Old Town sponsons

ken mueller

Canton, Ohio
I will be starting in on an OT sailing canoe, mid 1940's. I've seen some pictures of similar restored canoes. My question concerns the sponsons. In the pictures that I've seen, the tops of the sponsons appear to be painted a different color (lighter) than the rest of the hull. Was this standard practice, or just a whim of the owner?
My quick review of the Old Town catalog CD pictures did not find any sponson canoes that are clearly painted a lighter color on top although it can be hard to be sure in some of the old black and white photographs. None of the ones shown in color starting in 1959 have a lighter top so this was probably not a "standard practice." My general advice to paint questions like this is to do it the way you like since Old Town would usually paint almost anything a customer was willing to pay for.

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My father bought an old town canoe with sponsons several years ago. The canoe was in original condition, and the tops of the sponsons were the same color as the rest of the canoe. This is only one canoe and doesn't mean all others were similar, but...
Thanks, guys. I would imagine that O.T. would paint the whole thing the same color to save on time/material, unless like Benson mentioned it would be a custom order.
On the build record where the entry for sponsons would have a date when they were installed, it says "St. Louis" with no date. Any ideas what this might indicate?
ken mueller said:
On the build record where the entry for sponsons would have a date when they were installed, it says "St. Louis" with no date. Any ideas what this might indicate?

The usual format was to rubber stamp the date when they were completed and then hand write in the last name of the person who did the work. The record at http://forums.wcha.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=3168&d=1184590772 shows that the sponsons were added on July 7th, 1943 by Mr. St. Louis and http://forums.wcha.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=4144&d=1203040968 shows some that were done on October 31st, 1941 by Mr. Binette.

Occasionally the ink pads would run low and the stamped numbers are very light with a low contrast. These would not appear on the black and white scans so only the hand written part would show up. You can see an example of this in the "Hull Varnished" line on the two images of the same build record attached below. Color scans are significantly more expensive than black and white ones. The original preservation project could not afford to do everything in color.

Please reply here again if this doesn't answer your question.



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I am re-doing Old Town #108756. The build record shows it painted Red with a 1/2" gold stripe, and the letter "K" in gold on R & L Bow. (The stripe was on the sponson) It will have a Kirby two tone paint job as per the owners request.

Paint Job

You should consider using the EPIFANES product. I have made the switch after many years of having used all the others. I thought the product was a bit costly and my mother's Scotch gene took hold of me. But, I can now attest to their claims and will never stray.This is what I have discovered very briefly:
The coverage is extraordinary and the cost seems to become a non-issue.
The product is unbelievably painter friendly with regard to brush marks- (I suggest you get a couple of their brushes which you will come to
cherish ), sags, overlaps, holding the wet edge,( and yes, you must pay attention to the need to add /or not some of their thinner, depending on conditions and your skill level )
The brushes clean out much faster and more thoroughly, it seems to me.
You can mix colors to satisfy your need whatever it may be.
See our KINGSBURY recently restored in the slide show.
I had felt the gloss was a bit much, but soon came to appreciate it.
Good luck whatever your course. BLUEBELL's dad

Just may do that some day. Kirby paint for this project is already in the shop, and we have two more weeks drying time for the sponsons. Then it's on to the book shelf OCTA