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50 Pounder Rebuild

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CB96CAE7-909C-4E77-B2C0-97210F0F3DA3.jpeg 723FB18C-4699-4FBF-9140-E2E866FCAF7D.jpeg I am finally getting around to starting on this 1948 Old Town 15’ 50 Pounder. I took it out of my garage rafters and squeezed it into my shop during the snow storm today. After taking a good look at things it will need 7 ribs, stem ends, inner and outer gunnels, decks, some planking, and obviously canvas, filler, and paint. I have all the eastern white cedar for the ribs and planking stock. I am picking up some Norway spruce for the long pieces. I will be leaving the canvas on while I strip the varnish to help with the mess a bit.

Some of the ribs are cracked badly- some are not. For those who have worked on these, when do you decide whether or not to fix a rib with a backside repair? I know some folks think replacement is easier and stain can be used to color match. Curious of the opinions out there. I have no intentions of restoring this back to factory specs so that doesn’t enter into it- not sure what color yet and it was ordered with no seats (not an option for me). I am undecided on putting a keel back on. I am typically not a fan. Maybe I will try it without and tape a rope on it to see the difference.

I am looking forward to getting going on this and hope it will be ready for an ice out trip.

Bob
 

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Looking forward to this as well, something here to learn for sure.

Anyone else find an issue when clicking on the photos? I can see them in the post fine, but when I click to enlarge I get a black screen, looks like they are pushed all the way to one side. I don't know if this is my issue or a site issue

Brian
 
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Your planking is more than likely Western Red Cedar. There is an occasional Old Town with white cedar to be found, but they were usually kind of special order and it is typically noted on the build record. I find WRC is readily available as decking material at the local lumber yard and it is nice and clear to boot.

It probably makes little difference what you decide to do with respect to backside repairs. Personally, I hate to finish a canoe and still see the offending crack in the rib, so I tend to replace it. If the crack is out of sight, I might do backside.

Keep us posted.

Fitz
 
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Thanks guys.

Fitz- I’ll have to take another look. A knowledgeable builder gave me the materials and I could have sworn he said the cedar came from northern VT. I hear what you’re saying on the ribs. I’d hate to put all the work in and a crack be visible.

Bob
 
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Yes Brian, I have the same problem with photos and miss being able to zoom in on details; especially for these build threads. Seems to be an ongoing problem since the last hack of the site.
 
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Cool restoration!

Do you need white cedar rib stock, cedar planking ( that I made from red cedar clapboards) or 18 ft ( I know your canoe is 15 ft) pre-bent spruce gunwales? I restored a 1917 Old Town Guide but got enough stock from Jerry Stelmock of Island Falls Canoe for 2 guides. After restoring the 1917, I realized the 1936 I had been given was too far gone for me to deal with.

Selling this wood would help me defray the costs of my Raven build;)
 
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Do you need white cedar rib stock, cedar planking ( that I made from red cedar clapboards) or 18 ft ( I know your canoe is 15 ft) pre-bent spruce gunwales? I restored a 1917 Old Town Guide but got enough stock from Jerry Stelmock of Island Falls Canoe for 2 guides. After restoring the 1917, I realized the 1936 I had been given was too far gone for me to deal with.

Selling this wood would help me defray the costs of my Raven build;)

Hmm- no, but I have a Charles River to restore after this one. I’ll shoot you a message.

Bob
 
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was this built as a dedicated solo? I didn't know some were that old.
 
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Fitz- I’ll have to take another look. A knowledgeable builder gave me the materials and I could have sworn he said the cedar came from northern VT. I hear what you’re saying on the ribs. I’d hate to put all the work in and a crack be visible.

Sorry, I was not clear. I meant the original planking on your canoe is Western Red Cedar. I like to replace in kind.

Fitz
 
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Sorry, I was not clear. I meant the original planking on your canoe is Western Red Cedar. I like to replace in kind.

Fitz

Gotcha- I imagine any new material I use will have to be stained to match the old. There is a good chance what was given to me was Red as well and I was mistaken.

Bob
 
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There is a good chance what was given to me was Red as well and I was mistaken.

You will want Northern White Cedar for ribs. WRC does not bend well. There is a chance EWC will bend, but NWC is the way to go.

Fitz
 
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Some of the ribs are cracked badly- some are not. For those who have worked on these, when do you decide whether or not to fix a rib with a backside repair? I know some folks think replacement is easier and stain can be used to color match. Curious of the opinions out there. I have no intentions of restoring this back to factory specs so that doesn’t enter into it- not sure what color yet and it was ordered with no seats (not an option for me). I am undecided on putting a keel back on. I am typically not a fan. Maybe I will try it without and tape a rope on it to see the difference.

On the 1917 guide I did a few years ago, I replaced quite a few ribs but I did try (successfully) backing a few ribs. Those ribs were kind of "pinch" cracked and I had to replace the planking in that area anyway. I replaced 21 ribs total and only backed 2 ribs.

As far as the keel is concerned; leave it off.

Jeff
 
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500B0A7B-35C7-45B4-9279-8A23923C2A3D.jpeg9620EFAA-A178-4281-80AE-C59E608B4847.jpeg

Some progress today. A couple layers of stain and more varnish than a bowling alley -brutal. I had the best luck with card scrapers after the stripper sat about 30 min.

I have a few ribs with these funky lines. I don’t think they are cracks, but artifacts in the original cedar. Has anyone encountered these? Hoping my list of ribs to replace didn’t got up.

Bob
 
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Check the third rib down from top of your image. That looks like what I had on one of the ribs I 'backed'. I already had to remove the planking from where those ribs were so I could see that those marks went most of the way through the ribs I repaired. I might leave it if you don't have to remove the planking in that section. Do either of those ribs seem to flex more than the others?
 
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Kinda looks to me like someone sanded it too aggressively in a past refinishing effort.

Fitz
 
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D41D9CE9-250A-4C68-8C09-E72E0D6104BC.jpeg
Check the third rib down from top of your image. That looks like what I had on one of the ribs I 'backed'. I already had to remove the planking from where those ribs were so I could see that those marks went most of the way through the ribs I repaired. I might leave it if you don't have to remove the planking in that section. Do either of those ribs seem to flex more than the others?

They don’t flex. I will see what they look like after the next round of clean up. Got a bit more done. Tedious process.

Bob
 
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EB6FFDBB-264A-4ACE-92E6-7D8AB22A607A.jpeg
Scrubbed it out a couple time with TSP and teak cleaner. I was happy when I stripped the canvas off that there were no surprises with the planking. I’m anxious to finally get to the rebuilding bit. A few dark areas to scrub again, but I’m close.

Bob
 
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