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New Boat, new member seeking help identifying make, etc and more!

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by Red Merle, Jun 22, 2019.

  1. Red Merle

    Red Merle Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Hi All,

    I am new to the forum but I have been a canoe enthusiast for most of my life. I used to have a 16' Old Town Guide from the early 60's but I had to sell it years ago because I lost my indoor storage and the boat was degrading to a point where I couldn't justify keeping it so I sent it to a better home.

    My life situation has changed significantly since then and I now have the means and space to work on and own another wood canvas canoe. I was looking for something big enough for two decent sized people, a week's worth or gear and room for the dog and this boat fit the bill.

    That said, I am not sure what I just bought. I think it's an Old Town Otca 18 footer but I am not entirely sure since the guy I bought it from had very little knowledge. If it is an Otca, it might be from before 1920 since it doesn't use the diamond shaped bolts for the seats and thwarts.

    I have a bunch of questions about how I should proceed, but I was hoping someone might be able to help me get started by confirming what we have here.

    Any help would be appreciated!
     

    Attached Files:

  2. OP
    OP
    Red Merle

    Red Merle Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Almost 100% certain that the Old Town badge is not original but it does have the numbers 1913 stamped into it, which might be the year it was built if my other ideas are on the right track.
     
  3. MGC

    MGC Paddlephile

    The search feature on this site is pretty good. You will find some information has already been posted about boat 25099. Here is a link that may interest you.
    http://www.wcha.org/forums/index.php?threads/information-for-old-town-25099-18.11255/#post-58056

    Or is that 25098, or 25095?
    The stem numbers are not stamped into the stem...it looks like the stem has been replaced. Factory stems have the numbers stamped into the wood, not engraved. Check the other stem to see if the numbers are stamped. That should confirm if it is the same boat.
    The tag that is attached to your deck is not one that would have been used in 1913. This one is the style that should be present.http://www.wcha.org/store/old-town-deck-decal-1906-1954
    It should be a waterslide decal, not a plate. Those plates are quite modern and were sold at the Old Town store.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2019
    Red Merle likes this.
  4. OP
    OP
    Red Merle

    Red Merle Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Thank you! I think it is 25099 but the other stem has the same type of engraving which was one of the things that made me think it wasn't an Old Town.

    I think this boat has had some work done to it at some point. The planking is all in good shape, but the stems might have been replaced or they were sanded down when they re-finished the inside of the boat. I can't tell if this was the original canvas but it seems like it was a light blue color and also the green at one point but the green appears to be after the light blue.

    Do you think the wood filler spots that cover all the nail holes on the exterior are original?

    As for prep for new canvas, I think all I am going to do is coat it with linseed oil and let it dry as the hull seems pretty smooth and if the wood filler is original, why mess with it?

    Also, do I have to re-install a keel? I don't really need it for ramming into things or tracking(if that even helps) but I would keep it if it adds any significant strength to the hull. The one that was on there was a three piece unit so I can't imaging it was doing a lot in that regard. Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2019
  5. MGC

    MGC Paddlephile

    It has clearly been worked on...those rail tips were replaced.
    Tack divets are not typically filled....you bang em in and leave a dimple. There's no harm in a hammer head dimple. If anything it's what you like to see...it means whoever tacked the boat was on and had the hammer really doing it's job to clinch the tacks. When the tack heads are close to the surface (no dimple) then you need to think about doing a lot of re-clinching. You do need to check them before you canvas...you don't want tacks pushing up from under your new canvas.
    To each their own WRT linseed oil on the hull. If you use straight oil be sure to heat it and apply it warm.
    I apply a mixture of linseed oil, turpentine and mineral spirits. I mix it about 60/20/20 and carefully heat it to a boil (it's flammable) before applying it. Unlike the linseed oil, this blend actually dries. Linseed oil tends to remain sticky.
    Other folks use tongue oil, varnish etc..
     
    Red Merle likes this.
  6. OP
    OP
    Red Merle

    Red Merle Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Yes, the rail tips were another question mark. Whomever did the work didn't appear to replace any of the planking, and everything seems to fit rather well, but not 100% perfect.

    I will try out the mix you recommended, I think I want to do something to it since it's pretty dry. Not sure if it will help, but I won't be able to change my mind once the canvas is on.
     
  7. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    Welcome, this canoe has clearly had some extensive repairs so now it is hard to know what it was originally. An Old Town factory serial number stamp from a similar canoe is shown below. Canvas typically lasts about 25 years in normal use so this one is not likely to be original. Look for extra tack holes in the hull where the other canvases were attached. The wood filler over the nail holes is not original and typically not necessary as MGC mentioned. See https://www.wcha.org/forums/index.php?threads/14558/ and other similar posts for more about linseed oil on a hull. Keels are a personal preference so feel free to leave it off if you like it that way. This is another topic that has been frequently discussed here before. Good luck with the restoration,

    Benson



    25298.jpg
     
    Red Merle likes this.
  8. OP
    OP
    Red Merle

    Red Merle Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Thanks for the advice on the boat!

