Unrepentant Canoeist
Okay, so my "new" ($100, needs work) 1946 Old Town Otca has a twist in it, as described in Stelmok & Thurlow, p. 149. The text says that this "adds to the difficulty," but doesn't say what to do about it. Any thoughts/ideas/experiences are welcome!

Paul K

What other work needs to be done? If you could post this along with some pic's, I'm sure you will get plenty of advice, good or bad, from the experts. Depending on what is needed, it may resolve the twist problem.

Good luck,

Ric Altfather
I would also like to hear what/how to repair this.

I had one/a couple that were twisted, and thinking about it, just "shifting" the rails doesn't fix it, as all the planking is also out of shape.

Before parting with the canoe that was very bad, I considered making a fixture that I could "load" the canoe with and gradually bend it back into shape over a period of several months.

Other work needed: The canvas is shot, but the only rotted wood seems to be at the stem tips -- so the stems & outwales need scarfed pieces, the decks probably would just get replaced, and a few short pieces of planking near the stems need replacement. Gunwales & ribs don't seem to have any cracks; the planking that's visible on the outside, where the canvas is peeled up, seems sound. Of course, I'm expecting surprises when the canvas comes off, but the interior varnish is in nice shape, so I'm hoping I'm wrong. Thanks ahead of time!

Paul K
WCHA #8326
First thing to to do is to check if the hull is twisted overall, or are the stems out of plumb. You can check this by using winding sticks across the gunwales.

If the hull is twisted overall, then Gil's suggestion to just leave it is probably best. You can reshape the hull by soaking and/or steaming, and judiciously pushing it back into shape. Of course you risk altering the shape in other ways.

If its just that the stems are out of plumb, free them up from the planking and rails, remove the decks, then shift the stems position relative to the inwales to make it plumb.

Frankly, a little twist isn't going to hurt its paddling characteristics, and youo'll probably only notice it when its on the roof racks...
Thanks Dan and Gil,

You're pretty much echoing my thinking.

The canoe that was very bad left (for somebody else to fix up) and the other got fixed up and is finished and it still has a bit of twist. And you're right, the twist can only be seen when looking for it or on the roof racks.
It paddles just fine.

Not to worry

I agree with Dan Miller. It seems most wood canvas canoes have a twist, some more than others. I have found the "Hurons" to be the worst yet they still paddle true.
Several Years ago i was given a 21 foot Grand Lake Canoe form. when i picked it up it had been left upside down outdoors for years it had quite a twist in it. i spent 3 years trying to rectify the twist to no avail finally i took off the stainless ribbands and trashed it it now sits on a big rock in the cove my camp is on with the logo for my canoe shop on it and flowers in it. (wife's touch "
The twist must be in the entire boat, as when I put it on the roof racks, I only get three points of contact. It's on a rack on the side ofthe garage now, maybe that'll be enough to straighten it out? Or does it need to overcompensate a little, too account for springback?

Or do I just live with it... not sure I like that option, but seems like people thjink it's not as bad as I anticipate!

Paul K
WCHA #8326