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OldTown 1.jpeg

Frequently Asked Questions


Is a cedar canvas canoe heavy?

These are on par with other plastic canoes.  This 15' canoe weighs 70 pounds.

Are these canoes more fragile?

You cannot ram cedar canvas canoes into the dock or drag them fully loaded over shallow rocks - this will damage any boat.  However if used with respect, the canvas will last 15 years or more before needing to be replaced.

What is the lifespan of a cedar canvas canoe?

Infinite.  Every part of a cedar and canvas canoe is replaceable.  With no epoxy or glue being used, you can patch or replace the canvas, replace ribs, planking, gunwales or any other piece that may become damaged.  The photo you see above is my repaired Old Town from 1916.  Your boat can be passed through generations as an heirloom if maintained properly.

In comparison, rivets will eventually fail on an aluminum boat and a plastic boat will eventually become brittle and riddled with small cracks. 

Are cedar canvas canoes difficult to maintain?

Maintenance is generally required for boat that are used regularly.  A cleaning, light sanding and a few coats of varnish on the interior each year and a freshening of paint on the exterior every few years will keep your boat in shape.

How do I repair my canoe?

There is a lively online community that is ready to help with your repair or restoration at the site (Wooden Canoe Heritage Association).  

You can also purchase the book by Jerry Stelmok and Rollin Thurlow called 'The Wood and Canvas Canoe: A Complete Guide to its History, Construction, Restoration and Maintenance'.

I could also help restore your canoe, dependent upon availability.

Is a cedar canvas canoe better?

Yes, for some. 

They are a bit more hands-on to maintain, but they will last forever.  They are also completely silent (no banging of metal or plastic) and provide a responsiveness and spring in moving water that man-made materials will never be able to achieve.  

Can I help in the process?

Steps like steam bending ribs and planking are exciting to participate in, and owners are welcome to join.  This can be a great experience for individuals and families alike.

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