    The stamping that Benson showed was what my Guide had which is why I was thinking it might be another make, maybe a Thompson because that name came up in the course of my conversation with the seller and they were a WI manufacturer and I have seen a few of them around but I can't find anything that says they made an 18 footer.

    I am not too concerned about knowing every last detail of the canoe(it's not going into a museum, I fully intend to paddle the snot out of this boat and because it has had work done to it before. I am sure that affects the value. I paid $600 for the boat and I am hoping to get it back on the water for around $1000, all in) but I do think the serial number that was engraved into it does jive with the build slip that was shared. I did find a few bits of the original canvas and it was dark green. My guess is that whomever repaired the boat in the past just engraved the serial number that was originally stamped on the stems. I also found a few copper nails in the planking that nails to the stems and that would also make sense if they needed to replace the stems and patch the deck at that time.

    I just got done sanding and using the linseed oil mixed with turpentine and mineral spirits. It soaked up about a quart in a hurry!

    I would also like a bit of advice on replacing the last plank section that would be under the outwale. It seems structurally decent but you can see there have been at least two prior re-canvas jobs done and I am wondering if the next set of tacks will still hold as well?

    I could replace those pretty easily, but sourcing the lumber might be the tricky part. I can get Western Red Cedar but it has been kiln dried and I have some old redwood that I could use, but I am not sure I can find a white cedar board to rip down and if I don't need to do the work, I would rather just skip it since it does seem fairly sound for such a thin piece of planking.

    I took a couple pics of the area I am referring to. Thoughts?
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jun 22, 2019
  9. MGC

    MGC Paddlephile

    Take my advice with a grain of salt...there are other folks that would approach things differently than I do.
    I would remove those narrow boards and replace them. They've seen their good days gone. Before replacing them I'd be looking at the rib tips and decide if they need some attention. If that planking is so filled with holes the ribs must be almost as bad. You need the rib tips to be in decent shape in order to get the new plank, the canvas and then the outside rails to hold. Once you get a look you can decide on how you'll repair them...perhaps some glue mixed with sawdust or a wood filler. Some may require rib tip replacements.... Suddenly replaced stems make sense.
    You should be able to rip that old red cedar into a useable plank...it's a narrow piece. Since red cedar tends towards brittle you might pre-drill before tacking it in place. Luckily that's a flat piece so it should be easy for you to repair. I punch small holes into planking using a small brad (as a drill) in my drill. Hold your clinching iron tightly up against the inside rail when you hammer the tacks in. The "pro job" requires you to hold at least half a mouthful of tacks in your mouth while you work.. grain of salt.
    You should be able to get it back in the water for less than a thousand dollars... canvas, tacks, filler, paint, varnish, tools if you don't have them should include a tack hammer, a clinching iron and a small nail/tack puller... you should be able to get it done for much less if you don't add up your time.
    Paddle it like you stole it.... a wood and canvas canoe that you can use without worrying about every little ding, that's something everyone should experience. We tend to baby them once they are restored but they were built to be used. My Morris has been on lot's of trips. I've dropped it on a carry...it's none the worse for wear. If it starts to get too rough I'll repair it again.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2019
    Red Merle likes this.
  10. Dan Miller

    Dan Miller cranky canoeist Staff Member

    Thompson did make eighteen-foot canoes, but yours isn't a Thompson. Among other things, the planking pattern is not done in the Thompson style.
     
    Red Merle likes this.
  11. Dave Osborn

    Dave Osborn LIFE MEMBER

    It sure looks like an Old Town to me. What does the record for 25098 tell us?
    As I look closer at the serial number, it looks as if what may have been originally a 18 (length) has been changed to a 98. That suggests the serial number was sanded or worn off, leaving the 18 that was crudely etched in as 98 to recreate the serial number
     
  12. OP
    OP
    Red Merle

    Red Merle Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Thanks for the replies! So, I decided that I am going to try to not replace the small sections of planking that are showing wear. I used a syringe to pump a little Gorilla Glue into each hole left by the previous tacks that were used to secure the canvas and also to shore up some of the cracks in that plank. The main reason I am trying to avoid pulling that piece off is because I don't want to damage the ribs when I pull the old tacks out since they were likely clinched in and pulling them may just result in more holes that need work and I am trying to keep the "mission creep" to a minimum since I want to get the boat back on the water by the end of July for a trip I have planned. I think this will work since the glue is strong but it's also soft enough to accept having new tacks installed without splitting the way using epoxy might have. I guess we will see...

