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Why Buy A New Canoe?

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I did buy a used, good condition Hornbeck "Lost Pond" canoe as a present for my wife. I found it on Craigslist about an hour away from home at an embarrassingly low price.
To say she liked it is an understatement. If someone tried to take that boat way from her, there would be mayhem and bloodshed.
 
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….this means that there are likely to be over eleven thousand wooden canoes available today but only slightly more than a thousand people in the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association are interested in them.
Benson



“Slightly more than a thousand in the WCHA” wow, that’s like 3-400 less than when I left a few years ago IIRC

I would think there are a lot more people interested in and owning wooden canoes than are members of WCHA.
 
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I was rounding. My understanding is that there have been about 1300 people in the WCHA for the past several years. Glenn can probably provide a more current number from the recent board meeting. There are clearly "more people interested in and owning wooden canoes than are members of WCHA." I believe that the peak membership was several thousand, and even that didn't include everyone who likes old canoes. My point was simply that there appears to a larger supply of wooden canoes than the demand of people actively looking to buy one.

Benson
 
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We (the boss and I) will have about a dozen or so seconds available for sale soon at Redfeather outdoors. All our experiments and trial and error boats, the flaws are mostly cosmetic. The last five are beautiful and we are getting the bugs worked out , finally. Fascinating stuff, this infusion and composite boat building! I will get some pics uploaded as soon as I get the okay. I should add, most are solos, magics, a rockstar, some bucktails and a northwind tandem or two.
 
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I would think there are a lot more people interested in and owning wooden canoes than are members of WCHA.
not to (further) hijack the thread but I think that's normal... there are usually far more people interested in something than those who actively participate in it.

Back to the original topic, I would buy new if I had the disposable income (and there was nothing else I'd rather spend it on) but I'm not particularly careful with my toys. I'd hate to beat up something pristine; especially if it appeared to be the work of a true craftsman &/or wasn't designed to be easily repairable.

For this reason, I think I'd lean toward building one (I'd consider it far more disposable) or a w/c (more repairable) than one of the new, sexy, composite canoes being offered.
 

Glenn MacGrady

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We (the boss and I) will have about a dozen or so seconds available for sale soon at Redfeather outdoors. All our experiments and trial and error boats, the flaws are mostly cosmetic. The last five are beautiful and we are getting the bugs worked out , finally. Fascinating stuff, this infusion and composite boat building! I will get some pics uploaded as soon as I get the okay. I should add, most are solos, magics, a rockstar, some bucktails and a northwind tandem or two.

Great stuff, oldnewbie! When you've gotten the OK and have photos, put it up in the Classifieds forum. I'm sure members in your area will be very interested.
 
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Ya, will do! Am hoping to do a Northstar next week, I just prepped the mold yesterday, it is in beautiful shape compared to most of the molds around here! Quite the challenge on some getting to 28" or better on vacuum!
 
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I purchased two used canoes in pretty good shape within the last few years. One Kevlar, two years old at purchase. And one fiberglass, roughly 34 years old at purchase, garage kept and never used for most. Both canoes were priced great, and both needed some minor work. Seat/thwart/yoke repair. Rivet to gunwale repair. The other two canoes were free, one as a project and the other a fully functional Grumman for friends/family.

I don’t mind used anything, or to put in some elbow grease to bring something back to full life. A lot of people I know say that used canoes are “mistreated”, “sun faded”, “old”, “brittle”, and don’t care to give it much thought or consideration. Although, that can sometimes be true, it’s not always the case. Especially with nicer materials. And of those people who bought new canoes, how many of them paddle their canoe? I’d place a safe wager on none. They’re too afraid to scratch it. I get it, but that’s a perfect reason to buy used, it has minor wear. Besides, they’re designed to handle some general to heavy use.

buying used doesn’t mean less of something, it means more opportunity for more people. A chance to pass on a deal that you might’ve received onto someone else. To give something a chance to be used as it should. Or have an intro into something without paying premium. And I wish more people around me would consider that as their closets, sheds and garages fill with more new and unused items.
 
