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Old Town Canoe Grades

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by JessicaBella0187, Jul 5, 2018.

  1. JessicaBella0187

    JessicaBella0187 New Member

    I am sure this is not a new thread but I was unable to locate what I was looking for.
    How do you tell the difference in canoe grades? I have a CS grade which I assume is basic. What are the other grades and are there photos available?
  2. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    Old Town used a number of different grades over the years. The first Indian Old Town Canoe Company catalog from 1901 listed an grades A. A. and B. B. along with a utility grade known as a "Guides' Special" (or just G. S. in later years). The 1902 Robertson and Old Town Canoe Company catalog replaced the B. B. with a C. S. grade. The letters stood for "Common Sense" and the chart at shows that more than half of their canoes were built this way over the next half century. The AA grade was discontinued in 1957 and the GS grade only lasted until 1944. The image at has the description of the top two grades from the 1935 catalog.

    The obvious differences are that the AA grade typically had all mahogany rails and trim while the CS grade would have lighter colored woods. Canoes built after the grades were discontinued usually had mahogany outside gunwales and spruce inside gunwales so these will often be mistakenly identified as AA grade. See,, and for some examples of AA grade canoes. See for an example of a CS grade canoe and for a GS grade. The one at was made well after the grades were eliminated. This information has also been added to in the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). Let me know if this doesn't answer your question.

    Last edited: Jul 5, 2018

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