According to the records, the Old Town canoe with serial number 106703 is an 18 foot long, AA (or top) grade, Otca model with red Western cedar planking open mahogany gunwales, a keel, and a floor rack. It was built between June, 1930 and January, 1931. The original exterior paint color was Princeton orange with the name "Kelek" painted on. It shipped on January 17th, 1931 to Duntons Boathouse at Weybridge, Surrey, England. It has been patiently waiting its turn in my garden while I sorted out another couple of boats.
Kelek is a Turkish word with different meanings:
I think this Kelek is named for use on rivers! When I remove the canvas I might find traces of the name under the different coats of orange paint the boat has had over the years.
Initial inspection shows 4 broken ribs with associated plank damage,
a bit of rot on the keel,
and new canvas
is all that's needed as well as stripping and re-varnishing all the woodwork. David, the owner, has already removed and re-caned the seats and is sorting the repairs on the floor rack.
The boat has a lovely Thames licence plate dated 1937 which will be going back on.
First job is to remove the various bits that might get in the way or be damaged by paint stripper, then to do a couple of tests to see which stripper works best. In the past I have found some strippers work better than others on different varnishes: Cheap stuff worked a treat on my little chestnut, but as expected the more expensive stripper works best here - this boat has been well looked after so there are multiple coats of varnish to get through. I'll leave the canvas on until after the stripping as it will prevent any chemical leaking through the planks and damaging my (not) beautifully manicured lawn! I've worked out the best system is to use a hot air gun to get rid of most of the varnish on the ribs, and bubble the varnish on the planks between. This is followed by about 3 coats of stripper then scrapinig. Follow this up with a concentrated sugar soap with a scrubbing brush and it looks mostly good, although I'll need to go over some areas with more stripper and a scotch pad.
I wonder about my approach to stripping: I do the main part of the boat first and the awkward ends last. My thoughts being that the ends are so fiddly that I might give up half way through the first one, but with doing the large main bit first, I think I have only got a bit to do until finished.
So far during stripping I have found a quantity of filler on the bow stem tip and outwales (this will need further investigation when the outwales are removed - it will likely need a new stem tip splicing on) and can now see the extent of the damage to planking when it received damage to two of the ribs.
More to follow when the stripping is finished . . . .