Serial # 2013 17


Curious about Wooden Canoes
I have a canoe that I plan on restoring. It needs a lot of TLC. I would like to find the plans (which includes wood type, dimensions and fastener types) so the canoe can be properly repaired/restored.

This is my first venture into boat repair of this magnitude.

The serial # is 2013 17
Where do I go from here?

Thanks for your assistance.

Hi Greg,

You've come to the right place to get support in the restoration of your canoe. If you post pictures, we may be able to determine who built the canoe, or at least suggest possibilities. Records exist for only a few of the old canoe companies; these records connect the serial number to an original build record. I have copies of the scans of Old Town and Carleton's records, but 2013 is too low... the scanned records start above that number.

A four-digit serial number suggests [for instance] the possibility of Charles River builders... but unless we see pictures, it's impossible to know.

Catalogs for many of the old canoe companies exist and provide information that can help with restoration. The greatest amount of help, however, comes from the folks who post here and those who are involved in the local chapters of WCHA. It's sometimes possible to find a member who lives nearby and has a shop, who is willing to help in-person. Chapters will do things as a group. And "we" here in Forums are many eyes and minds and many years of combined experience...

A good way to begin restoration is to get hold of a copy of "The Wood and Canvas Canoe" by Stelmok and Thurlow. There are other books, too... and videos-- including some on YouTube-- which can be helpful.

Restoration supplies are available from several sources... here is a link from our main page: An advantage of a nearby WCHA chapter is that [for instance] you may need a certain length of spruce for outwales, and somebody in the group has exactly that-- or knows a nearby source.

Wood-type questions can be answered by posting pictures... or sometimes by asking, "what works" (or doesn't). Restoration depends on what you have, canoe-wise, and what you want to do with it--- in general, WCHA members restore, build, and use their canoes... and when it comes to restoration, the degree to which you restore [preserve] is up to you... but there are some fairly concrete do's and don'ts [such as "pleeeeze don't replace canvas with fiberglass"].

I hope this helps--- and others will chime-in--- and we'll all be looking forward to pictures of your canoe :)

Here are 3 pictures

Kathryn, thank you for the advice. I have ordered the book.

Attached are 3 pics
Picture #1 is the serial number
Picture #2 is a pic of the floor
Picture #3 is the seathing after I peal back the skin
The skin is a rust/dull red color


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Good start-- thanks for the pictures. The pictures that help most with identification at this point would be a profile, showing the bow or stern, a shot of the deck, and a picture showing the seat and thwart style. If the canoe has short decks, the deck-style could narrow things down rather quickly.

Your pictures show that your canoe has half-ribs, which usually indicate a canoe that has been upgraded from a "regular" model. It appears to have closed gunwales, but I can't be certain. It may have tapered ribs, but I'm not sure from the pictures... a picture of the inside, showing the ribs as they meet the gunwales, would help.

I'm glad you ordered the book--- great discussions of canoe history--good information for those restoring an old canoe, in addition to restoration-info.
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Please post more pics. Exterior shots of the profile, individual close ups of the bow and stern interior and exterior as well as seats and thwarts are helpful in determining identification. The more pics you post the greater the chance of success.
Next steps in identification

Kathryn and Jan I will take more pics after supper this evening.
The seats are long gone. The next pics will show the level of repair required (missing parts) and the deterioration that has occured.

More to come

photos--an example

A recent poster did a nice job displaying his canoe... not that you need to add the dimensions and other descriptive-things to the photos themselves, as he did, but these pictures show the parts that really help when we're trying to uncover a mystery:

I also love pictures of canoes tipped up on the side, which show the entire interior. It can help a bit more than the "long view" in the series above, because there's less distortion when looking at seats and thwarts.
17 foot classification pics (part2)

Here is part 2 of pics. Thanks for the suggestions on taking pics.

Pics 3 & 4 are a side profile view (I couldn't get it all in in one pic
Pic 1 & 10 are ribs to top edge of boat (parts missing along rail)
Pic 5 is the bow
Pic 8 is the stern where the serial # is located (you can see waht is left of the rails that have come off.
The deck is long gone as well as the thwarts and seats




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You may want to use the "search" function (above) to locate old discussions that might help in figuring out your canoe. For instance, there were several canoe companies with the Racine name, and this discussion includes some points that you may want to compare with your canoe:

That discussion includes links to other discussions too.

