Serial number: OTC 165456 16'


New Member
Dear Old Town,

This canoe was purchased new by my grandfather for our summer home at Higgins Lake, MI in Roscommon County. I believe he purchased it new, and perhaps even locally. As a kid in the 1970's I recall it's white canvas, which has long since deteriorated. It has hung in the garage, unused, for about 40 years. I am a woodworker and have considered fiberglass with a West Systems epoxy coating but am leery of taking away the originality. Are there any canvassers alive anymore?

Would love to know the year of it's build and see the original build sheet! Thank you so much!

Joe Eisenman

Dave Wermuth

Who hid my paddle?
Hi Joe and welcome. There are several canoe restorers around. Lots of us actually. And tons of info here on 'glass and canvas covering. use the search function. I'll give you my opinions. I conducted a canoe canvassing clinic recently at Seven Ponds Nature Center and showed a dozen guys how simple it is.

reason number one for not 'glassing your canoe is that the value will plummet. No one wants to deal with a canoe that's been 'glassed. And even tho we do work on them, the cost of repair to a wood canvas canoe that's been 'glassed goes up alot. glass is inert and wood moves. When the canoe is subject to glass on the outside the two elements don't play well together. it can be done and is And some times it's well done, but I suggest it's cheaper to canvas, the value of the canoe is maintained, the repairability is vastly better. Canvas is the tradition. I've helped several people canvas their own canoe and I know of two terrific pro restorers who aren't too far from you. Gil Cramer and Dave Osborn who are both on this website regualrly.

Someone will be along shortly with the build record of your canoe.

Greg Nolan

The Old Town canoe with serial number 165456 is shown as 16 feet long, AA (top) grade, a Yankee model equipped with half ribs and a keel. The canoe was built between September and December 1956. The original exterior paint was white. It was shipped to Roscommon, Michigan on December 11, 1956. A scan of this build record can be found by following the link behind the thumbnail images attached below.
165456 - 17987.jpg

This scan and several hundred thousand others were created with substantial grants from the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association (WCHA) and others. A description of the project to preserve these records is available at if you want more details. I hope that you will join or renew your membership to the WCHA so that services like this can continue. See to learn more about the WCHA and to join.

It is also possible that you could have another number or manufacturer if this description doesn't match your canoe.

As Dave has indicated, there are more than a few canvassers alive -- The WCHA list of builder members < >
is one source for the names of some. Most of us would prefer to re-cover a canoe with canvas rather than fiberglass -- I am in the process of recanvasing one of our canoes myself. It's not just a matter of cost and tradition -- many of us feel that canvas is just a better cover.

Feel free to reply here if you have any other questions.