Weight of 1930s Old Town OTCA, Longevity of Canvas


Curious about Wooden Canoes
I have been debating looking at a OTCA that is for sale a few hours from me, which I am told was built in the 30s, restored with new canvas about 10 years ago and then placed in the rafters and not used by an older couple. I have two questions that I am hoping someone could help me with:

1) Any thoughts on how much it may weigh? I am trying to judge how easy it will be to transport, both when picking it up and then using it.

2) I am told that it was in dry storage in the rafters for about 10 years from the date it was "restored" (with at least new canvas), with the thought that it should still be in very good condition. However, I have never had a canvas over wood canoe. Does the canvas dry and get brittle with age, even if it hasn't seen use? Should I expect some issues even if it hasn't been used?

Thanks for the help for a new guy.

16' would be around 60 lbs, 18' about 80 lbs. As for the canvas it should be in great shape as long as the filler and paint were done correctly. Trapped moisture is the number one enemy of canvas so if it's been stored properly it should be fine. Cracks in the paint/filler would be an indication that something wasn't done correctly or the barn didn't get enough air flow and baked the boat. High humidity or roof leaks could have caused moisture to get into the canvas but dry conditions won't deteriorate canvas.
Hi Bill--

You don't give the length of the canoe, but generally speaking (using information in the 1935 OT catalog) a 16 foot Otca is about 75lbs; 17 footer is 80lbs; 18 footer is 85lbs. There could be differences based on weight of canvas used and maybe other things done during restoration.

I'm not sure how to answer your canvas question-- in general, canvas lasts about 20 years, but this will of course depend on where and how the canoe has been used and kept. It isn't just the canvas you have to consider, but the filler and the paint.

Let us know what you decide... if you need further input, take some pictures and post them here. Also, if the only thing "wrong" with a canoe is the canvas, I think most folks here would tell you that's the easy part of a restoration, if everything else regarding the boat is in good order.

I just knew that guestimate would trip me up but I tend to guess about my own weight on the light side. My scale lies, I swear! :eek:
Acrtually, Steve, I wasn't contradicting you--- I was typing-up a reply before reading yours. If I'd read yours first, I'd have mentioned that canoes the same length by different builders will vary in weight (as you no-doubt know), and we tend to "know" the boats we paddle.

I have the Old Town Catalogs ("The Complete Old Town Canoe Company Catalog Collection, 1901- 1993", available on CD from http://www.wcha.org/catalog/ and http://www.dragonflycanoe.com/cdrom.htm on the web) so had the ability to check the weight of a mid-thirties Otca.

I swear the scale at the doctor's office is ten pounds off... and they won't let me subtract my usual five pounds for jeans and a shirt!
Thanks for the information

Thanks so much for the quick information. I recall the length was 17 or 18 feet (the post has since expired but I have the phone contact). The owners don't know how to use a camera and between that and the rafters it was never purchased (only listed for $600). I may go take a look this weekend, I just have to figure where it fits with my other 2 canoes (a Merrimack and a beat up Mansfield). :) Thanks again!
$600 for a '30s Otca that's possibly water-worthy sounds like a deal.

There's this thing that happens with canoes.... they enter your life whether or not you have "space"... they take up residence in places boats usually don't occupy... and you begin asking friends about their unused garage-space or the loft in their barn...