Old Town Serial # Search 102079 18


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I just acquired an old town from my wife's grandfather and would like to obtain information about it. It has a canvas cover that is in need of repair and I would like to retore it properly using original materials. My goal is to do this project with my son and keep the boat in the family for many generations to come. I am new to this forum and to Old Town canoes. Is this the proper method to obtain information?

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This forum is a great resource -- someone will be along with the build record
for your canoe.

You would do well also to get, or at least look at, The Wood and Canvas Canoe by Rollin Thurlow and Jeryy Stelmok, and/or Building the Maine Guide Canoe by Jerry Stelmok, and The Old Town Canoe Company by Susan Audette and David Baker.

The first is often called the "bible" of canoe repair, restoration, and maintenance; the second is an execellent study of the wooden/canvas canoe, 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 is selling her book directly on eBay at present.

Beyond that, these forums are a great place to search for information and to ask practical, detail-oriented questions. Experienced people here are great as providing practical answers, and everyone here loves photos of canoes, problems, and work in progress.

Restoring a family canoe is a great family project -- and keeping a family boat for use by the family now and in the future is a great goal.

Happy 80th B-day

Old Town 102079 is an 18 foot AA (top) grade HW model canoe finished from June 12 to August 19 of 1929. It has red Western cedar planking, open mahogany gunwales and mahogany decks, thwarts, and seat frames. It has a keel and outside stems and a floor rack. Original color was dark green. The canoe was shipped to Norfolk, Connecticut, on November 12, 1929. It recently had a birthday.

Very cool that you have a family canoe to restore with your son. There are many friendly folks here who can offer restoration tips and support.

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 at http://www.wcha.org/ot_records/ if you want more details. I hope that you and anyone else reading this will join or renew membership in 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.

It is also possible that you could have another number or manufacturer if this description doesn't match your canoe. Feel free to reply here if you have any other questions.

More information on the Old Town Company can be found in Sue Audette's book, "Old Town, Our First Hundred Years", which is available through the WCHA store and most booksellers, eBay, Amazon, and public libraries.



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Thank you Greg and Kathryn for your quick and insightful responses. Seeing the original build record for the first time was an incredible experience for us and further underscores my desire to restore and preserve this family gem. The resources you've identified as well the information available via these forums should be sufficient for me to begin researching and planning for the restoration. The attached build record provided more information than I could have ever imagined on the background and construction of the canoe. I look forward to joining the WCHA and further dialog as I begin the restoration. I'm sure I'll have many more questions, but I'm very curious what the various grade levels are (e.g. AA = Top) and is there a way to tell if the paddles I have are original?

Best regards,

I'll attach a description of Old Town's grades from the 1929 catalog, courtesy "The Complete Old Town Canoe Company Catalog Collection, 1901- 1993", available on CD from http://www.wcha.org/catalog/ and http://www.dragonflycanoe.com/cdrom.htm on the web.

You'll see that AA grade canoes are trimmed in mahogany, and CS (common sense, or middle) grade are trimmed in any other hardwood, but commonly ash, birch, maple, or oak. I've noticed oak is used more often on guide model Old Towns.

There is a third grade, GS, or guide special. The difference between GS and CS involves the treatment of the canvas exterior. The guide model canoe was used for fishing and hunting, and paddlers might be inclined to run into a moose.

Dating of paddles can be tricky. If you know the same paddles have always been with the canoe, that might be the most accurate dating. Below is a link to one discussion of Old Town paddles, and you can find others by using the "search" function above. Post pictures, and others here may chime-in with thoughts. Old paddles can show more finesse in their construction than newer ones, but there are now, and have been, artisans who create beautiful paddles.




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