Who has the oldest epoxy and fibreglass built canoe in regular use today?

Who owns the oldest regularly used epoxy and fibreglass built canoe and how old is it?

  • An early Ted Moores Canoe

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  • An early Gil Gilpatrick Canoe

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  • Your own

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  • Other

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  • Total voters

alick burt

LOVES Wooden Canoes
Hi Folks
My first canoe is close to 13 years old( a baby compared to many wood canvas and early all wood craft), which got me thinking..
I wonder who owns the oldest epoxy fibreglass build canoe still in regular use?
I guess it might be an early Ted Moores or Gil Gilpatrick boat or maybe people were making them before them?
I'm not talking about those originally built with ribs and canvas and then given an epoxy skin in later life, only those canoes built with epoxy and glass from the outset.(no acrylics or other resins and no kevlar / other fibres)
Perhaps you own one of these made by an early maker or made it yourself or your father/grandfather made it?
Having made a few I am curious to know exactly how long they last if like mine they're treated with a modicum of care and minimal maintenance.
So if you k ow of one please take part in the poll.
Many Thanks

Dan Lindberg

Ex Wood Hoarder
I can't help with how long they last, (I sold mine) but here in MN, the local canoe group, the MCA, has been selling and building them sense the late 60's or early 70's so there are a lot of strippers here. That said, back then it was with polyester resin, not epoxy.
I built mine in the 1998/9 time frame and would hope they are still going strong. (20 years is not a very long time)


Todd Bradshaw

Norm Sims and I built this one around 1975 in his garage. It is actually polyester resin/fiberglass over redwood strips as the boatbuilding epoxy resins that we have today were not yet available at that time. Motivation was basically just because I thought it would be cool to have one, and I wanted to see what it felt like to paddle a canoe with a bunch of people in it (from the stern seat it feels pretty much like any other canoe, but heavier to get moving). The length was 22', as it was just slightly shorter than the corner-to-corner diagonal measurement of Norm's garage. The design was modified from one of those in the Adney and Chapelle "The Bark Canoes and Skin Boats of North America" book with the typical fairly narrow bottom and flared sides.

Polyester resins in general tended to have a nasty habit of delaminating from wood upon impact. I was a dealer for Wilderness Boats in Carlton, Oregon and they had been experimenting with different polyesters, so we borrowed their technology, using Techniglass 329-2 unwaxed laminating polyester resin over a primer of lacquer sanding sealer. To this day, I have never seen a resin, polyester, vinylester, or epoxy, which stays attached or resists abrasion better on strippers. A couple of boats later we switched to the "new-fangled" WEST Epoxy for a better bond with less hassle.

I had always wondered whether or not I could do a decent faux bark paint job, so a few years ago I had it in for some trim touch-up and I decided to try it. It would also offer much greater UV protection for the resin, and probably make it more sale-able to the historical reenactor crowd, as I'm getting old and should start thinning out the fleet. With decent protection from UV and a reasonable amount of care and maintenance there is no reason that strippers can't last a very long time. On the other hand, we see way too many which have been allowed to weather badly for years. They are a horrible investment and are usually too far gone to bother trying to restore. They will likely never be pretty again - a quite different scenario from the ability to restore a wood/canvas canoe piece by piece if needed.

big-canoe.jpg HB2.jpg 016a.jpg

Jim Dodd

LOVES Wooden Canoes
First canoe, I built in 91. It was a design enlarged from the pages of Popular Mechanics. Used Polyester resin on that one.
The next, a year later, was a design no longer available from the Minnesota Canoe Asc. a Pirate. Designed by the late Bob Brown. I used Epoxy, ( System Three, Clear coat) on that one.
I sold it and would love to find it again !
That would make it 30 yrs old.
Epoxy built canoes, if stored out of the Sun, of that vintage, would still be good !

Having many of my early canoes, including my first ( Bottom canoe, in bottom photo ). As Todd said Poly built canoes delaminated. That is true.



About 40 years ago a bunch of us got a drum of resin and a roll of fibre glass and built about 35-40 kayaks. They worked well for many years but eventually they got very brittle from sunlight exposure. My three are still in use planted in the garden, planted deep enough to perhaps take root and produce offspring of of a more resilient material.


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Crosscuts, Thanks for the reminder. A bit over 50 years ago I built a couple kayaks that look like clones to the ones you have planted. I wrecked one (also about 50 years ago) and sold the other one about two years ago.
I was able to avoid the whole resin and canoe thing. All of the canoes I bought, built or owned were wood and canvas (some had been glassed so I stripped them) until I bought my "rubber canoe" in 1985. That Royalex Old Town sits in the back yard waiting for it's next outing. It's never been treated to 303, rarely been washed and it has always sat outside in the weather. It's a shame that material is no longer available.


Debbie Darga
I have a strip canoe that a friend made in 1968 shop class in high school, the cost to make it was $100. It is still in good shape and is kept inside the garage. It is made with polyester resin. I bought it off him in 1971. My brothers and I used it on many Michigan rivers over the last 54 years.
I built a couple strip canoes in 1980 and 81. I named them the Au Sable and I gave the 1981 build to my brother, the Tahquamenon. My sister lettered them.

Mike Darga


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Benson Gray

Canoe History Enthusiast
Staff member
I recently stumbled upon the build records shown below for a pair of fifty pound models that were covered with fiberglass instead of canvas as an experiment by Old Town in 1955. I have no idea if these canoes still exist. It appears that both organizations where they shipped are gone now.





Last edited:

Benson Gray

Canoe History Enthusiast
Staff member
The build record below may be the first F.G. model with mahogany seats, decks, and thwarts from 1964. The back side has detailed information about the construction details. I don't know if this canoe still exists and the business where it shipped closed in 1983.



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