1907 Old Town comes back to life

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Jun 12, 2012
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Appleton, Maine
My friend Dennis sent me some pictures of his Old Town canoe that he recently had restored at Salmon Falls Canoe in northern Massachusetts (http://wood-canoe.com/)
The canoe is a 1907 Old Town 15' HW (Heavy Water?, what hw stands for is debatable) and from this picture the restoration required new inwales, stem work, plus some plank and ribs....and a couple of seats, canvas, gunnels and finally varnish and paint. A big job and best left to a pro.





So after the interior is cleaned up, the rotted inwales where removed and the rot in the stem removed, it looks pretty flimsy and hard to beleive this 106 year old canoe will ever see the water again.
I like looking at other folks workbenches.



Here is Dylan installing new in wales, lots of clamps and keeping the shape of the canoe is critical.



New ribs drying



New stem and inwales being formed


Now the canoe is taking form, new inwales and stems, new decks, ribs and soon some new plank to fill in the empty spots.


Into the paint room and some new varnish




The finished product. Dennis assured me that at our next canoe in deer hunt, he will put some scratches on that nice paint and some fish guts and deer blood on the pretty floor!

 
Joined
Dec 1, 2012
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Altoona, Pennsylvania
Robin,

Thanks for showing this before and after sequence of repairs. I'm always astounded at how these boats are brought back to life. I saw some real beat up canoes at Stewart River Boatworks when I picked up my Prospector. I treat that boat the same as my composites and royalex canoes when tripping and it takes a real beating. I don't have any good place to work on a canoe. Its nice to know that if she gets too far gone, I can hand her off to a place similar to Salmon Falls Canoe for repair before going a few more rounds. I probably won't wait until it gets to the condition that this boat was in though.

Barry
 
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Feb 1, 2013
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Damn, that almost made me weep! I've got a question...how is all the old varnish removed so nicely? Certainly not by just sanding?
 
Joined
Dec 1, 2012
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Altoona, Pennsylvania
I bought this canoe in 2005 for $50 from a guy in Cooperstown, NY

That's sweet! I gotta keep my eye out. Last Saturday after a day of Class IV kayaking, I found myself at local pub restaurant owned by one of the rafting companies. As I waited for my grilled salmon and sipped my beer, I carefully reviewed from my seat four wooden canoes high on the walls. Three were in need of similar repairs, but one, one was a a red Chestnut that looked (from the floor at least) to be ready for month long trip straight off the wall. I always sit on the opposite side of the room and never really noticed that one....might offer the owner $50 the next time up there patronizing the place.:)

Nice boat Dennis.

Barry
 
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"I'm really looking forward to packing her up with my canvas tent, woodstove and furs this Fall and getting her back on the water where she belongs."

My favorite type of tripping! What a beautiful boat to transport you through the water and back in time.
 
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Feb 1, 2013
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Ontario
Thanks for posting these Robin. Always enjoy seeing a salvageable canoe reborn for proper usage instead of hacked up for bookshelves. $50! What a bargain for such a heritage piece! Enjoy her out there Dennis.
 
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Dec 7, 2011
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Maryland, USA
What happens when the top of the ribs are rotted ? Does the whole rib get replaced or is there a way to scarf a new tip on?
Curious,
Dave
 
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Jun 12, 2012
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Appleton, Maine
You can scarf a new rib tip on to a rib, some folks have done it so well it's hard to tell. I bet some folks have even removed some of all of the tips if alot of them are rotted, so the canoe is not as deep. I replaced about a dozen tips on my Pal, some up to 5" long, but most are hidden under the inwale and gunnel.
 
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Jan 31, 2013
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Warren, Manitoba
Uhuh, 25 rib tips on my present project and 5 ribs, plus half the stems. Lovely boat Dennis, it sure would be nice if we could get vintage boats like that up here.
 
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