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Template needed for 17' OT HW

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by 113932, May 21, 2020.

  1. 113932

    113932 Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Can anyone help me obtain template for the ends of a 17' Old Town HW? I need the stem curve and the deck. All that I have now is an empty space at both ends. I do not know what to aim for, and I want to be authentic.
  2. Howie

    Howie Wooden Canoe Maniac

    Sorry - can't help. But I'd be curious to know whether the stem shape differs depending on canoe length within a model line. Seems to me it'd be the same.
  3. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

  4. Howie

    Howie Wooden Canoe Maniac

    Thought so. That being the case I could send you a tracing from a 16' 1938 Otca or a 16' 1941 Yankee. To do that I'd need your name and address...
  5. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    Then the real fun begins...soak the wood for a few days before steaming it and make sure that you use a backer to keep it from splitting out. Watch the grain and bend away.
    Brown outside stems.jpg
  6. OP

    113932 Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Thank you for your replies.

    It is said that the stem of any “high end” OT of the “same era” “should be” the same. That is a lot of qualifiers, and I always worry when I see or hear the words “. . . should be . . .”. This proposition would, however, make an interesting study for a person with access to a variety of models.

    As for the deck, I am guessing mine should be 16 inches long (overall length up the middle). The sides are concave end-to-end. The top is concave end-to-end, and convex side-to-side. I would like to know how to extrapolate from what remains of my deck, so that I would know where the deck and stem meet. (My 17-foot HW is 1934, by the way.)

    I reference profiles put out by Mike Elliot for a 1967 OT OTCA at
    I am skeptical that his OTCA deck would match my HW on the grounds that his OTCA has a flat top side-to-side and straight sides, while what’s left of my HW decks have convex tops side to side and concave sides. Also, his side view does not indicate which end is which.

    Elliot’s photos and top view seem to show the OTCA deck and inwales tapering to a 3/8 inch point, which rests on top of the end of the stem. I suppose that this would be the same with the HW.
  7. David Satter

    David Satter LOVES Wooden Canoes

    1923 17 foot HW with sponsons. Might help you.
    IMG_4383.JPG IMG_4384.JPG
    Last edited: May 21, 2020
  8. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    The qualifications are because these are hand made canoes and each one is slightly different. The other factor is that they are made out of wood, which changes shape in unpredictable ways over time. The 1936 Otca I showed has new outside stems. The originals probably came off the same form but each stems is different enough now that separate forms were required to make the replacements. You seem to be on the right track,

  9. David Satter

    David Satter LOVES Wooden Canoes

  10. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    Perhaps this is oversimplified but what I do first is remove the damaged deck and recreate it's correct shape. I simply run a steel scale up each side and trace where the tips should be onto a sheet of cardboard. I cut the tracing out and the repair the deck by replacing the damaged piece. If it's contoured you will massage the parts to fit as you go. If you continue the lines of the stem and the attached planking you can very closely approximate the required stem shape.
    Once I have the deck repaired I put it back in the canoe and do something very similar to figure out the inside rail locations. I work back far enough to get a nice splice for the replacement pieces. I try to keep the splice within the length of the deck in that the deck then helps to reinforce the repair when you screw everything back together. You can rough fit the rail splices to get an idea where your stem splice will need to reach. This is not an exact process...every boat is a bit different since these parts (decks, stems, rails, planking) are all fitted during assembly and age and damage often results in more variation. They often vary end to end...and only the builder will ever know. The one I am currently working on is so different end to end that I have had to remake my stem form to get the correct shape for the outside stems. Your eye would never be able to tell.
    I looked at the Mike Elliot links you attached and they look like almost the same thing I do... You may also make the stem splice first and then make the rail splices.
    The one thing you should pay some attention to as you pull it all together is making sure that your stems are vertical and that the decks and rails are centered. You don't want to put a twist in things. You can try to eyeball this but I find it easier to level the canoe (rail to rail) and then position a laser level sitting on the bottom of the hull projecting a line on the stem. Center the stem to the line as you tie everything together.
  11. floydvoid

    floydvoid Curious about Wooden Canoes

    If this helps- my 39 hw stem top half is about the same curve as my otca form. The deck is very long and tapers to really skinny point with the inwhales running past it. I can take pictures. Where are you?
  12. OP

    113932 Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Thanks for all your replies.

    I had it in mind to restore the tips of the canoe precisely to their original contours and joinery. I am accepting the reality that this will not be possible, especially without tracings or templates of my model. I cannot rebuild what I have w/o knowing the shape of the original. So, I think that I will follow the advice of MGC.
  13. mmmalmberg

    mmmalmberg LOVES Wooden Canoes

    I'm rebuilding tips on my '51 OTCA 17 and am happy to provide whatever I can. If my forms work I could even send them when I'm done. I'm doing inwale tips and one outer stem tip and one outer stem. They're not identical at each end but similar. Would perhaps the top of the ribs give you what you need though for the rise of the gunwales? I can give you tracings of my decks also. I don't know whether you'd want projections or the decks "unwrapped" as they are bent just like the gunnels. I'm thankful not to be bending new decks:)

    In any case I don't know whether anything from my canoe would relate to yours but maybe... Oops just noticed yours is a HW, maybe never mind all that!
  14. OP

    113932 Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Having abandoned my quest for perfection, here is the result. (I believe that the tip does not rise up quite as much as it should.) I put an edge in the bottom of the Deck/InnerGunnel tip to keep the stem from moving inward in the case of an end bump. What I do not understand is what will keep the Deck/InnerGunnel from moving sideways with respect to the stem? There is not enough material to drive a nail down from the top into the stem.

    Attached Files:

  15. David Satter

    David Satter LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Yes there is, a long thin brad. Just predrill carefully and a dab of epoxy on the joint.

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