Penn Yan Owasco circa 1948

Matt T

New Member
Several general questions-observations posed by a novice...

The boat seems to be free of any broken or damaged ribs. Has full and half ribs. The planking is all intact, seems VERY dry. One plank on the bottom near the stem seems to be split or cracked in 3 or 4 places, but still seems quite strong (relative to the rest of the hull).

The keel is missing pretty much entirely. Also missing is a part I would describe as an external stem...applied over the canvas on top of the actual structural stem. The metal band that goes on top of this piece is also gone. The bow deck is rotted at very tip.

The metal band and a portion of this external stem are present on the stern, as well as a small piece of the keel showing a scarf joint between the keel and stem piece. The interior needs to be stripped and refinished, the canvas needs to be replaced...SO...

How unique is this desirable would it be in restored condition? I ask not from a profiteering standpoint, (I'd probably never sell it) but rather from a "How much work is too much" standpoint. I probably will have to "farm out" at least a portion of the work. I have some skills and experience, but I have never bent any wood and the stem pieces look quite formidable!!!

Any and all input will be welcomed.

Pictures please !!!

I don't know how unusual this canoe is, but it definitely would be a desirable boat if properly restored, and from your description, restoration should be relatively simple and straight-forward. Get your hands on a copy of what is often referred to as the bible of canoe restorationi -- "The Wood and Canvas Canoe: A Complete Guide to Its History, Construction, Restoration, and Maintenance" by Jerry Stelmok and Rollin Thurlow -- available from the WCHA, Amazon, and often on eBay.

Some information on Penn Yan canoes can be found at

and a copy of a relevant Penn Yan catalog page can be found at

Asking people on this forum "how much work is too much" is not likely to provide useful information -- the common opinion would be that there is never "too much" work to restore almost any canoe. But stripping and refinishing the interior, recanvasing and repainting, and replacing a keel, exterior stems, and stembands are all relatively common and simple tasks -- even bending the stems is not really formidable -- there is lots of information on these forums as well as in the Stelmok/Thurlow book on ways to do it -- but rather only seems challenging because bending is not a common woodworking task. The chief difficulty is setting up the equipment to do the bending -- and the seeming difficulty comes from unfamiliarity, not from anything intrinsically hard to do (as I learned a few years ago when teaching myself to bend some ash for snowshoes).

People here love pictures of other people's canoes -- so keep us informed about what you are doing -- with lots of pictures.