The Patient

by Steve on May 17, 2009

The Old Town 18′ Guide canoe that is in need of major work:


This is the good end.  Original lines still intact with a solid stem all the way to the deck which is a pleasant surprise given the opposite end.


Spliced ribs, spliced rails, and the characteristic sweep of the sheer is gone.  Based on the prior patches and condition of this end of the boat it most likely sat overturned but in contact with the ground for years causing rot which was cut back to solid wood resulting in the flat profile.  Lines from the good end will have to be used to rebuild the proper profile here.


Side view of the damaged end.


Both inner and outer rails will need to be replaced along with several ribs.  Virtually all remaining ribs will need their ends treated with epoxy to stabilize them and give something solid to nail to the rail.


More of the same.  At least the thwarts and seat frames are all solid!


Most of the planking will need to be replaced after the shape of the hull has been stabilized and new ribs bent in.  Hopefully the planking won’t crumble when the fiberglass comes off – the previous repairs included recovering the boat with fiberglass instead of the traditional canvas.   The glass may have actually helped retain the original shape but it certainly adds to the challenge of rebuilding the boat.

Can we rebuild her?  “Yes we can!”  Hopefully the result and the budget will end up in better shape than our government!

Stay tuned for progress updates.  I’ll build a separate page for the resto project so you can follow along without having to jump between posts.


ManlyDad May 17, 2009 at 11:39

Oh, my. Seems to me this will be more difficult in many ways than building one from scratch. Will keep you off the streets & out of trouble!

Kath May 17, 2009 at 11:51

Looks like a fabulous project to get into! Have fun.

And most of what you said I can see where you’re talking about. But, yes, you will need many, many pictures. Bec. how do you “restore” this without just totally making it brand new?

Steve May 17, 2009 at 12:51

Restoring one is far more difficult than building one and in most cases can cost as much or more than building a new one.

This one needs new rails, decks, several ribs, lots of planking, strip the glass, strip varnish, clean/bleach the remaining old wood, stain the new to match, varnish the whole thing, install canvas, filler, paint, and re-cane the seats – not necessarily in that order. See? Not so bad…

Restoring a boat in need of this much work is financially a bad decision when compared to the cost of a plastic replacement and usually done for sentimental or historical value. However, the remaining craftsmen at Old Town still bending cedar command a pretty penny – a new 18′ Guide will set you back $7500.

Kath May 17, 2009 at 13:18

Basically, like with house restoration, take it apart as far down as it needs and then build it back up? And use what you can of what’s already there?

Can’t wait to see your work on it. You’re going to be even more famous!!
(Have they decided on — Granddad, Gramps, Pop-pop yet? 🙂

SoCal Pir8 May 19, 2009 at 5:31

Good luck, we’ll be watching.

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