Sn 147414 16

Terry Wilson

I picked up an Old Town 16 today. Serial number found in both stems: 147414 16. I'm guessing from other serial numbers on the forum that it was built in early 1947. I know nothing about canoes, or at least I didn't until I found this website and Dragonfly. Great info. My canoe doesn't have a seat and has just three thwarts, the longest being at the middle, a short one near one end and a middle-sized one that goes at the opposite end. The middle one looks like it has been moved from the center rib just a few inches toward the short thwart (which I guess is forward). There are bolt/screw holes along the centerline on alternating ribs from stem to stem. Could it have had a keel attached, or could there have been some type of floor?
Well, I guess I'll have to hold off on questions until I see what the records show. Thanks for your help.

Sincerely, Terry Wilson
By the way...

Don't know if it matters, but I logged on as Terry Wilson and have now edited my profile so that I am TerryNashvilleArea. Hope that doesn't mess anything up for the reply. Tx

Thanks for contacting the WCHA.

The canoe you picked up was shipped on April 21, 1950 to a Boy Scout Camp in Tryon, NC. It was ordered and built as a 16' HW (heavy water) model in CS (common sense) grade with spruce gunwales, keel and the original color was aluminum. I suspect that the keel was removed along the way...hence the holes along the keel line. A build record is attached.

If you have not already joined, please consider joining the WCHA to help support this and other services offered. If you are repairing/restoring this canoe, this is the best site available for the best advice along the way. If you have any further questions, please get back with us.


Ric Altfather


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Hello Terry

Hello from someone who can't respond with a build record but who has a big mouth and likes to post (when I have an opinion). Seems to me that your guess that the canoe once had a keel is the best bet, as floor racks are usually held on with toggles and keels on an Old Town are affixed with screws in every other rib. According to the graphy-thingy I have access to, your canoe may date from 1944. And so, I'll be interested to see if I read that graph right, when someone who really has the answers jumps in!


You cannot really say that...look at the ship date versus the start of build date. This canoe sat around for awhile or the number may have been read wrong.

Ric, Thanks for the info. Is that unusual to have such a long period between the build and the shipping? Some of the information on the sheet appears to have been erased and typed over. Guess the original order was cancelled? I notice that the planking is said to be spruce also. I'm not much at identifying wood, but the planking looks very different than the gunnels. Did a little looking and found that the Boy Scout Camp isn't there anymore. Might still find some pictures from someone in the area.

Thanks! Terry
Kathryn, Thanks for replying to my post. Were you looking at the graph with the blue dots? I found that somewhere and figured this canoe (147414) to be right around '48 to '50. Not off by much. I also went back through the threads on this forum and found some numbers pretty close, 148XXX in May 47 and I think 142XXX in Dec '45.
This canoe seems a little odd -- aluminum color? What's up with that? Do you think it would be hard to find a pattern for a keel to go on a HW 16?
I think I'm just going to sell this. The guy selling it didn't know it was originally covered with canvas and advertised it as "just needing waterproofed". I figured a little caulking and varnish and I'd have a cool looking canoe. When I found out what it really was and began to read up on restoration techniques for canvas, I realized this was more than I really wanted to get into. Sure looks like a ton of fun, though. Well, gotta go. Take care. Terry

Canvasing is probably easier than the caulking you mention. It is not hard to do and the folks on this forum could help you through it if you still want a cool canoe.

Most of the time and effort usually is in sanding, painting, varnishing and finishing.
It was not uncommon to have a delay between build date and ship date. Old Town warehoused canoes first-in, last-out. In other words, if a canoe was deep in the warehouse, it would be re-buried by new inventory if it wasn't sold by then.

For whatever reason, a fair number of canoes, especially those shipped to Boy Scout camps, were painted aluminum.

Canvassing a canoe is not all that difficult, actually, daunting as it seems, it is one of the easier parts of canoe restoration. We've talked a number of folks through this process right here on the forums, and a number of WCHA member/builders (including myself) will be offering workshops or classes in the coming year - a full listing will be in the April issue of our journal Wooden Canoe.
I couldn't help but wonder, what is the longest period ever between a build date and shipping date. The canoe cleaned up pretty well. I washed all the dust, dirt-dobbers' nests and rat residue out the best I could and took a "few" pictures, about 60. If anyone would like to see them, I've added them to my website at
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Terry Wilson said:
I couldn't help but wonder, what is the longest period ever between a build date and shipping date.

That might be tough to answer accurately, since the canoe records are graphic images, and not in a searchable, sortable database. Some basic information has been tabulated, as can be seen in the charts located at the WCHA's description of the OT Build record project, but they represent only a sample of the total records (13,000 out of 210,000), a HUGE undertaking for our volunteers. Specific information such as the longest time between build and shipping dates was not part of this survey. Poke around the link below - you'll have some fun.
I believe that you have a typographical error in your link since worked better for me. The pictures look great though.

The chart at (a.k.a. "the graphy thing ") shows several points away from the curve that represent long delays between the build and ship dates. The longest delay appears to be serial number 175009 which went on a fiberglass motor boat that spent 70 months in the factory between December, 1965 and September, 1971 as shown below. It even returned the next year for repairs. The longest canoe delay may be number 120443 which went on a wooden square stern canoe that spent 65 months in the factory between January, 1937 and May, 1942 as shown below. There may have been longer delays but these are the most obvious ones that have shown up in the electronic database so far.

Aluminum as a paint color was very popular in the late 1940s and early 1950s when aluminum canoes were the latest fashion and slightly more expensive than wooden canoes.

Reply here if this doesn't answer your question.



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Appreciate the timedelay info and especially for pointing out my typo. This is a great site and terrific people. I'm running ads in a couple of places and an eBay auction. I'm recommending this site to people in each of them.