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Old town keel board stamps

Discussion in 'Serial Number Search' started by Tom Little, Jul 27, 2020.

  1. Tom Little

    Tom Little Got canvas

    Do all wood canvas Old Towns have a stamp on the keel board? I have an Old Town with a stamp and an identical one with no stamp.
    Thanks for any information.
     
  2. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    All Old Towns have serial number stamps but the locations changed over time so this may depend on your definition of a "keel board" in some cases. See https://www.wcha.org/forums/index.php?threads/791/ for more details and examples. Many builders made similar boats so it may take other details to identify yours. Let me know if this doesn't answer your question.

    Benson
     
  3. OP
    OP
    Tom Little

    Tom Little Got canvas

    Other builders used Old Town type fasteners?
     
  4. OP
    OP
    Tom Little

    Tom Little Got canvas

    Wherever you go, there you are
     
  5. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    What types of fasteners are you seeing? Old Town was the largest builder using diamond headed bolts but these were frequently used in repairs on boats from other builders.

    Benson
     
  6. Rob Stevens

    Rob Stevens Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    Seems like you answered your own question. If indeed the canoes you are referring to are actually "Old Towns".
     
  7. OP
    OP
    Tom Little

    Tom Little Got canvas

    I'm seeing Old Town fasteners.
     
  8. Michael Grace

    Michael Grace Lifetime Member

    Hi Tom. The good folks here are simply asking for a little more information in order to provide answers to your questions.

    I don't think any of us know what's meant by "Old Town fasteners". Old Town Canoe Co., like a very large number of other canoe builders, used canoe tacks, nails, wood screws of various lengths and diameters, machine screws, fin-neck bolts, other kinds of bolts, and still other fasteners. They used them at various times and places in brass, copper, bronze and/or steel. Among all of these possibilities the only thing that I believe is uniquely Old Town Canoe Co. are the diamond-head bolts that Benson mentioned. And as Benson mentioned, these diamond-head bolts can be found on canoes from other makers because the bolts could be purchased or scavenged for repairs, restorations and even new builds.

    You mention two identical canoes, but are they truly identical? I suppose you believe one is an Old Town because it is labeled as such? The other may or may not be an Old Town. And whether or not it is, serial numbers stamped into the wood could have been accidentally or purposefully removed. This is known to have happened.
     
  9. OP
    OP
    Tom Little

    Tom Little Got canvas

    I'll get some pictures. The mystery canoe has the diamond head fasteners. But as you said, that alone might not be enough to call it Old Town. And I could see why the the serial number would have been removed, people are known to steal things. Thank you for your patience.
    Tom
     
  10. Dave Osborn

    Dave Osborn LIFE MEMBER

    Tom,
    The keel board with stamps that you mention may be better known as the stem.
    Old Town Canoe Company stamped the serial number on the stems.
    I had a Old Town with no serial number once. The stems were original. I suspect it was an employee build.
    Sometimes there could be an Old Town sans serial number if the stem was replaced.
     
  11. OP
    OP
    Tom Little

    Tom Little Got canvas

    This canoe has iron diamond head fasteners
    Pine inner gunnels.
    Looks like ash deck, thwart, and seat frames. Could be oak, but it sure looks like ash.
    After applying some stripper and cleaning the stem, there are faint remnants of a stamp. My guess it was sanded off due to mischief.
    Here are the pictures
     

    Attached Files:

  12. Dave Osborn

    Dave Osborn LIFE MEMBER

    Old Town. Post 1940 based on machine woven cane.
    Spruce inwales rather than pine.
    Agree that decks are likely ash, which was more common than oak, although they did use oak.
    If you can make out the numbers, you should be able to confirm.
    Numbers are stamped on both stems.
     
  13. OP
    OP
    Tom Little

    Tom Little Got canvas

    I can't make out enough numbers to get a full serial number.
     
  14. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    The "trick" to getting a number off of a stem is to do a pencil rub. Use a soft pencil and a thermal print register receipt. Lay the receipt over the hard to read numbers and gently rub the side of the pencil lead over it. You should be able to get something from it even if it's really faint.
     
  15. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    I agree with Dave and MGC's comments. The suggestions at https://www.wcha.org/forums/index.php?threads/791/ may help you piece together a complete number from the remains on each end. I may be able to find the correct number even if you are missing one digit. The diamond headed bolts look like bronze in these pictures. If they are really galvanized steel then that will narrow the build date range. Good luck,

    Benson
     

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