Saliga serial number 3 65 4272

Tom Widney

LOVES Wooden Canoes
While guiding for Sommers canoe base in '70 I had a hero shot (photo)taken of me posing by one of Joe's canoes which was sitting down by the canoe yards by the dock. Thanks to facebook and the Sommers Alumni Association I have again located this canoe. It was assigned to a fellow guide who paddled it from '67 to '71 and then purchased it from Sommers at the end of the '71 season and took it to the west coast. About 12-15 years ago he refinished it (sand paint &varnish) w/ new seats, finally, bought from Joe, he says it had copper stem bands. The name La Peregina which was all ready painted on it when he got it means "The Wanderer" according to one of the translations he found that next winter. The serial number is 3 65 4272, according to earilier posts the 65 is the year it was built 4 translates to April the month it was built and it was canoe number 272, what would the preceeding 3 stand for? or am I completely confused? I told him I would ask you good folks for help in decifering.



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If this is Craig Pendergraft's canoe, there is a disconnect with the S/N.

I show he bought a canoe from Sommers in 1971, when they were parting with their W/C canoes.

But the S/N I have listed for Craig is 1 65 4 272, the next S/N is 3 65 4 273, according to the record, there isn't a 3 65 4 272.

Now that doesn't mean it isn't but the record doesn't show it. (sometimes there is/was confusion with the numbers.)

But, the code for these years is "month" "year" "4" for double end canoe and finally the "canoe number", if the record's number is correct, his canoe was started in Jan 1965, and it's canoe number 272. (Joe assigned and stamped the S/N as he was starting the assembly of a canoe, and he usually took about 2 weeks to complete one, plus filler drying time.)

I have been working on an article about Joe's canoes, including a piece on his serial numbers and what the codes are. (There were 4 over the years, which is why it's very hard to know exactly which canoe one is looking at without seeing it on the Build Record.)

When you talk to him, have him look at the S/N to try to confirm what it is, if it's really 3 65 4 272, I'll change the record to reflect it.

And, do you have any more pics of it? I'm interested in if there was a decal on the ft deck and what planking it had.

BTW, you look striking in a Johnny Depp sort of way. :)

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It is Craigs canoe, he said it was hanging in his garage so I imagine that he had a senior moment and that you indeed have the correct serial number. He said that it does indeed have the original decal still on it. What do you want to know about the planking and I'll ask him. As for the pic I was very taken with myself at the time, it was the best damn job I have ever had.
Well, let's let the canoe tell us,
sometimes there was a discrepency between Joe's "shop notes" where he assigned the S/N's and the ledger and/or the build cards Nora kept.

I'd be interested in knowing if it had the 6" planking (red cedar) and if it's the "Seliga and Son" decal, which is the second decal Joe used. This canoe is in the range where both of these details where used.

I've attached a pic of the decal.



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Dan first reply from Craig

It is definitely 3 65 4272. Also, at the end of the internal wood "stem band" is stamped 17. Given the "clues" above, I would be more inclined to interpret the numbers as follows - 3 (March), 65 (1965), 4 (double end canoe), 272 (canoe number), 17 (length). I have no idea how the S/N was listed/originally registered beginning with "1".
Thanks Tom,

I'll look at the notes tonight, but am not surprized that what is stamped is different then what is recorded, this isn't the only example of it. Back then, Joe was building a lot of canoes for Sommers, and often the canoes were listed in batches, which could easily have been recorded different then what he stamped some days before.

And yes, Joe put the length a bit after the S/N, I usually didn't mention it as most of his canoe were 17 ft'ers.


BTW, that is the 212th canoe or boat Joe built and the 80th that Sommers bought.
Dan, below is Craig's reply to the decal and planking questions.


Ca Pendergraft wrote February 23 at 2:39pm

The canoe has 6" planking (red cedar). The original decal was scrapped/nicked/scratched and finally sanded off looooong ago. Joe sent me a couple of decals to use to put on the bow plate in place of the original. Attached is a photo of the decal I have. If you would like to trade a red outlined decal for a white one, let me know.


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Morning Tom,

Does that mean the the decal I attached was the one originally on Craig's canoe?

As for trading him one, not possible. :(
To my knolledge, only 1 still exists, and the family has it. (in a box somewhere) It was owned by a Sommers alumni who gave it back to Joe when they needed one for scanning for the book.

Joe didn't have any of the 2ed decals left, he had plenty of the other 3 and gave me some of each, but I've given most away to folks who were restoring a canoe.

I had hoped to get a good scan of the 2ed decal to have some reproduced, and I have the scans but am not sure if they are correct.

I checked the leger for the S/N, and Joe clearly wrote 1 65 4 272, but it was entered with 3 or 4 other canoes that Sommers bought, and maybe he was confused and wrote 1 instead of 3, as the next number is 3 65 4 273, it could be he forgot which 2 canoes he started at the same time.

Another tidbit, the next year, 1966, he stopped using the "4" indicating double end canoe, as that was "all" he was building then, at least for the most part. The last squareback boat was in 1971, and he built a number of Vee back canoes so a motor could be used, but he didn't have anything in the code to indicate if a canoe was a Vee or not. It only shows up in the ledger.


In 1968, I spent the first couple of months on the wheat harvest with the full intention of using the money I made to buy my first car. That Augest I went on my second trip to Sommers and spent a large part of that trip in the bow of my guides Saliga. I fell in love with the w/c canoe at that time and went home and used those dollars to buy my first store bought canoe, an 18' OT Guide Special. I then went back to work for Sommers the next season as a guide and had my own Saliga to paddle, I remember at the time that I thought that the Saliga handeled a lot better than my Old Town that I had worked so hard for and thinking how can that be? Old Towns are so famous.

