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17 Foot Old Town Serial # 129454-17

Discussion in 'Serial Number Search' started by Walter Hallman, Jul 26, 2020.

  1. Walter Hallman

    Walter Hallman Curious about Wooden Canoes

    My neighbor just had an estate sale and I have a new winter project. It’s a 17 Foot Old Town (from what I can tell from my research). The serial number is 129454-17. It looks like he started the restoration but stopped. The canvas is sanded down and if it was varnished the interior it is now stripped and ready for refinishing after a general cleaning. The keel was removed and is missing. From looking at the hull it came equipped with a floor rack, a step for a mast, and there are shadows screw holes from sponsons. The seats were removed (there are mounting holes). There is a little rot in the bow and strength but overall the wood is in excellent shape.

    My plan is to accomplish a complete restoration. Strip canvas, replace damaged wood, install new canvas, replace interior seating, and of course paint the hull. I ordered the book “The Wood and Canvas Canoe” and it is an excellent book but one can never have enough reference material. What other books are recommended?

    I understand there is a source for the build sheets for Old Town canoes. If possible I would appreciate more information on this particular canoe.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jul 26, 2020
  2. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    Is that a faint "4" after the 12945? The SN would then be 129454?
     
  3. mccloud

    mccloud "Tiger Rag" back on the tidal Potomac In Memoriam

    I agree with Paul, 129454 - 17. This makes it about a 1940 canoe. What is all that white stuff on the hull? Looks structurally sound. Will be a nice canoe when done. Don't sweat the sponsons - many restorers leave them off. Keel is not necessary. You can build seats without much trouble, and in 1940 pressed cane was in use. TM..
     
  4. OP
    OP
    Walter Hallman

    Walter Hallman Curious about Wooden Canoes

    You are correct on the serial number. Thanks for the catch.
     
  5. OP
    OP
    Walter Hallman

    Walter Hallman Curious about Wooden Canoes

    On the white stuff, I assumed it was the filler left after he stripped the paint.
     
  6. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    Welcome and congratulations, the Old Town canoe with serial number 1294540 is a 17 foot long, AA (or top) grade, HW (heavy water) model with open mahogany gunwales, mahogany decks, mahogany thwarts, mahogany seats, a keel, outside stems, a floor rack, sponsons, and painter rings on the bow and stern. It was built between February, 1940 and December, 1941. The original exterior paint color was similar to the one shown at http://www.wcha.org/catalogs/old-town/designs/design10.gif which was known as the design. It shipped on December 15th, 1941 to Baltimore, Maryland. A scan of this build record can be found below.

    This scan and several hundred thousand more were created with substantial grants from the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association (WCHA) and others. A description of the project to preserve these records is available at http://www.wcha.org/catalogs/old-town/records/ if you want more details. I hope that you will donate, join or renew your membership to the WCHA so that services like this can continue. See http://www.wcha.org/about-wcha to learn more about the WCHA and http://www.wcha.org/store/membership to join.

    It is also possible that you could have another number or manufacturer this description doesn't match the canoe. See https://www.wcha.org/forums/index.php?attachments/31525/ for another canoe that shipped to the same place. Feel free to reply if you have any other questions.

    Benson



    129454.jpg
     
  7. OP
    OP
    Walter Hallman

    Walter Hallman Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Thanks for the quick reply. That description matches everything on my boat. The color scheme looks very nice and I will recreate that as part of the restoration. Thank you for this service.
     
  8. Greg Nolan

    Greg Nolan enthusiast

    It's hard to tell from your pics -- are the outside stems also missing as well as the keel?
     
  9. mccloud

    mccloud "Tiger Rag" back on the tidal Potomac In Memoriam

    This is not the first canoe I've seen which was shipped to Bacharach Rasin, Baltimore, but I don't know what business they were in. Canoes often do not move far from their shipping destination. If it is still in eastern MD, there is a very active wooden canoe group at the watermans museum in Northeast. If you have questions, that's the place to get answers. TM...
     
  10. OP
    OP
    Walter Hallman

    Walter Hallman Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Yes, the stems and keel are also missing. There was a brass stem piece in the canoe. Did they normally come with brass in 1940? Although I like they looks of the steamed wood on the ends.
     
  11. mccloud

    mccloud "Tiger Rag" back on the tidal Potomac In Memoriam

    If the outside end of the internal stem looks broad, like 1/2", then it had an external wooden stem. You can bend oak and replace a missing one. I would think brass for stembands was still available in early 1940, so if there was one laying in the canoe, then it most likely is the original.
     
  12. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    They were an outdoor and sporting goods store founded in 1904 according to the information at http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/bs-xpm-1992-02-17-9213001507-story.html but I'm not sure how this relates to rasins.

    Yes, brass stem bands would have been standard in 1940 as Tom mentioned and specified at http://www.wcha.org/catalogs/old-town/specific.gif from a period catalog.

    Benson
     
  13. Greg Nolan

    Greg Nolan enthusiast

    Your canoe did have wooden external stems, as per the build record. Those stems would have been protected by a bang plate or stem band. Here is a larger picture of our 1922 OT Ideal (built to the same AA grade specs as your canoe), which is to say, mahogany gunwales, seats, decks, and thwarts. The material of stems and keels is not usually indicated on the build records.

    cr 100_1157.jpg

    100_1069 cr 2.jpg

    The exterior stems join the keel, and the stem bands run onto the keel for a short distance past the point where the exterior stem meets the keel, except in some cases, where the brass of the stem bands would run the whole length of the keel as well, an extra cost option that would be noted on the build record.

    I am not certain of what wood is used in our exterior stems and keel because of varnish and perhaps some stain -- but it appears to be the same mahogany as elsewhere on the canoe. The exterior stems of the yellow 50 Pounder behind the Ideal in the photo above are painted, but having been stripped for restoration, are clearly oak, and the wood looks quite different than that of the Ideal's stems.
     

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