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Old town Guide 18ft model offsets

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by Patrick Doty, Feb 17, 2005.

  1. Patrick Doty

    Patrick Doty Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Does anyone out there have a table of offsets for an old town guide 18 ft model?
  2. Rollin Thurlow

    Rollin Thurlow member since 1980

    I bet there are builders out there with the offsets but I doubt if anyone will volunteer the information. The Old Town Company is still very much in busness and they would not look kindly at anyone reproducing their canoes or providing information to do so.
  3. OP
    Patrick Doty

    Patrick Doty Curious about Wooden Canoes

    non-profit group....

    I figured that somewhat.....but what if it was a non-profit orginization using it for personal use? I tried to contact someone at old town to talk about it....but they never returned my call. I actually have your book and like the lines of the atikison traveler that you have in the back. How does that compare to the old town?
  4. Rollin Thurlow

    Rollin Thurlow member since 1980

    It dosn't matter who, why or how the plans would be used the situation would be the same, Unless you had Old Town's permission and it appears that you already have their answer!
    Well of course the Atkinsone Traveler is much more usefull, more handsome, carry more, faster, stronger and lighter, turns tighter and even loads its self on your car rack, compaired to that ugly old Old Town-- but maybe I'm not a fair judge!
    both canoes are designed to about the same things but of course the Old Town being slight larger can carry a slightly larger load.
  5. OP
    Patrick Doty

    Patrick Doty Curious about Wooden Canoes


    If we built your canoe would we need to purchase plans from you to make it leagal? The old towns are indeed large but our wood canvas canoes are usually paddled by the guides, and carry a duffer and gear so extra capacity is very beneficial. We have seligas and chesnuts but they dont even come close to the speed or agility when flully loaded for 21 day canoe trips. Have u paddled old towns exstensively?

    I have built a freedom 17 stripper and this will be my first wood canvas, but i was always an avid paddler before builder.
  6. John Greer

    John Greer LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Patrick I grew up around Old Towns and now have built three of Rollin's AT. (Grandson's all eventually will probably have one as I have four). Am about to start another one and will probably give one to my son as I have one of my own that I use. It's a great large capacity canoe. You shouldn't have any problem carrying plenty of gear with two paddlers. I'd compare it favorably to one of Old Towns 18 footers any day. Very sleek in the water and works especially well with weight. Old Towns are great canoes but you're also buying the name. Still if I had the chance to pick up an old one to restore I would but the only wood/canvas canoes I've ever seen where I've lived in the west for the past 28 years are my own. Good luck.
  7. mark wismer

    mark wismer WCHA Member

    two 16 ' canoes & a staton wagon

    Two 16' canoes, My Otca and a plastic rental and a '68 chevelle wagon. Late 70's most frame tents were canvas w/ 1' galvanized frames. four people, three across the front seat and one burried in the back seat; rest of the car filled to the roof. I could not look out the rear view mirror. Backed up to the ramp & emptied the car into the two 16 foot canoes & paddled out into Round Valley Res. in NJ to a 'wilderness campsite'. It's possible to carry alot in most canoes...I don't know what I'd do w/ another two feet in the canoe unless I was tripping.

    I remember seeing a large canoe w/ three padlers in canada; looked like they had enough gear to build a tent city!
  8. OP
    Patrick Doty

    Patrick Doty Curious about Wooden Canoes

    we specialize in wilderness tripping in the bwca and canada, as well as the artic. Our long trips range from 21 days to 45.....its a bit different than than goign to one campsite. we travel hundreds of miles on these trips.....
  9. paulfredricks

    paulfredricks Too Many Hobbies

    For some strange reason I thought Mark meant another type of tripping.

  10. Giiwedin

    Giiwedin Gouvernail

    I paddled Old Town 18' guides 1,400 miles from Lake Athabasca to Chesterfield Inlet on Hudson's Bay. For large waters and that long a trip (10 weeks), the standard Guide (12") is too shallow. We increased our depth by 2" and that was perfect (although it makes a very deep canoe for ordinary recreational use). It's a boat designed for shallower NE streams (flat bottom), but works suprisingly well on big lakes with a keel. I'm sure there are better designs for long-trips these days (Rollin's among them), but the Old Towns were sturdy and dependable canoes even in the roughest conditions.