I now realize that I wasn't crazy and that some times it's the very subtle differences that result in very great changes in how a canoe handles. I was hurt in a car accident at Sommers in the '71 season so I missed the great sell off.
Dan some questions about Joe's decals from Craig...Tom

The "red circled" Seliga tag - was that a water decal? When I stopped by and spoke with Joe and picked up the white decal; it is a peel-off/stick-on decal. I vaguely recall that was the challenge for Joe; he could no longer locate someone to produce the water decal and hence was now using peel-off/stick-on decals.
Probably similar to the Base moving to peel-off/stick-on bow labels of the Base. I have been able to preserve the signage on the bow of my canoe - it is a water decal.
You mention 2ed and 3rd edition decals. So was the 1st edition the red circled water decal, 2ed ?????, 3rd edition was the white peel-off/stick-on?


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I made a Word Doc file that shows the 4 decals Joe used, it is attached.

I believe the 1st and 2ed are water slides, (I know the 1st is and suspect the 2ed is based on seeing a few.)

The 3rd and 4th are the "peel a backing to expose adhesive" and stick on the deck style.


edit - OK for some reason I'm having a hard time getting the images to load.
but- the decal that says "Sel-Craft" is the 2ed decal, and the dark green one the 3rd decal.
Cut and past the attached images into the word doc to get them on on 1 file, don't know why the big red "X's" are shown.

I was hoping to get a different image of the 2ed decal, as worn ones look a lot different then this image.


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What is the diameter of the Sommers Base decal?

I am awaiting the return of my Seliga from Alex Comb who is finishing a complete restoration. It is 55 4 199. We are waiting for the canvas filler to dry before completing the job.
When I bought the canoe I got one of the dark green peel-off stickers from the former owners. I sure would be interested in a reproduction of the original 2nd edition decal :) Other wise I will use my dark green one to adorn the new fore deck.
I am trying to make a set of reproductions of the large Sommers Base logos that were on the bow of the canoe when it was in use at the base. I have a mint condition small 3" waterslide decal that looks identical to the image you posted for the larger decal. I took high resolution photos of the decal to use to produce the artwork for making the reproduction bow decals. What I would like to know is what is the exact outer diameter of the red outer ring on the decal?
Waterslide decals are/were made by silkscreening the artwork onto the decal base material. I don't have a source for doing a decal, but I can make high quality peel-off stickers, which is what I intend to do. If anyone else is interested, I can make more sets while I am at it.
Dan, do you know what number Seliga 55 4 199 was for the Sommers Base? My guess is 30-40th? What I would REALLY like to find out is the white "hull number" that was painted by the base on the port bow behind the logo decal up by the gunwale.
John Schnettler
Ink jet/Laser printer waterslide decals

Just curious and this may have been discussed before somewhere on the forum, but has anyone tried the printing waterslide decals with an ink jet or laser printer? Waterslide decal paper is available for printers.
I make my own water slide decals and print them off on a ink jet printer. You really need to use white decal paper to get the colors crisp. After printing go over the sheet with a coat of spray on varnish. It is also good to use decal set to help set it to the decks. Several coats of varnish after the decal is on the deck helps protect it for the long run. I would recommend keeping the decal small, as large ones tend to bubble up in when getting a lot of sun. Longevity will probably depend on how much use the canoe gets, quality of ink, etc...
source for decal material

Where do you get the decal material from? I would like to try this.
Hi John,

Congratulations on getting the canoe into the drying stage.

Be sure to post some pics when you get it done.

As for what Sommers number it was, I have no idea, it was the 65th Seliga they bought but other then that, I don't know what their numbers are. (Now if you were to ask me about the Widji numbers I could probably help.)

As for the green decal, your welcome. :) Actually IIRC, I sent one to both Kyle and Alex for this canoe.

But as for getting a repro of the 2ed decal made, I have yet to see/have a good image of what it looks like. I have a couple of images showing it on canoes, but they and or the decals are poor quality, the one I attached I don't know where I got it, but think it's somebodes attempt at cleaning up/creating the decal and I don't know how accurate it is.

The publisher of the book made a good, hi resolution image of a new decal but I was never able to get a copy from them, (they didn't seem to under stand that Joe had 4 decals.)

That image was taken of what is likely the only surviving, new #2 decal. The previous owner, a Charlie Guide, was given it by Joe and he returned it when they needed one for the book. I believe it's in a box of Joe's things but the family hasn't yet been able to go through them, much less try to find the decal. Maybe someday.

details, details...

Thanks for the sticker:) Kyle never told me that, and Alex seems to have forgotten too.
I will post pictures. I'll have to figure out how to first ;) I may try to bring it to the assembly this summer too.
Here is the last photo I got from Alex. Looks scary, huh...
Do you know the approx diameter of the base logo sticker/decal used on the bow of the canoes?
John Schnettler


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Forgetfullness, ya, that happens a lot, but that's Ok, just so the stickers get on restored canoes, to make them look complete.

Unforcanately no, I don't know anything about stickers that Sommers used, or much else about them for that matter. I'm not a Sommers alumni or even a ex boy scout. But, I would go to the Sommers Alumni site and either there might be a pic of the decal there or you could make contact with an alumni to try to get more info.


I've put out a couple of email requests to some old Sommers guides inquiring on the diameter of the red circle, hopefully I'll hear back from them soon and I will forward that info to you, nice jb on your Saliga