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Portaging a Old Town HW

Discussion in 'Tips and Tricks' started by bartcanoe, Nov 3, 2011.

  1. bartcanoe

    bartcanoe Curious about Wooden Canoes

    I've done some searching on the forums, but haven't found exactly what I'm looking for pertaining to portaging my OT HW.

    It is a 1954 OT HW and doesn't have a center thwart, so besides a cart (won't work on some portages) what do you do to portage a canoe without a center thwart? Is my only alternative installing a yoke or center thwart with tumpline and paddles?


  2. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    At good paddlesports stores (not Bass Pro, REI, Dick's...) they used to have several options for temporarily installed portage yokes, from pre-fab jobs to hardware sets that let you add your own wooden parts. Now I only see pre-fabs. You're in N. Carolina; try Nantahala Outdoor Center?
  3. Todd Bradshaw

    Todd Bradshaw Sailmaker

    Looks like it's on sale at the moment:

    Before that design, they had a yoke which had two of those curved ash bars (which are about 3" wide and 3/4"-7/8" thick). One was just slightly wider than the width across the gunwales and had the cloth-covered foam shoulder pads attached to it. The other bar was cut just short enough to fit inside the hull, up under the inwales. In use, the two curved bars sandwiched the gunwale structure and were held in place by a couple of sturdy wing nuts, drawing them together.

    Option #3 is what I used on my 16' guide, which has no center thwart. I drilled a 3/16" diameter hole through the inwales at the center (as if mounting another thwart there). I used brass flat-head machine screws with a finish washer on top of the gunwale, though it could probably also be done with a diamond head bolt of the boat isn't horribly heavy). I drilled holes through a single curved bar with pads and used washers with wingnuts to mount it just like a thwart when needed. I suppose the idea of a couple of stray holes in the gunwale might shock some folks, but for some reason having to do with leverage and center of gravity, it's a lot easier to pick the boat up and horse it around as needed when the yoke is mounted under the gunwales, like a thwart, than when it's a bar clamped on top of the gunwales.
  4. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    The gunnel clamp hardware looks like the kit I bought some years back. I almost never used it, and forgot to include it when the canoe I built it for went on to its new owner. Oh well, if I ever need it again, I have it... it's covered in sawdust, like everything else in the shop, but it's there somewhere...
  5. Paul Waqué

    Paul Waqué Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    Old thread but..
    I made a quick removable yoke out of a 5/4" by 6" decking board. I left it a bit longer (about 2 inches) than the width of the canoe with notches on the sides at the ends, also a semicircular cutout for the neck. Then I looped a strap over the hull and around the yoke as if it was a roof rack that I was strapping the canoe to. The notches keep the strap from slipping off the yoke where it wraps around it.
  6. Dave Osborn

    Dave Osborn LIFE MEMBER

    You can find used, vintage original Old Town portage yokes on E-Bay sometimes.
  7. Howard Caplan

    Howard Caplan Wooden Canoe Maniac

    I googled it but couldn't find it. years ago I bought a nylon wrap around yoke. It came in it's own carry case and and is excellent.
    Adjustable straps make it very easy to use. I will pull it out later at home and if I can find a brand name on it, i may be able to track it down.
    It is an old thread but before you start drilling holes or clamping heavy stuff onto your boat, I highly recommend this portable, no weight option.
  8. Rollin Thurlow

    Rollin Thurlow member since 1980

    temp center thwart

    Here is a temporary center thwart that I installed in a smaller canoe but it would work for a larger one also.

    Attached Files:

  9. Howard Caplan

    Howard Caplan Wooden Canoe Maniac

    That is very cool. You may have just shown me how to set up a solo kneeling thwart without compromising the integrity of the canoe too much.
  10. Greg Nolan

    Greg Nolan enthusiast

    Rollin --

    Very elegant.

  11. Lazy Jack

    Lazy Jack LOVES Wooden Canoes

    I too lacked a center thwart in my OT yankee and was somewhat loathe to drill more holes in the inwhale so this was my quick and dirty solution

    The yoke has 'ears' that bear lightly against the inside of the inwhales to prevent it from sliding side-to-side

    And the lashing straddles a rib preventing for and aft migration

    I carved a rocker to the surface that sits on the rail to prevent the edges from digging into the rails and also to allow the canoe to be pitched up or down slightly while the yoke remains in a comfortable position on the shoulders.


    I could have made a classier job of this with leather bearing surfaces and a little varnish, but the canoe is in frequent use and the only way I can manage it between the truck and the water myself is with this essential piece in place. Having it easily removed made room for taking a Newfoundland along for a paddle.
  12. Howard Caplan

    Howard Caplan Wooden Canoe Maniac

    The company that makes the nylon wrap around carry thwart is Grade VI - Avant Equipage. All I found was a Craigs List for a packpack with the Grade VI name on it. This nylon carry thwart is a good alternative but, it is no good at all if the company is not around.
  13. Greg Nolan

    Greg Nolan enthusiast

    Howard --

    Any chance of a picture or two of your nylon wrap around carry thwart? Is it the sort of thing that someone with a sewing machine might be able to cobble together themselves?
  14. Howard Caplan

    Howard Caplan Wooden Canoe Maniac

    Here it is. If this works, I'll post the other pic that shows it installed. if it doesn't work, I'll read the instructions and then post.

    Carry strap full.jpg
  15. Howard Caplan

    Howard Caplan Wooden Canoe Maniac

    Carry strap on canoe.jpg (145.2 KB)

    Attached Files:

  16. Howard Caplan

    Howard Caplan Wooden Canoe Maniac

    I'll try again
  17. Howard Caplan

    Howard Caplan Wooden Canoe Maniac

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