    The picture above-left is one of the deepened Old Towns on a calm Wholdaia Lake, NWT.
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2005
  11. OP
    Patrick Doty

    Patrick Doty Curious about Wooden Canoes

    does anyone knwo the carrying capacity of a seliga, Old town guide 18ft, and the atkinson traveler?
  12. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    The information at lists the capacity of the 18 foot Guide's model at 736 pounds. Page 24 of the 1974 Old Town Canoe catalog stated, "Some regulating agencies have established formulas that limit the number of persons and/or total loading capacities of canoes. Old Town believes that a combination of canoeist's experience, type of canoe, and water-weather conditions, rather than arbitrary formulas, is the best guide in such matters." Your mileage may vary...

  13. Dan Lindberg

    Dan Lindberg Ex Wood Hoarder


    For your pleasure. :)
    Some numbers, (note that some are estimated).


    Length Depth W Ext W Gun Weight

    OT HW 18 13 35 34 85
    OT Guide 18 13 36 35 85
    Seliga 17 13/14 37 36.5 85
    Atkinson 17 1/2 13/14 35 5/8 35 75

    Sorry Pat, this site loses the formatting/spaces but just read the numbers in order.
  14. Giiwedin

    Giiwedin Gouvernail

    How much can you haul?

    A lot. I once put 875 pounds (people, duffle and dogs) into the deepend 18' OT Guide. We had about 6" of freeboard, but it was very obviously overloaded and handled like a scow in the water. For wilderness travel I wouldn't expect you'd exceed 600 pounds often, if at all. That's two 180 pound paddlers and three 75 pound packs plus fishing gear. :)
  15. Paul Scheuer

    Paul Scheuer LOVES Wooden Canoes

    This thread seems to have evolved into a chummy chat about great adventures and load carrying capacity without resolving the first or at least the second question regarding ownership of designs. I would have expected more of a response from this community. Rollin shouldn't be the having to argue the point.

    My understanding is that whoever builds the boat, for whatever noble purpose, needs to have the designer's permission. That permission usually comes as a result of a payment. Of course, everyone is free to design their own boat, and build as many as they want, and get a feel for why it is that designs are property with value.
  16. Giiwedin

    Giiwedin Gouvernail

    Read the thread again. Rollin made the point succinctly and well: you can't steal someone else's design. People may do it, but it's almost always wrong (legally and ethically).

    Almost. As to modern canoes Rollin is absolutely correct, no exceptions. However, many of the classic designs by late 19th - early 20th century builders have now passed into the public domain and may be copied without permission. For example, designs by Rushton, English, Peterborough, Morris and E. M. White have very probably lost all legal protection. That is why you can puchase reproductions (and very fine ones at that) of a Rushton Indian Girl, Morris 17 or E. M. White's Guide by modern craftsmen such as Rollin Thurlow and Gerry Stelmok. I haven't researched the issue closely, but I'd be surprised if the design for the Old Town 18' Guide (developed at about the same time as E. M. White's Guide) weren't also in the public domain. The same may also be true for the ubiquitous Peterborough/Chestnut Prospector. So, maybe you can legally copy them - maybe. But even if you could, is it ethical? As for defunct companies (Rushton, English and the like), where there is no risk of economic harm to the long-gone designer, it would be hard to make a case that copying is unethical. For the few original companies that remain in business today - most notably Old Town - I think it's much more complicated. Just don't expect Old Town to help you in the process.

    For myself, I try to support a company like Old Town by buying its products where I can. Regardless what you might think about Old Town's commercialism today, the fact that a huge conglomorate is still crafting wooden canoes is a minor miracle. So I say don't cop the design for an 18' Guide, buy the canoe from Old Town. Just skip the fiberglass.

    And, sorry for the "chummy chat."
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2005
  17. Giiwedin

    Giiwedin Gouvernail

    You need to distinguish between trade names and copyrighted designs. Trade names such as Old Town, E.M. White, Chestnut, etc., which remain viable in today's marketplace, are afforded legal protection in their own right. The products they sell, however, are subject to a different legal protection. If the design of an Old Town 18' Guide has passed into the public domain, Old Town Canoe Company can sell it as such but has no right to prevent anyone else from copying that design.

    The fact that you own the forms for a Chestnut or White canoe has nothing to do with ownership of the design itself.

    Even if you may legally copy the design for, say, a Chestnut Prospector, you can't sell it to the unsuspecting public as an "Chestnut Canoe". Why? Because that might lead to confusion about who actually built it, you or the current owner of the rights to the Chestnut Canoe Company name. Nor can you pass off your fiberglassed 18' guide stripper as an "Old Town canoe" because people might think it was actually made by the Old Town Canoe Company. That's the difference between trade name protection and copyrighted design protection. When Gerry Stelmok sells an exact replica of the 18 1/2' E. M. White Guide he puts a plaque on the bow deck identifying it as an Island Falls Canoe. Just so there is no doubt in the marketplace whether E. M. White or Gerry Stelmok built it. That's true even thought the design for that canoe has almost certainly passed into the public domain.