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Many canoeists never really stop looking for canoes. It can become a life long habit.
Here in the West, the canoe manufacturers are few and far between. So when a OT Canadienne in kevlar shows up 1/2 hour from my house up at Lake Tahoe I jumped on it. I gave $250 for it because it needed some minor repairs. I would sell it for around $1,000.
Ordering a new canoe not only costs $2-4,000 but takes a lot of time to get one delivered.
 
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Many canoeists never really stop looking for canoes. It can become a life long habit.
Here in the West, the canoe manufacturers are few and far between. So when a OT Canadienne in kevlar shows up 1/2 hour from my house up at Lake Tahoe I jumped on it. I gave $250 for it because it needed some minor repairs. I would sell it for around $1,000.
Ordering a new canoe not only costs $2-4,000 but takes a lot of time to get one delivered.
I was in Minden for a couple of months when I worked for Bentley/Nevada. Beautiful country, but you ARE a long way from any canoe shops. We are spoiled in upstate NY with any number of canoe retailers and manufacturers, but I still prefer used.
 
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I looked at craigslist and elsewhere for two years in search of a used Hemlock SRT and never found one that was for sale or within reasonable driving range. Eventually, I bit the bullet, so to speak, and bought one new.
 
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Back when I was in the market the only canoes I found for sale in my area were cheap brands that were absolutely beat to hell. Some looked so abused I questioned their seaworthiness.

Buy new, get exactly what I want and be the one that puts all the scratches and gouges in it.
 
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TL;DR: because you can't find what you want in a reasonable amount of time at a reasonable cost in the used market.

I always thought buying a new car or a new boat was a waste of money. But market forces are real.
The last time I needed a car (about 10 yrs ago), used cars were going for record prices and new cars had 0% interest on loans. The difference in value (age and mileage) between used and new seemed smaller than the difference in price. So I did what I thought I never would, and bought new.
Similarly, in the last few years it's been challenging to find a used canoe matching my criteria for a reasonable price. There are too many folks constantly crawling the web for deals on canoes, and the prices of a good (nay decent, nay simply not falling apart) used composite solo boat have approached the prices of new boats. A new boat order is months' wait, but over the last couple years it seems like finding that used boat for sale within a day's drive at a reasonable price has been a losing wager in time, and the new and used boat prices keep going up. One of you enablers, maybe Glenn, suggested that if you want to spend time paddling and not boat shopping, it might be worth some extra money to buy new and get out on the water, rather than spending an extra two years surfing the web for a used boat. So after searching the used market for many months (over a year, at least) I finally bit the bullet and bought a new boat. I think I'd still be combing the web at all hours and racing to beat other buyers if I hadn't. Sure, I paid more for this one boat than all my other boats combined (all used), but I also could have paid that much for a similar used boat that's older and already has all the scratches. Now I'm on the water, and the scratches are all mine.
 
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I've been fortunate that two of the used boats I bought were in like new condition. My EM White had only been in the water one time. It was pristine until I put a ding in the interior with the pole that came with it, before I even got it home.

The other is my Bell Seliga. I wasn't sure if I should consider this a "new" or "used" boat. It seems new because it was never in the water and still wrapped in plastic. I consider it used because it's over ten years old and was part of the dealers personal collection for that time and I got it at a discount.

I think every canoe lover should have at least one boat in pristine condition, whether it be brand new or a nicely restored w/c boat. I didn't know what I was missing until I got that White.
 
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Who among us does not love a brand-new canoe? Smooth lines, bright gel coat, no nicks in the gunnels or unsightly scratches on the bottom; you just have to stop and admire it. But as it is said about automobiles, “There are no new cars on the road. Once it’s off the dealer’s lot it is a used car”. So my question, with apologies to all the current canoe builders, is this: Why buy a new canoe?

