What not to do to a W/C canoe


Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes
Well that's probably why there are no bidders.

What puzzled me about this listing is that the seller says, "...there is a serial number on the bow and stern stems, but the manufacturer is unknown as is the age of the canoe."

I emailed him/her, asking for the serial number, but never received a response. Maybe the seller will give up the secret numbers on the stems the next time the canoe is offered for sale.

I tried to talk to him but he was pretty belligerent probably due to us WCHAers telling him he ruined a perfectly good canoe. I think we can tend to be too passionate about these things at times. We look at this stuff, know in our hearts that it was done wrong, why debate it with people that are ignorant whether we point it our or not. I know we mean well(present party included) but are we getting too nosey, especially on Ebay? Oh no, here come the WCHA Police again! :rolleyes:
I've found most eBay sellers who know very little about canoes tend to be receptive and appreciative of information and advice. Sometimes the WCHA gets a nice plug, if the seller adds information to the listing and gives a nod to the WCHA.

But some sellers will take offense-- feel attacked, no matter how carefully and diplomatically you ask a question or offer a suggestion. You'll know they've received lots of negative emails when all you do is ask if the canoe is fiberglassed and they launch into an explanation of the wonders of fiberglass and how it benefits a canoe. Some will get angry if all you do is ask how long the canoe is.... which usually means he's actually upset at himself for failing to measure the canoe.

Sometimes late at night, when I'm really tired, I have an urge to email every seller with a vastly-overpriced canoe and say something sarcastic... but I sit on my hands... and wonder (for instance) if the person with "Old Antique Gorgeous Wooden 17 foot Sailing Canoe WOW" will ever get tired of re-listing, or will lower his price.

Go to bed! It's late! I have an excuse, I'm working 2nd shift, I know, why don't I get back to work!;) Anyhow, these people that list way too high are smoking crack.:eek: :eek: I like using these smiley faces :D :p ;) :eek: :cool: :) :mad:Okay, I'm pretty punchy, it's been a long night. Hey, why can't I use more of them?!!!!! I'm going to file a complaint to the webmaster blasters!!!!!! Aaaaa, Dan and Benson.....
It will explode!

This one was one of the real funny listings. "No whitewater above class two". What going to happen in class three? Will it explode? It never ceases to amaze me the nonsense that some listers come up with.
I figure if someone has a canoe priced too high, or is misrepresenting it, it probably isn't going to sell anyway. Providing them with accurate information could potentially be beneficial to a seller.

I don't think it's smug when my mechanic tells me that in order for my car to run properly it needs a new alternator. They're sharing information that I may not have due to hours and hours spent working on cars, driving them, taking them apart and putting them back together. There are people in this organization who have spent decades building, restoring, and paddling boats. Part of the mission of the WCHA is "disseminating information" about wooden boats so I don't see it as necessarily inconsistent to share information unsolicited with an ebay seller - most of which probably don't even know about the WCHA to solicit information from in the first place.

Where the problem usually lies is in the MANNER of this dissemination. A gentle sentence or two is different than a tirade about fiberglassing a boat. Offending people doesn't necessarily help the mission of the organization either. Though I also realize some people see a threat even in the best intentioned words.

I mean no offense to anyone here - just throwing in the proverbial two cents.
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nickb said:
I figure if someone has a canoe priced too high, or is misrepresenting it, it probably isn't going to sell anyway. Providing them with accurate information could potentially be beneficial to a seller.

You make a very good point here. The free information is often used by the sellers to prop up and justify their prices or make the boats they are selling more sound attractive.
Imagine going to an auction where someone stands up in the middle of the bidding and yells out, hey, that thing is worth twice that! They would get mugged by the PO'd bidders. Same on Ebay.
Folks should know what they are selling and make an effort to represent it properly. And conversely, folks bidding should also know what they are doing. The rest of us should enjoy the show if we are not bidding.
Well..........since we're talking eBay and canoes......I feel compelled to add a comment or two.

I'm a 12-year + eBay member, both buyer and seller. I've followed it since the earliest days, when, if you browsed for "canoes" you'd be lucky to find 2 or 3 listed. Nowadays, it's hundreds, or more. eBay has changed over the years, not always for the best. Human nature hasn't. People on eBay range from the truly naive and/or innocent to outright scammers and fraud artists. In between, are some honest folk trying to buy/sell and providing reliable info or asking basic questions and expecting honest replies. Some others are more content to rely on 'caveat emptor' rules, and will try to get away with whatever they can. But, then, lots of buyers look for a 'steal' where they can use superior knowledge to buy on the cheap and grab a bargain from an ill-informed seller. Such is life.