    I do have another question though. I ordered 8 yards of #10 canvas from Big Duck because it was a lot more affordable(roughly half the price) than going with the canvas that Island Falls sells, however, I am concerned about the lack of any sort of mildew/fungicide in the canvas I ordered. I was planning on buying my filler, bedding compound, tacks, screws, decal, stem bands, etc from them though but I am wondering if I should cancel the canvas order and bite the bullet to get the canvas that has the mildewcide impregnated into it, or if the linseed oil mix I used along with the filler is sufficient? I tried searching on this topic and the answers are a little murky. What is the current thought on that? The boat will be stored in my garage which is dry, if that helps.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2019
  13. Howie

    Howie Wooden Canoe Maniac

    I use a mildew/fungicide I get from our local hardware store. Called M-1 I believe, though there are other makers as well. It comes in a small bottle and meant to treat 1 gallon. Mix it well with the 'mud' that you use to treat your canvas. Make sure that the type you buy can be used with oil based products.
     
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  14. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    The Old Town build record for serial number 25098 is for a 15 foot long fifty pound model as shown below so that isn't a good match if this one is 18 feet long.

    Benson



    25098.jpg
     
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  15. Greg Nolan

    Greg Nolan enthusiast

    You are leaving yourself very little margin for trial and error given the time you are limiting yourself to -- the curing (not jut drying) of traditional filler typically takes 3 or more weeks after application, and paint typically takes several days to cure (not just cry) on a newly-filled hull -- maybe insufficient time even without any error.
    Paint and filler that have not cured sufficiently to not provide the same protection that fully cured materials do, and can themselves be more easily damaged. See the discusssions at:

    http://forums.wcha.org/index.php?threads/paint-drying-time.16276/

    http://forums.wcha.org/index.php?threads/canvas-fillers.14814/#post-74785

    http://forums.wcha.org/index.php?threads/why-1st-paint-coat-takes-longer-to-dry.13325/#post-67727
     
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  16. OP
    OP
    Red Merle

    Red Merle Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Thanks Greg, I agree with that analysis and I am on a "best case scenario" timeline, but I won't rush the boat in order to meet that deadline which is July 25th . I am aware of the time frame for the filler to cure and I know it will take at least a week for the paint to cure, but if I can get the boat canvassed this week or weekend, I might still make it. otherwise, I have a back-up boat that I can put my folks in, but it would be neat if they could take the maiden voyage in it(they are in their 70's and I guess you don't know how many more chances for this type of thing you'll get. :))

    I can get fans going in my shop, but I may not direct them directly on the hull, which should speed drying time but I'll have to be careful to be sure I am getting uniform drying rather than just forming a skin that doesn't allow for the material below to cure properly. The good news is that the climate in my area lends itself well for paint and body type work and I have quite a bit of experience in that regard as I have done extensive work on the Land Cruiser that I showed in my photos and most of that turned out really well.
     
  17. OP
    OP
    Red Merle

    Red Merle Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Just got everything ordered. Decided to go with the Kirby filler and their Bottle Green paint in gloss. I was going to go with Dark Blue, but I think this will look nice against the mahogany and the somewhat garish poly/stain job that the previous owner did(it's in too good of condition to justfy stripping it off, but I might lightly sand it and switch to more of a satin finish when I do the outwale.).

    I plan on spraying the paint and primer which should give a nice finish.
     
  18. OP
    OP
    Red Merle

    Red Merle Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Made some progress. I got the hull soaked in the linseed oil/turpentine/mineral spirits blend and allowed it to dry. Fixed a few little spots on the planking with new white cedar and then used the come along with "clothespin" style clamps that I made on the table saw and router table and chain. Turned out really nice but I did have to spend some time on the stem area to get everything stretched taut properly with no scallops as this canoe has a very curved stem.

    Next is adding the filler and the paint and final assembly.
     

    Attached Files:

  19. OP
    OP
    Red Merle

    Red Merle Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Few more of the stems. I ran into an issue with the tacks that held the ends of the planking to the stems popping out when I tacked the canvas to them. The starboard side stern was bad enough that I decided to glue the tacks in once I had them holding again. I might end up regretting that I didn't do all of them, but it was too late to do anything about it except for the last section. The canvas is tensioned properly though and that should help keep them in place, even if you end up seeing a few down the road.
     

    Attached Files:

  20. monkitoucher

    monkitoucher Canoe Curious

    Nice work! Noticing the ring nails along the stem sitting a little proud. You can leave them proud but you will really need to take care to not sand through the canvas. You can drive them in after the canvas is on. But again you will need to be careful not to put holes in the canvas. Or another option, you could try to build up the filler along the stems there. The extra material may buy you some fairing material to cover them. Some guys take filler from the bottom of the pail and sculpt up that area to cover the seam and smooth everything out. I've done it prior to filling the rest of the hull with pretty good results.
     
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