Received conoe in payment for project


New Member

I am a builder/remodeler in Idaho. As partial payment for a project we did, I accepted this canoe. At the time I would much rather have received the money owed, but sometimes you take what you can and hope for the best on the next project. The customer had brought the canoe up from the Mendocino, CA area where she had it on display in a shop she ran. I knew it was old, but didn't know how to find out particulars.

My wife and I carefully took it paddling and found out that it paddles like a dream. It seemed very happy to be back in the water. It glides like no other canoe I've paddled. It tracks very straight compared to lesser fiberglass boats, even when I paddled by myself. We have gotten many compliments on the boat's beauty. It turns heads.

After a few excursions, I gave the boat a good wash and discovered it had a serial number in the bow and stern--71445 17. I did some internet research and quickly discovered it is an Old Town. I believe it is an OTCA 17' AA grade built around 1921 or 1922. I am no expert on these but as a carpenter it looks to me like it has been restored prior to my acquisition of it. It is in very good condition. I would love to find out what info you have on it. Is there a way you can e-mail me the build record scan if it exists?

Also, I am very curious if anyone knows approximately what it's value is or how I could find out.

Thank for any help in advance!



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A Beautiful Canoe

Hi Jeff,

You seem to understand why some people go bonkers for old canoes... it's more than their beauty... they are a pleasure to use, too!

You diagnosed your canoe's species accurately... seems we have the right record, but if anything doesn't seem to fit, we can look some more.

Old Town 71445 is a 17 foot AA grade Otca model with red Western cedar planking, open mahogany gunwales, and mahogany seats, thwarts, and decks. It was fitted with a keel and floor rack and painted dark green, with the notation to "oil in Japan"-- this doesn't mean they sent it halfway around the world: Japan is a drying agent. It was sent to A.W. Horne in Weirs, New Hampshire on July 7, 1922.

Looks like a very nice restoration too!

The scan for this record is attached below. Scans of approximately 210,000 records were created with substantial grants from the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association (WCHA) and others. Additional information about the project to preserve these records is available at if you want more details.

Please join WCHA or make a tax deductible contribution so that services like this can continue. See to learn more about the WCHA, to watch a 10 minute video about WCHA and our programs and to join. If you are already a WCHA member, THANK YOU!

As to value-- there's a discussion here that should help:

You may find it interesting to use the "search" function above to find old posts regarding the Otca and Old Town. Also, there's a great book titled Old Town- Our First Hundred Years by Sue Audette that's particularly interesting to those who have an Old Town but includes information on other canoe builders as well.



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Welcome to the world of wood canoes, but be careful this can be more serious than a gambling addiction.

I'd like to know how much the bill was!

You have a great canoe, I'd say the cost of the restoration could have been a few thousand itself.

Best place to look a value is eBay, where it appears to me the value of canoes has been going up. And as Benson mentions in the post the Kathy mentions, people will pay more for an Old Town than other boats of better quality with an unknown name.

Happy paddling,

Thank you for your help Kathryn and Paul. It's very much appreciated.

Kathryn, I don't mean to be a bother...but do you have a way to e-mail me a slightly higher resolution copy of the build record?

Paul, the bill was around $5000. Basically it was my profit margin. So, I suppose it could have been worse, however, it was rather poor timing as these things tend to be. At least the customer was nice enough to offer her beautiful canoe. What makes the story even more sad, is she was close to losing her sight to glaucoma and wanted to share her enjoyment of the boat with someone who could continue to enjoy it's beauty as it was originally intended. I have not heard how her sight battle ended. My problem compared to her problem was nothing at all. There is so much in life to be thankful for. We parted on good terms.

You mentioned how addictive this could be...well, my wife and I have discovered Pygmy Kayaks and are interested in building a couple kayaks for use as "beaters." Any advice for us before we turn our garage into a boatyard?

Thanks all,
MOVE TO AN APARTMENT as soon as possible.

I moved on to 5 acres and now I have over 50 canoes and boats.

Good luck Jeff,

Ouch, too late!!!

You are bitten. Generally collecting old wonderful canoes is like a hobby, you like using them, working on them, thinking about them, researching them and talking to others like you..... One canoe becomes, two, two become 3, three become a storage situation, 4 becomes a permanent rack, and a "Collection". Then you figure, "what the heck, I already have 4 what's one or two more?!?!" This is the tipping point. Now you have crossed over from "having a canoe collection" to "having a wooden boat problem." Paul Miller is in the Mastery level of this but he is happy and frankly not alone. His wonderful wife a.k.a. co-conspiritor are some of the best people you will ever know. So, before much more time passes, talk to each other. Be realistic about your aspirations, these will become like children that will require your attention and share your joys. Seek counseling. Then pick up as many as you can and join us. There will be no turning back. Welcome!:)
Hi Jeff--

I can send a larger copy of the build record in email... my email address is if you want to mail me your email address.

We're leaving early tomorrow for Ontariariariooooo, so if you don't hear back from me... maybe someone else here will get the record to you... unless we're all going.

It's a passion, not an addiction. But at some point, you may forget how many canoes you have.

They just start coming into your life, like lost little puppies who know you'll give them a good home...

My records are packed...

Jeff requests a larger scan and emailed me, but my CDs are buried under stuff in the car... if anyone still has theirs handy, could you post a large scan for this canoe? I have trouble doing that anyway...

Here are 2 versions - a GIF and a JPEG


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