Repairing my Old Town canoe


New Member
I inherited an Old Town wooden canoe from a friend that needs patching, as it has a slow water leak. Can anyone provide any resources for learning about wooden canoe restoration? I am checking some books out of the library, but am completely new to canoe restoration.
There are a number of books in the store on this website-- you can also find them at libraries and Amazon, etc. The best (the one we call "the Bible of canvas canoe restoration") is Stelmok and Thurlow's "The Wood and Canvas Canoe." There are also many here who can walk you through the process.

Have you posted the serial number of your canoe on this website and received a copy of the build record scan? Information is not only interesting, but very helpful when it comes to restoration.
"Patching" is usually considered a temporary fix-- "refurbishing" is fixing the canoe up and getting it into the water-- "restoration" means taking the canoe back to what it looked like when it left the factory. Anyway, the book can get you there.

There are also YouTube videos on many aspects of canoe restoration. The most common need is new canvas, and we can help with where to locate supplies... and if you live near a WCHA Chapter, you can get in touch with others who would help you with the project.

Don't hesitate to ask questions and post pictures.

A slow leak might be fixed by something as simple as re-bedding screws, or a medium job like re-canvassing. If you could post some pictures, that would likely bring in many suggestions. If the canvas has a lot of cracks in it, you can sand and repaint, but that is just a temporary fix. Kathy is right, get "the book"!

Thank you for your replies. I just checked out Stelmok's The Wood and Canvas Canoe. I am hoping the repair job will not involve replacing ribs or other wood pieces, as I do not have the equipment. From my limited knowledge of canoe refurbishing, I think that the canvas needs to be replaced... DSCN3095.jpgDSCN3100.jpgDSCN3107.jpgDSCN3098.jpgDSCN3096.jpgDSCN3101.jpg
Here are some more pictures


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Your canoe looks to be in pretty good shape. Some rib issues, and bad canvas look to be the things that need repair or replacement.
One thing that I've been doing of late is mentoring would-be restorers to restore their own canoe. I provide shop space, materials, and experience (for a fee, of course). The canoe owner provides most of the manpower. So far it has worked out great, and I've enjoyed working with others one on one.

Check in the Builders and Suppliers page on this site for someone in your area, maybe someone would be willing to do the same for you.