Help support the WCHA Forums by making a tax-deductible donation!

Newbie: Got the boat home, now what?? Help with judging condition and repairs needed!

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by moonshine30, Apr 8, 2012.

  1. OP

    moonshine30 Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Hi there again!! Thanks for all the great advice so far.

    I am torn between what I should do because I really know nothing about these boats( I realize now), but I do really like the look of the boat and would ove to restore it, just not sure if I have the skills or could learn the skills to do that. Some members are advising to fix up the boat and restore her if and when I have the time and money, some are saying why not use the boat if it floats, and some are recommending that I just try and get back some of my money and get rid of her and try and find one in better condition.

    My stepdad is a woodworker I would say(was a high school shop teacher for 30 years) and has a whole basement of wood working machines, but I would have to convince him to help me and not sure how much he would want to do. My dad said he could fix it and had the skill as he is a civil engineer, but he doesn't know if he has the time. I got a bigger boat so I could go out with him and my niece, instead of going for a solo boat, even though for myelf personally I would rather have gone for a solo boat.

    I have the recommended "canoe bible" on hold at the library (hopefully), and will go pick it up tomorrow and read it cover to cover like suggested.

    Some members and suggested that the stem might be damaged on this boat, and therefore the boat might now be worth fixing up. If anyone can confirm the amount of damage to the stem based on my pictures or if anyone needs better pictures to determine that, I would appreciate it.

    I just don't know what to do. If I should keep the boat and try to slowly fix her up or if I should cut my losses and sell her. I have someone local who might be willing to buy the boat for 2/3 of what I paid for it, not including the cost of gas to Kentucky and back. Don't know how serious they are though.

    Thinking I might have bit off more than I can chew.

    Lazy Jack, your explanations of making an outer gunnel are great and very detailed, I just don't know if I have the skill to do that as I am not really a wood worker. My step dad has shown me how to use some of the machines in his basement, and I know how to do basic things like sand, stain, varnish, make basic cuts. (Although I'm scared to death of the saw now because I had a near accident with my stepdad's high powered saw. Don't even want to go near the thing now. Had a board vibrate back into the saw and fly back and hit me in my wrist and almost broke a bone. Hurt so bad I couldn't breathe for minutes!!) I could have my stepdad do the cutting.

    I'll get the book and read up on it to better inform myself of what I might be getting into. In the mean time, I guess I would like to hear from members, if this boat is worth fixing up and some kind of idea as to the money I would have to spend for temporary fixes all the way to a full restore, assuming that I can do most of the repairs myself. I a few people can let me know about the stem and if it's bad or not, and if it does need work, do I have to take apart the whole boat to fix the stem.

    Thanks again for the posts so far and I look forward to more info from people. Not quite sure what I'm going to do yet, but don't want to make any rash decisions, as that was what I kinda did when I bought it.


  2. OP

    moonshine30 Curious about Wooden Canoes

    I have a copy of the original pucahse order from Old Town

    Oh, also here is a copy of the original purchase receipt or order. I have been chatting with a guy over at Old Town and he sent me these. There is the original purchase order and a picture of one of these boats from an original catalog. Someone mentioned the rack I have isn't original, but I looked at the picture from this catalog and it looks the same to me. What do I know though. Let me know for sure if the reack is original or not if you can, although I think you already said it wasn't.

    The purchase order confirms that this is a common sense model and does mention something about a keel, couldn't understand the writing though. There was maybe some doubt as to whether this boat originally came with a keel or not. And this may not be the original keel either.

    Anyway, maybe this info might help or maybe this is the same receipt that was provided when I requested info on the serial number. I'll have to go back and look as I don't have adobe on my computer and so couldn't open the file.


    P.S. I can't seem to be able to attach the purchase receipt file. It is a scanned copy I think and is a .tiff file. If anyone know how I can attach that please let me know. I tried copying and pasting into this window, but it wouldn't let me.
  3. Dan Miller

    Dan Miller cranky canoeist Staff Member

    Hi Jennifer,

    You are getting a whole lot of advice, which must be getting overwhelming! I learned my lessons the hard way too - never buy a canoe on Ebay that wasn't seen in person first, and never buy a boat after dark.... That being said, I can't wait to see the two canoes I bought last fall sight-unseen that are either still in Maine or have moved over to New Hampshire... Some of us never learn!

    You are in a great place with respect to getting some great advice. I don't know where in Minnesota you are, but it's a wood-canoe resource-rich state. Jeanne Bourquin is in Ely, and she often runs canoe building and restoration classes (some geared towards women only), the North House Folk School in Grand Marais has restoration classes. Alex Comb (Stewart River Canoes) is in Two Harbors, and does the same. Just over the border in Wisconsin is Dave Osborn, who does great work and I am glad he was able to pick up this sort of work when I left for the east coast.... If you want to head north, Pam Wedd of Bearwood Canoes in Parry Sound, Ontario, is also a very woman-friendly canoe builder/restorer/teacher.

    If you are in shooting distance of any of these folks, for the price of an hours' consultation, you can get a professional evaluation of your canoe, and decide whether a) it is worth investing more at all, b) if you have the drive to learn the skills to do it yourself (I bet you do), or c) whether one of the classes any of these offer would work with your schedule and budget.

  4. OP

    moonshine30 Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Thanks Dan, that is really great. Do you or does anyone know of anyone who would be near the Twin Cities area, as that is where I live. My dad had suggested that I drive up to Ely and for the cost of a tank of gas, I could get an appraisal from Jeanne Bourquin, as I had mentioned her when I started doing reseach on repair people here in Minnesota. He kept telling me to not be too hasty in getting rid of the boat till you know exactly what you have and the condition it is in.

    Maybe I could do that or go to the gentleman in Two Harbors. I grew up camping at Goosberry Falls and it would give me a chance to go camping as I haven't been up there in a few years.

    Thanks for the info Dan, I will look into contacting some of these people and maybe driving up there.

  5. Dan Lindberg

    Dan Lindberg Ex Wood Hoarder


    I my knowledge there are no Pros working in the Twin Cities area that specialize in w/c canoes.
    There are a couple wood boat dealers/restorers west of town, I don't know if work on canoes, mainly the high buck wooden classics.

    There is a guy someplace just out of town up 35 IIRC and a guy in Carlton.
    and Dave O is going to be holding a restoration class in the UP soon,
    but I suspect your best option would be to go up to Alex's in Knife River, Stewart River canoe.

    BTW, the last I heard was that Jeanne was no longer doing restorations, only new work, her husband Peter is doing restorations now.

    Last edited: Apr 10, 2012
  6. NickBailey

    NickBailey Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Urban Boatbuilders in Saint Paul will do commissioned restorations. They may be a less expensive option than some others. I'd give them a call. I know they do nice work because I have one of their boats. They're also a great non-profit organization who could probably use the business. Here is a link: You could probably stop by at open shop tonight, or stop by their booth at the Midwest Mountaineering Expo at the end of this month.

    Alex Comb is also a great option. He makes top-quality boats that look and paddle as nice as any I've ever seen or been in.
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2012

Share This Page