much better shape than I expected. I have located the serial number and am wanting to know as much about it's history as possible. Please help if you can. The serial number is 146301 18. I am going to guess that it was built during or just after the war as it has the slat seats rather than cane. The original repair (fiberglass) resulted in a white over blue paint job. Was the original a solid color. Where were the old town identifiers, other than the serial number? Are there any photographs of original or restored boats similar to this one that i could use as a guide in restoring the canoe? Thanks for all your help.

Greg Nolan

Others will be along shortly to help with finding your build record. Once you know the model of your canoe, you can use the search function to locate information/pictures of that model.

People here love pictures of restorations, including "before" pictures. And knowledgeable people will gladly help with any questions you have as you go along.

For guidance on the repair or restoration of your canoe, you would do well to get, or at least look at, "The Wood and Canvas Canoe: A Complete Guide to its History, Construction, Restoration, and Maintenance" by Rollin Thurlow and Jerry Stelmok, and/or "Building the Maine Guide Canoe" by Jerry Stelmok. If your canoe is indeed an Old Town, you might find "The Old Town Canoe Company" by Susan Audette and David Baker of interest

The first is often called the "bible" of canoe repair, restoration, and maintenance; the second is an excellent study of the wooden/canvas canoe written by the fellow who now builds w/c canoes for Old town, and the third is a great history of the company and its canoes. These are available from the WCHA store, are often on eBay, or from Amazon. Sue Audette also sells her book directly ( http://www.thebaglady.tv/ ).
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Kathryn Klos

squirrel whisperer
Hello Pondboy,

Old Town 146301 is an 18 foot CS (common sense or middle) grade Otca model canoe that was completed from August to October of 1946. Before anyone begins to think that the date this canoe was built has been secretly-coded into the serial number, let me add that this is simply a coincidence.

This canoe has open spruce gunwales, ash decks, thwarts and seats, and a keel. It originally was painted design #45. It was shipped to Tulsa, OK, on November 5, 1946.

This canoe was constructed during the time when the canoe companies still suffered the shortage-effects of WWII, and although it was built after the war, it is still a "war era canoe". It may have slat seats instead of cane because cane became unavailable until some time in 1947. The seats may have been replaced in the 1950s, however. The canoe may also have some iron and or steel fasteners... watch for that and replace as necessary. There are many here with experience restoring war era canoes who can give you guidance if you need it.

Seems a wonderful and worthwhile project and one that will make the lady smile, as well as other club members.

Image of the scan of this record is attached below-- click on it to get a larger image.

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 athttp://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/about-the-wcha/ to learn more about the WCHA and http://store.wcha.org/WCHA-New-Membership.html to join.



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