When I see an obviously badly informed seller making outrageous statements about an object, I don't hesitate to politely offer more correct info. Does that make me nosy, or interfering? Perhaps, but I do it in total privacy, in a non-threatening manner, and providing independent sources where the seller can go to check things out. In the old days of eBay, that sort of thing was always welcomed. I have had only a few negative reactions. You can tell pretty quickly whether a seller is mistaken, but honest, by the reaction. Hostility usually is a sign of a mal-intentioned seller upset at being found out. Decent folks aren't afraid of admitting a mistake; crooks don't like it. Obvious scams and outright frauds should be reported to Police; eBay takes far too long and does too little. Been that route too many times.

I think we can be helpful without necessarily becoming 'policemen'. I believe the world is better for having WCHA as a resource for sound, accurate info. The goal is for WCHA to become known far and wide as the info center to turn to when in doubt. It is a fact that "canoes" are an area which has been under attack in recent years from professional crooks; witness the number of times photos of rare, antique items have been stolen and then the item is re-offered by scam sellers. Or the number of faked up "salesman's samples" (using cheap Chinese imports as a base), that have been 'antiqued' with a craquelure finish to look old, with phony early trade names added, etc. Some of these have been sold by on-line auction houses that should know better.

So, yes, I think it's great to ask questions, to try to determine who the honest, but naive, sellers are, and to expose the crooks and scammers for what they are. And to share the knowledge, not just amongst ourselves, but across the canoe-loving spectrum.

As for the guy with that "gorgeous old sailing canoe" that he still hasn't sold for $7500 after several months, I was curious enough to ask him (once he mentioned being willing to take an offer less than his 'opening bid price'), if I could come and inspect the canoe, or if he would post more than one photo. Still haven't heard back; maybe because I hinted that my offer would be a bit less than he seemed to feel it warranted. In this case, his 'non-reply' was answer enough. Sometimes no words at all tell you everything you need to know. I won't be wasting my time travelling, and he won't be making a sale to me at any price.
So, the forum post I was specifically replying to above (the one about hugging canoes) appears to have been user deleted or "moderated" off of this thread. I wasn't trying to pick a fight or offend anyone - hopefully the original poster didn't take it that way...
No, I deleted it. It sounded/was a bit mean spirited and wasn't proud of it after reading it again.Just an old hippy having a bad morning. Thanks Nickb for the P.M. Dennis
The analogy to an auction you "go to" is not exact. In such auctions, there is generally a period of time prior to the bidding in which the items up for auction may be examined, discussed, evaluated, and even have authenticity challenged, publicly or otherwise.

But for an eBay auction, the examination period is the same as the bidding period -- one reason why a prudent eBay bidder might not bid till near the end, in the event that more information may become available.

eBay provides a channel for communicating with a seller and asking questions about, or commenting on, an item up for auction. Many offerings are short on information, and even where basic information has been given, it may not have the specific information a particular seller wants.

While a number of WCHA members are much more informed than most sellers or other buyers -- giving them sometimes an advantage over both seller and other buyers when information is slim -- others of us have only casual knowledge supporting our fondness for wooden canoes. And for us, good information about a canoe on the block is generally desirable, even if it may affect the price.

There is nothing wrong with an informed auction bidder using specialized knowledge to his or her own advantage at an auction. But that same person, if not bidding, might chose to remain silent, might choose to share the information with the seller, with one or more buyers, or publicly.

As Roger notes, for a variety of reason there is too much bad information around. I am of the opinion that it is a good thing to try to get good information available where it is missing. As a bidder , I have been helped by such information being made available.
Hostility from a Possibly-Mal-Intentioned Seller...

Received the following from an eBay seller, after emailing him re the difference between a canoe's build record and a bill-of-sale... thought he might appreciate knowing that the build record actually provides more information than does a bill-of-sale:

Seller says, "Find another way to entertain yourself, and even if you were interested, I am not willing to sell it to you."

OooooKaayyy... guess I won't go after a $3500 18-footer that needs work, even though it's green...

And I'm now wondering if the seller isn't calling the build record a bill-of-sale because of the implication that if you've taken really good care of a piece of paper for 90 years, your canoe must be perfect.
Let's not get too carried away

I posted this orignially because I thought that it was kind of humorous.

Through my local chapter, I have participated in a few re-canvasings and have seen some really fine restoration work by my fellow chapter members. Some of these craftsmen can take what looks like a rotted shell of canoe and bring it back to life, looking probably better than the day it came out of the factory.

It was with this reference in mind that I saw the "reconditioned" canoe listed on e-bay, and thats why I thought that was sad but laughable.