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OTCA Color Scheme Design #4 - How They Do It ?

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by jenshenliu, Sep 3, 2010.

  1. jenshenliu

    jenshenliu Curious about Wooden Canoes

    My 1967 OTCA 16 was sold and later bought back with new white paint, but without the original color scheme Design #4 (Indian pattern). I am ready to repaint those red / blue triangles. It is logical to think Old Town must have an efficient way for the paint job. Does anyone know how the triangles were painted in the factory, or how other canoe restorers do it?


  2. Greg Nolan

    Greg Nolan enthusiast

  3. Greg Nolan

    Greg Nolan enthusiast


    There are a number of variations on design no. 4 -- some orthodox, and some not so.

    Attached Files:

  4. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    The factory had a collection of cardboard triangles that were sized to match the different gunwale lengths on each model of canoe. The triangles helped to rough it out but there was still a lot of time adjusting to make it all fit and look right. Sponsons made it even much more difficult. The Wooden Canoe Journal issue number 117 from June, 2003 has an article about this design and how it changed over time.

    There is no 'efficient way' to create this design. A design number four typically increased the price of a canoe by twenty to thirty percent. Old Town's wooden canoes currently list for over $7000 so this design would probably add about $2000 if they still offered it today.

    I worked with a graphic designer who thought that some computer generated plastic templates would simplify the creation of a design number four on my 1936 Otca with sponsons. This idea was quickly abandoned once it became clear that each triangle is a slightly different shape due to all of the compound curves. I ended up using a cardboard triangle to rough it out in pencil and then simply adjusted the difficult parts until it looked right to me. There was a good original picture of the canoe to work from as shown at but it still took a long time. I am happy with the results at although it is far from perfect.

    There is a canoe currently listed at on eBay and one at with other variations of this design. The one at and shown in the images attached below appears to be an example of a factory version on an 18 foot long Otca with sponsons from 1966 which might be a good starting point for your project.

    Please reply here if you have other questions and attach pictures to show how your efforts come out. Good luck,


    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Sep 5, 2010

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