    Consider this as an informal background. If you're planning on copying a particular canoe, consult your lawyer for up-to-date legal advice.
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2005
  18. Larry Meyer

    Larry Meyer Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    Robert, it seems to me you’re more than halfway toward writing an article for Wooden Canoe about this subject and that would be good contribution to the WCHA’s membership.

    One of the things Jerry and Rollin’s books opened up for the WCHA was this whole business of do-it-yourself building and restoration. However, this kind of blurred the line between amateurs and professionals. So amateurs who might slide over into “mass” production need some help figuring out what is ethical and legal, what is a copyright design and what is trade name.

    There can be gray areas. For example, at one point Chestnut had a Canadian patent on wood-canvas canoes, I seem to recall. To the unwary, it could appear Chestnut “invented” the wood-canvas canoe, which is not true. The patent was unenforceable and allowed to lapse, but it seems for a time Chestnut could have stopped anyone in Canada from making a wood-canvas canoe, unless they paid Chestnut a fee. Another example, maybe. I recall reading about how one of the early synthetic makers cast the first mold from a Grumman. Was any fee paid for borrowing the hull design?

    Chestnut’s Prospector is a good example of a canoe design that, because it acquired a reputation, had value. Practically speaking, no canoe design is worth all that much unless it gets a reputation. The Atkinson Traveler is another. On the other hand consider “Old Town Guide” canoe. It really has two parts. “Old Town” means something, reputation wise. But “guide” canoe is a pretty generic term and I doubt there’s all that much difference between Old Town’s “guide canoe” and a dozen others.

    Those who design canoes do have some rights, legal and ethical, to have their creations and reputations protected. But almost every innovator and inventor is indebted to a prior anonymous collective effort. Who invented the car? The Wrights and Glen Martin sparred vigorously for years over credit for inventing the airplane and many Europeans still don’t credit the Wright Brothers.

    Anyway it seems you’ve made a good start on setting out these issues and putting them down in Wooden Canoe would be a service to all.
  19. Dan Lindberg

    Dan Lindberg Ex Wood Hoarder

    I didn't really want to step in but....

    Just what is the definition of "passed into public domain".

    It would seem to me that if a company was manufacturing and selling a given product, it shouldn't matter how long they had been doing it, that they should still have/retain the rights to that product.

    In this case, OT and the Guide (design), which they have been making (reportedly unchanged) for many years, and still offer to this day.

    Might even argue that the Chestnut designs, sense there "appears" to be a continuous string of "ownership", should be protected.

    Not that it matters, just curious.

  20. Giiwedin

    Giiwedin Gouvernail

    I don't want to get into detail, but the basic legal notion is that every invention is entitled to protection for a limited period of time. That's what "copyright" means - that the invention owner controls the right to copy. After the relevant period expires, the invention "passes into the public domain" and all legal protections lapse. Thereafter, anyone can copy without obtaining permission. So nobody owns his/her invention forever.

    For example, Beethoven and his heirs have no rights over Symphony No. 5 - which passed into the public domain long ago - and it may be played by any orchestra without getting permission or paying a license fee; similarly, the fact that the NY Philharmonic has played the 5th regularly for 125 years doesn't confer any right on NYP to prevent the Chicago Symphony from playing it. Today, nobody owns the 5th as such.

    The "design" of a canoe is an invention. A physical replica of that canoe, a form or line take-off are all copies of that design. Years of manufacture by the initial owner of an invention is not relevant to copyright protection - although it may give rise to different legal rights such as trade-name. Once the copyright is lost through passage of time - whether the invention has been manufactured a lot or not at all- it's gone. So Old Town's making its 18' Guide for over 100 years confers no rights to control copying of that design if the legal period has in fact expired. Remember, however, that even in those circumstances Old Town could still exercise legal rights if a home builder tried to market his "guide" as an "Old Town".

    Finally, copyright protection is a matter of federal statutory law in the United States. Canadian copyright law may, and probably is, different in a variety of respects. Most countries have also signed copyright treaties to provide for international protection of inventions. Consult your lawyer before you copy a canoe to be sure it's legal. Consult your conscience on whether it's ethical.

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