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1950 Old Town Yankee 16' Canoe

Jul 31, 2011
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Aberdeen, MD
posted this same thing earlier, over on another site:

Mwaahahahaha! It is finally mine!

I am a huge wood/canvas canoe fan. For years, I have had to borrow one from my uncle (a 1944 OT 15' canoe), and absolutely loved every minute of paddling it. I built my own 'stitch and glue' canoe, and have plans for a cedar stripper to keep down here in LA.

Thursday night, I was toodling around the internet when I ran into an ad for a 1950 Old Town Yankee 16' Canoe for what I thought was a very affordable price. The canoe was located outside a small country town within driving distance of my parents and other relatives in NY. I've seen them go in the $2000-$3000 range, and that's way beyond my reach. We'll call all this coincidence #1. It had been listed since the previous weekend. When I called, the lady was very nice, and stunned me with the news that she'd not had any bites yet. I don't know. Maybe it's too cold to be thinking about canoeing in NY just yet, or the economy is so bad no one can afford to buy anything. We chatted a bit, and, coincidence #2, her son lives here in LA not 45 miles from me... figure the odds, huh?

So I called my cousin/camping/boy scout buddy and told him about it (his dad is the owner of the canoe I've borrowed). Without prompting, he offered to go check it out this morning (which is kinda what I was going to ask him to do anyway). Coincidence #3? The owner is 4 doors down from a very close family friend, who my cousin noticed walking down the road as he was turning into the seller's driveway. He called me a little while ago to pronounce me the proud owner of a bouncing baby canoe. He will keep it at his house, next to the other canoe, until I figure out which of my immediate family to impose on to keep it full time (father or brother). And now my daughter/camping buddy (who I 'lose' to college in NY this summer) will have access to a canoe for her breaks if she needs it, and my cousin won't have to fight with his 4 other brothers and 2 sisters to use their dad's. I am SO blessed.

I don't even have pictures of my own. Here are a couple from the online ad:


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Congratulations Al,

I saw that ad about a week ago and thought, wow that's a very reasonable price! I have never met John McGreevy but I know he has a good reputation; around here folks go to him for advice on canvas restorations.

I'll be looking for a red Yankee the next time I'm out on Lows.

pleased you remember me! I had never heard of Mr McGreevy... couldn't find anything on the net about him either (odd, because I am a pretty good researcher). glad to hear he has a good rep. looking at the pics, I think the bow knees/decks were replaced, as well as part/parts of one/both gunnels. my uncle said he'd have replaced the whole length of the gunnel, but my cousin speculated that there was probably some value in keeping the original as 'original' as possible... I had one closeup of a joint to go by, and it looked really good.

I hope to be back on Low's the week before or after labor day this year, but that's still way up in the air. am also considering a lila to low's loop that week.

Pringles: yeah. just like red cars!
John McGrievey has been a long time Wooden Canoe Heritage Association member and written some articles for Wooden Canoe. I suggest that you also email Tom MacKenzie also of WCHA loonworksATsprynet. com. There are a couple of environmental considerations in Louisiana that he is familiar with. It seems that under some conditions the brass tacks in your boat act as small batteries and can corrode and also leave blossoms on the red paint. It seems to be due to the chemicals in the dirt and the humidity. He has dealt with several wood canvas LA boats.

Thanks Kim. All good info I was unaware of... I've been on WCHA to check out a few things, and they were very helpful in enabling me to find the build ticket on my uncle's old canoe. And I know we've got some nasty, dirty, chemically contaminated water down here in some areas. Had no idea it could harm a boat... And the humidity is awful... takes a boat forever to dry off once out of the water, and you get mildew everywhere no matter what you do.

Fortunately, this will be my "Adirondack" canoe... I have no plans to bring it down here. It will live in NY with a relative (whomever I can con into storing it for me! JK. It will go to my brother's lake house.) But with my 'camping buddy' daughter leaving here in a few months to attend college in NY (like her older, non-camping sister), she'll get some use out of it as well.

edit. and if it's actually spelled "McGrievey", no wonder I couldn't google it! thanks.
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Its not your gooky water. A LA friend in Jackson stored his three wood dacron canoes under the house with a dirt floor and little to no ventilation, though all were off the dirt, it seemed not quite enough to prevent a galvanic reaction. He got this awful staining on the outside of the hull and also at the ends of each brass tack,
chemicals in the dirt

Ah. "read slower dude... absorb, comprehend, then write/talk."

Sorry. I get it now... had not realized that, but it explains a lot of things. I've always wondered why even treated lumber doesn't last so long down here.

Found McGrievey's shop on the WCHA site. Very close by. Nice to know he's there.
Ah. "read slower dude... absorb, comprehend, then write/talk."

Sorry. I get it now... had not realized that, but it explains a lot of things. I've always wondered why even treated lumber doesn't last so long down here.

Found McGrievey's shop on the WCHA site. Very close by. Nice to know he's there.

The funny thing is I am just the messenger...I have little experience with LA dirt :) and long term boat storage there.
I have just enough experience to forget that I am stepping in fire ant piles every time I am there..
yeah... the south has fire ants... up north, it's blackflies and punkies... but at least they go away... fire ants stay around all year...
Hi Seeker, That's a nice looking canoe, I agree with YC and Conk, McGrievey does nice work from what I have seen, and those pictures sure look good. Keep me posted on when your ADK trip will be, I'd like to see it "out there" on Lows, or where ever you end up.

Splicing gunnels is fine, lots of work and time to replace a whole length on an old canoe and it might have put the canoe out of range price wise, but then I can understand your uncle's point of view too.

I think those fire ants where put down there in Tigerland in the 60's to give us northerns some taste of what was coming.:(
To add some context to my uncle's point of view, he was a carpenter/kitchen remodeler in his working life, but i'm glad Mr McG spliced out the bad section and left more of the original.

Robin, so sorry to hear you had to endure Tigerland! It was shut down after Vietnam, but as Polk expanded for the current deployments, another training brigade has moved in up there on North Fort, and resurrected the Tigerland heritage. I don't understand how native americans lived down here, in moccasins or barefoot, with all the crawlies...

So, next issue... paddles... Murat, I know you're out there watching... expect some PMs asking for advice!