Some may say that the new designs are better. Some may look upon the update materials and say they are stronger or lighter. Some may repeat the mantra “If it is newer it has to be better”. But is that always true?

There have been many designs since composite and Royalex canoes hit the market. Are the new designs better or just different? Every model canoe paddles differently; some designs vary slightly and some greatly as does their handling. Canoes designed and built in the 1970’s, 80’ and 90’s, if well maintained, still paddle as well as they did when built. Does a 2023 canoe paddle better? Some very sweet handling canoes are no longer produced, but crop up on the used market. Since they are non-motorized, they do not have the mechanical issues of a motorboat or a car. If taken care of, there is just not that much to wear out.

A downside (or upside if you enjoy the thrill of the chase) is that a desired discontinued canoe may take a while to track down. A new canoe may be available at the nearest dealer or by an order to the builder. In our “Want It Now” society, the new canoe that can do the intended job is able to gratify the canoeist’s desire quickly but at a monetary cost. It is an individual choice on how much disposable income to spend and how quickly one wants a canoe.

I tend to buy used canoes. I enjoy the “personality” that different canoe designs exhibit. Some that I have purchased had been lightly used, some had been used with abandon. Some needed no more than a clean-up, some needed cosmetic repair and maybe a coat of varnish or epoxy. Some have stayed with me for a while and others have been sold to make room on the storage racks for another that has caught my eye. I have ended up with a fleet of Kevlar and Carbon layup canoes for less than the price of one new canoe. I also now have a quiver of canoes capable of most any paddling that I would desire; whitewater, small rivers, poking around a lake, tripping or an extended expedition (one can always dream, but I’ve got the canoe for it if the opportunity arises). I repeat: For less than the cost of one new canoe.

So I ask the question: Why buy a NEW canoe?
My advice, to most people, is to not buy a new canoe. At least until you really know what you like.
Your canoe is going to get beat up pretty quickly anyway, so you might as well buy it a little beat up and save the money.
Having said that, I've bought far more new canoes than used. I want what I want. If I waited long enough, it might show up on Craig's List, but I don't chance it.
 
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The used canoe market has been challenging since the pandemic, with decent boats selling in minutes. Sometimes it's just easier to bite the bullet and buy new just to avoid the aggravation. Although it's almost as aggravating to endure the price hikes that big manufacturers like Wenonah have been levying.
Agreed - this has been my experience also. I kind of figured more recently purchased canoes would start turning up on the used market. Has not yet happened to the extent I thought, but maybe I am just too anxious to find that nice used solo I am looking for.
 
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Agreed - this has been my experience also. I kind of figured more recently purchased canoes would start turning up on the used market. Has not yet happened to the extent I thought, but maybe I am just too anxious to find that nice used solo I am looking for.
There's a bunch of Facebook Groups like North American Canoe Traders and Northeast Canoe Fanatics that have been fueling the fire on used boats. I missed out on a used Magic a few months ago that someone offered more than asking price after I had set up an appointment. But I am content with a new Trillium that I bought instead. I'll have to go find that post by Mike McCrea about 'flippers'.
 
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I guess it makes a difference when acquiring new canoes is an annual or perhaps quarterly event. Since at 71 I've only bought 3 in my lifetime - all used - it's different.
 
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I guess that the frequency of buying boats might have something to do with it. I since starting paddling in 1982, I have had 29 boats; 16 kayaks (mostly whitewater), 2 whitewater C-1s, and 11 open canoes. Only 3 were purchased new, the rest were just new to me. Some have stayed and some have moved on. I currently have 8 boats left in my garage (or Boathouse as my wife calls it) for all sort of uses.
One of the things I enjoy is trying different boats and seeing how they each handle. Watching the ads and buying a used one is a much less expensive way to do that, especially when you are not in a major canoe area where you might have a chance to demo a canoe. It does take patience while searching, but surprising canoes do pop up.
 
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