1921 Old Town Molitor, AA Grade, 18'
This is a very early 18' AA Grade Old Town Molitor, serial # 66010-18. It was made in 1921 and was restored in July 2020. It is likely among the first few ever made.
Being AA Grade it has mahogany inner & outer rails, seats, decks, and thwarts. It also has the original external stems. Planking is red cedar, ribs are white cedar. The tops of the seat & thwart bolts are covered with mahogany plugs and not the diamond-head bolts, which is typical for that era.
The canoe came to me in very good shape and needed a minimum amount of restoration. There were no broken ribs and both rails were unbroken - save for a few inches at the tips of the inner rails. The seats are mostly original - though it looks like someone in the past replaced at least one of the longer parts of the front seat with a length of walnut(?) carved with a vine & leaf design. I didn't have the heart to replace it!
Keen eyes will notice that the decks are not typical for Old Town - the build sheet lists them as '16 Mahogany'. Also notice that there are no screws visible on the outside of the outer rails. These rails are held in place by a pair of #8 screws at every seat and thwart - finish nails are used to hold the rails elsewhere along the length. Also, the outer rails are the old 'squashed-D' style.
I've been restoring wood/canvas canoes since the early 80's and have restored over 30 canoes. Since I retired in 2011 I've made it more of a full-time hobby and manage to complete 2 or 3 per year. The materials used are all typical for this era: brass tacks (properly clenched) and silicon-bronze bolts and screws. The canvas was treated with a mildewcide so it will last for a good long time - it was painted with a primer coat plus 4 coats of Epifanes 'Deep Red'. There are 4 coats of varnish on the inside. And the exterior of the hull got a coat of thinned linseed oil to restore some of its original flexability.
07/24/2021 (11 months)