restoration; 1909 ?


New Member
I have project: I bought the old canoe and it needs some help. So as best
I can get from the stems, the serial number is 956 (7 or 1). I checked with
Old Town and they come up with a Charles River build in 1909. The skin is
very bump/rough and there are a few patches with fiberglass. The skin looks
like it must have been original which means it would be canvass but I can't
really tell.
The gunwales were taken off before I got it. Some of the ribs have been
rotted of on the top inch. About 1/3 of them are bad and others are good.
So: I stripping the inside and wondering about these ribs. Is there a way
I can maybe cut the sides down an inch and put new gunwales on. Or do I
need to replace all these ribs and bring it all up to original height?
I didn't want to remove the skin and replace it: but it is a relic and a
real piece of history, I feel I need to either pass it on to someone who
wants to rebuild it to 'original' or should I just do what I can do.
Does anyone know what price value this woiuld have?
I live in Viroqua Wisconsin. I am willing to haul it to someone close if
there is someone who would give some good professional advice.
dick iverson....608 792 6875
I second the motion

Dave Osborn does good work.

Yes, you can cut the gunwales down an inch, as long as you own it and and don't mind taking license with the rebuild. A non historical rebuilt canoe is not as valuable as an historically accurate restoration. A miniumum depth would be about 11".

Another option is to splice rib tips back on. it's easy and does not take long at all.
The Great Rivers Chapter will have a booth at Canoecopia at the Alliant Center in Madison, WI. on March 12-14. (
In addition to myself, there will be other chapter members that will be able to answer your restoration questions. Bring photos of your areas of concern.
1909 is an early Old Town. As you described, it deserves a good restoration. There are things that can be done with the ribs to keep them at original height without total replacement. It's obvious that it needs new canvas as well. We have coached many a restoration right from this forum.
You can do it!!! We will help along the way when you have questions.
If you are looking to have some or all of the restoration work done by a full time canoe restorer, I can help you there as well.
Hope to meet you at the show!
Dave Osborn