You certainly have a project boat! You may want to look at older posts about Fred's bookcase canoe:
Racine drwaings/bill of materials

Thanks for the "lean" if you are leaning to a Racine is there a set of drawings and bill of materials that I can view? (from some archive?)


There's more than one Racine Company. We've had a couple RacineWis Chippewa models, and their serial numbers were/are on a rib rather than the stem... seems yours is on the stem and I'm not sure if RacineWis put the s/n on the stern stem... that's why I thought more "poking around" might be helpful.

What you have is a hull. I don't see a framework indicating the canoe had long decks at one time, so you could assume it had short decks. The rails are probably spruce, and you could replace the trim with your choice of wood, it seems to me. Our RacineWis Chippewa has spruce trim all-around: decks, thwarts, seat frames. If the builder of your canoe could be determined for certain, you could go with whatever was the customary wood-trim-species for that maker... or, you could go with what you'd like. The Racine in the video I made (there's a link in my previous post, included in the link to a discussion) has a cherry deck and RacineWis never had cherry decks... but that's what a customer wanted.

The best archive is right here, in these Forums, and in back issues of Wooden Canoe. The old discussion I suggested in my previous post has a list of back issues of Wooden Canoe that include information on the various incarnations of Racine. There's also a picture from one of the RacineWis catalogs.

The book you've ordered will be a great help.

Serial #2013 17

Thank you for the suggestions, links and direction. After looking at the project boats mine should be a "piece of cake" (if only I knew what I should be doing). That will come with some more investigation. The pictures of the threads are helpful.

Thanks to those who contributed. I am excited about next steps.


One more pic for Serial #2013 17

This project is quickly taking on a life of it's own.

I was up early searching the around, under and in the lumber pile that this canoe was stored on top of out side. I found 2 "deck" parts.

What do these parts tell you?




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I must not have heard Kathy's question right. The decks,thwarts,and seats of the one Racine we have left are made of oak. The rails are spruce. Sorry - :eek:
Those decks look like Racine or Kennebec decks.

I don't think that it is a Kennebec. The serial number font and planking pattern don't look like theirs. They assigned this serial number to a 16 foot long Kineo model canoe in 1909 and a 14 foot long Fisherman model boat in 1921. Their number 102013 went on a 16 foot long Kineo Special canoe in 1928. It doesn't look like a canoe from the north eastern U.S.

I don't have a copy of the RacineWis heart deck in my computer but found one here:

It's different from your heart deck, Greg--- the RacineWis has a single-petal deck (this is what's on ours) and the one pictured on that link is a double-petal, which forms a heart that isn't as deep in the center as yours, and it goes up higher on the sides. So, unless there's another deck-version for RacineWis, your canoe may be the other Racine. I'll hunt some pictures.

Jack McGreivey builds a 17' Racine replica. I don't see that he has a website, but the business address for McGreivey's Canoe Shop is 12290 Old State Road, Cato, NY, 13033.

I'll attach an image from the 1904 Racine Boat Manufacturing Co. catalog. The heart-deck from your canoe looks a bit more like this one. This image is from the Racine catalog contained on the Historic Wood Canoe and Boat Company Catalog Collection CDs available from and on the web.



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I don't believe those are Racine decks. The planking pattern looks mid-western to me, but not Thompson, Shell Lake or Rhinelander...

Is that the shadow of an oval decal on the deck to the right?
What great eyes

Wow.... I brought the 2 pieces in this morning from outside and under a magnifying class the number 4 jumped out at me. Then the oval also showed up.
The deck that is in tact has 2 features.
The largest is the number 4 (in white). Then the logo shadow you refer to is at the base of the number 4 and is oblong.
I also think the deck wood is mahogany (I will ask my neighbor and get a 2nd opnion).

I copied the pic and pasted it in powerpoint and highlighted the area where the symbols are located.