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Old Town canoe serial number 181359

Discussion in 'Traditional All-Wood Construction' started by JSRIII, Jul 11, 2019.

  1. monkitoucher

    monkitoucher Canoe Curious

    Yes, this is exactly how the outer rails are milled out. There is a rabbit on the inside that clears the plank and canvas. The top fits tight to the rib tips. when installed it will clamp the canvas and hold the canvas tacks from backing out. The profile is a bit more complex than cutting a 90* rabbit in the back of 3/4" stock. You may need to ask around for what the profile should be. I can take pics of my original rail profile. But that is off of a 1922 OTCA.
  2. OP

    JSRIII Curious about Wooden Canoes

    That would help a lot. Not having a complete albeit damaged canoe to start with makes knowing how to manufacture original pieces somewhat difficult. If I had some of the outside rail or seat frames even broken I would be able to figure out what I needed to make to get her whole again.
  3. mccloud

    mccloud "Tiger Rag" back on the tidal Potomac

    There is a whole lot of work to be done before those outwales go back on, so don't get concerned now. Start looking for an 18' spruce board now, (though scarfing a joint is possible). When it comes time to cut the outwale, which is L-shaped, set the table saw blade to around 8-10 degrees off perpendicular. THe top-side of the L sits against the rib tip, the canvas & top of planking is hidden underneath.
  4. monkitoucher

    monkitoucher Canoe Curious

    Here you go. To get the round over I used a 1/2" round-over bit.

    As far as what type of wood to use... Spruce is a good choice. It bends really well. But it's pretty soft and mars easily. I ended up going with a mixed solution with spruce on the inside and ash on the outside of my Charles River. Ash can take a beating. I usually scarf my rails because it's really hard to source 18' of ash or spruce for me. Plus if you fail (crack) one end you have to toss the rail or scarf it anyway. When I did my mahogany rails on the OTCA, I had one rail fail a couple of times. Because I got the stock in a 10' length it gave me a couple of chances to get it bent. The third time was a charm. Fortunately, spruce and ash are a bit easier to bend.

    If this all seems a little too difficult, you can order outer rails from a few of the suppliers. They aren't cheap but they come already bent and profiled.

    Also, check these out. I used them to demystify the whole process:

    Mike's Book... Really good for material information like paint and varnish. But he primarily focuses on Canadian style canoes like Chestnuts. Old Towns have some slight stylistic differences from Chestnuts that I ran into when doing my first canoe.

    Annnd this is a great resource too. Especially for Old Town details

  5. OP

    JSRIII Curious about Wooden Canoes

    I ordered both books. Thanks so much for the photos. I am a hands on kind of person and a photo makes understanding so much easier. The email from Old Town states that the outside gunwale was mahogany so I am going to try to go that route. I would like to restore her to as near original as possible. I will look to see what the shop is getting for them already made but that might take a lot of the fun out of the project. Restoring it with your own two hands offers a lot of satisfaction.

    She is temporarily residing at my gun club but I hope to bring her home today. Supposed to hit 105 here Saturday so not sure how much work I'll be doing away from the air conditioners.
  6. monkitoucher

    monkitoucher Canoe Curious

    With the mahogany rails, you'll need to soak them for at least a week.

    With the canvas does it look like mold or could it be burnt? Part of the process of putting on the canvas is to take a blow torch and burn off all the fuzz from the canvas. Maybe it doesn't have mold but is just burnt.
  7. OP

    JSRIII Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Definitely looks like mold to me. I tried cleaning a small area with Windex and it came off on the towel. The surface does not feel like virgin canvas like my white canvas Rendezvous tent. If definitely feels like it was coated with a product to fill and level the surface and stiffen it slightly similar to a painters canvas.
  8. OP

    JSRIII Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Well, it is moot at this point. I brought the canoe home and upon further examination I found what appeared to be cracks in the canvas. So based on that and the advice of a few friends and folks here, I decided that if I am going to do it right, I should probably bite the bullet and replace the canvas. I started removing it last night and there was mold on the back side as well. I also discovered some plank repair that doesn't appear on the inside. It was getting dark so not sure if it is some sort of filler or a veneer patch applied. There may also be an issue with the stem as the profile from the front with the canvas removed waivers quite a bit. There may also be evidence of a prior repair.

    So, all in all, I plan to take her down to the bones and fix everything right (or to the best of my ability) and see how it goes. Unlike many of the photos that I have seen here, online and in some of the books, I do not have a huge barn or workshop to play in. IF I can get the canoe in my shop and out of the weather it will be a tight squeeze and close working quarters. I may have to settle for storing her at night and bringing her out in the driveway to work. Photos to follow.

    Thanks again to all that have helped and offered tips and advice so far....
  9. Shari Gnolek

    Shari Gnolek Have dog, will paddle

    Do not despair!! This forum is filled with people who bought an old canoe and then found out it needed more work than expected! Why do you think everyone here is so helpful? :D

    As a person who is working on a canoe in a garage, and routinely has to move it to get the lawnmower out I'd like to offer this idea for consideration... This Old Canoe by Mike Elliot has plans for canoe cradles. They work great, unless you have to move your canoe often. I* built the cradles as he described, but then attached them with two long lengths of 2x4 that are appropriate for the length of the canoe. I also added rotating wheels that I picked up at Harbor Freight for a few dollars apiece. Then ~ and this is the really important part! ~ I made a holder for each leg of the cradle. The holders hang conveniently off nails on the cradle when I don't need the canoe to be stationary (drilled a hole through each one), but I put them under each leg to lift the wheels off the ground when I don't want the canoe to move (i.e. blow down the driveway!). This set up works great and now moving the canoe is an easy one-person job!

    Here a few photos. Good luck with the restoration!

    The general set up as I roll it around: Setup.jpeg

    View from the end with wheels visible: Wheels visible.jpeg
    Closeup of the leg holder hanging on the cradle when not in use: Closeup of wheel holder when not in use.jpeg

    Leg holder in use: Wheel holder in use.jpeg
    How it looks when the leg holders are in use and it's not blowing down the driveway! Not blowing down the driveway.jpeg

    *Disclaimer: The word I refers to the cheap contract laborer that I am married to who gratefully supports my hobby with occasional side projects!
    JSRIII and MGC like this.
  10. OP

    JSRIII Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Well, I stripped off most of the canvas and the surprises just keep coming. A lot of patching was done and it looks like the wood was thinned using a table saw as there are kerf marks on some of the pieces. The biggest issue that I see is that the patch pieces are slightly thicker than the surrounding wood and are therefore proud of the rest of the canoe.

    So my dilemma becomes whether to leave them alone, replace them or try to sand them to the same thickness. My concern with sanding is what will happen to the tack heads and if if I try to set them a little deeper first will the clinched ends start pushing through the floor of the canoe. Decisions, decisions..... 027.JPG 028.JPG 029.JPG
  11. OP

    JSRIII Curious about Wooden Canoes

    I have measured the replaced planking and it appears to be around 41 feet. I feel a strong desire to remove and replace it all as it just isn't as thin or smooth as the original wood that is on the canoe. I have emailed Northwoods Canoe Company to open a dialogue with them to see what they recommend and what materials that they have available. We shall see where this journey takes me.......
  12. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    It might be easier to find another canoe to spend your time working on. Good luck,

  13. Dave Osborn

    Dave Osborn LIFE MEMBER

    Often rather than making seats I buy them from Essex Industries.
    They are an organization that employs disabled people and their quality is great.
    I order them unfinished, save a couple bucks and stain them the way I want.
    Check them out....
    monkitoucher likes this.

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