Old Town Paint Design Patterns

Benson Gray

Canoe History Enthusiast
Staff member
A common question is if stencils or templates were used to create Old Town's paint designs. The short answer is no, they simply used a collection of catalog images glued to an old poster board on the paint room wall as a guide and painted them by hand. That poster is now displayed in their retail store as shown below although it has faded a bit over the years. See http://www.wcha.org/catalogs/old-town/designs/ and http://www.wcha.org/catalogs/old-town/designs/thumbnal.html for better examples of these designs. It is also interesting to note that there are some gaps (numbers 15 and 44) and duplications (number 28 and 29). The original factory may be gone but not everything was lost.


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Hi, Benson --

You were kind enough to give me a link to the build order for my family canoe; now I have another question.

My grandfather refinished the canoe every 4 years when I was little. He did the striping as simple gold-on-black lines, but 30 years ago Mike Hanna of Alder Creek Boat Works did a full restoration. He said the stylized oak-leaf pattern shown in the photo was original. He died shortly after working on our canoe, so I don't know how he came to that conclusion. Do you recognize the design shown in the photo? Alternatively, I've attached a small photo of the striping detail from the order. Can you tell me what the cursive capital letters describing the ends of the stripes mean?