OTCA combing


Thanks to Michael Grace, I got the combing bent and installed - Now I need some guidence on how to trim it to look like the original (which was missing when I started). Dan Miller has 2 OTCAs in the barn and by his description they are different.

One Otca has a coaming that is about 1/4" proud of the deck, and very slight taper to the inwale (still proud), with the corner rounded over into the inwale.

The other Otca has a coaming that is 3/4" proud amidships, tapering to nothing at the inwale, but it continues into the inwale a little so there is a "corner" so to speak where the coaming becomes the inboard ear. (Got to see that one to clarify)

Would some OTCA owners take a look and describe or even post photos so I can decide which way to go. BTW - this is a 1929 17' boat.

Hi Mike,

I just went out and measured 3 different Otcas- all are about the same:

1. 1916 Otca in AA grade: 5/16" proud of deck, maximum height (width) of coaming 1 3/4", smooth merge into inwale at top, face and bottom of coaming.

2. 1917 Otca in AA grade: 3/8" proud, maximum height of coaming 1 3/4", smooth merge into inwale at top, face and bottom of coaming.

3. 1922 Otca in CS grade: 5/16" proud, maximum height of coaming 1 7/8", smooth merge into inwale at top, face and bottom of coaming.

Also restored a 1926 Otca in CS grade (now in TX); though I cannot measure it, I can tell you from memory and photos that is essentially the same as the three above.

See attached photos of coamings. Again, all merge completely and smoothly into the inwale. Hope this helps!



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Here are some photos of that second coaming I described - it is from a mid-late 1930's AA grade 18' Otca, and is quite different than those Michael describes. I don't know how common this style is, or if it relates to a certain time period.


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I recognize this canoe and do not believe that is the original coaming. This should probably not be used as a reference. Michael's pictures and dimensions are probably much closer to the original standard.


I also wondered if this coaming was original. The non-diamond seat bolts and the filled holes in the coaming indicate that previous work was done on this canoe. That said, tall coamings are pretty, and if this is a replacement, someone did a neat job of it. Oh- what's up with that stern mast seat? Is there a mast step back there as well?

I stand corrected, and shall hereby stand down and let those who know what they are talking about have the podium.

The stern seat mast step is part of a two masted rig.
Thanks, all. Good information. So it looks like 5/16 - 3/8" proud of the deck in the center, tapering to nil or rounded at the inwale is the way to go. I should have mentioned that this is a CS grade boat.

In some of the photos it looks like the inside edge of the combing is rounded, in others, it just looks like the edges are relieved slightly - dealers choice?

BTW - I'm sure there will be a ton of "Non-Standard" things about this restoration, so I shouldn't be obsessing about a 1/4" strip of wood! Dan remembers this basket case, because he helped me pick it up - off the proverbial firewood pile!

Thanks again.
I believe that this is the canoe shown in the picture below from page 8 of the 1948 and 1949 catalogs. It has had extensive repairs on at least one occasion by an amateur who was not too concerned about matching the original details. Dan has kindly offered some of his very scarce free time to restore this to something that more closely resembles its original glory.



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1923 Aa Otca 17

Here are a couple of photos of my 1923 AA OTCA 17. It's original hull was 1920 catalog cover design, and is now green, so it has had at the least canvas applied, and was very nicely done. All wood appears to be original with varnish over old crackled varnish. I assumed when I purchased it that it was the same wood that left the factory, and very well may be. The coaming is flush with the deck. So my question is, much like your's, is this the original look, or could it have been brought flush to the deck during repair because of chips, gouges....? The OTCA pictured in the 1923 catalog has raised coaming. And I probably could answer this myself by questioning the function of flush coaming. So I too look for some specs.


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Yes, I don't think there would be much sense in a flush combing. My guess is that your got "customized" by someone pulling the boat off a rack - cracking the exposed part of the combing. Every OTCA i've seen has a raised combing, but how much and how far was the question. Looks like the consensus so far is +/- 3/8" and tapered to the inwale.