Canadian Canoe Routes

Price for neglected W/C in need of restoration
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Author:  mr_canoehead18 [ October 28th, 2007, 10:07 am ]
Post subject:  Price for neglected W/C in need of restoration

Hi folks,

This might be too general a question, but what is the price range for wood and canvas canoes that require considerable work?

For instance, assume a reputable manufacturer, a reasonable shape, and a boat that needed to be re-canvased, varnished, new gunwales as well as perhaps refurbishing decks, seats, stem bands and such.

Should a canoe like this be nearly free, or is it still quite valuable?

Author:  Sundown [ October 28th, 2007, 10:25 am ]
Post subject: 

Mr canoehead_18

Tricky question... were you to substitute the word "Canoe" into "Old Car",
again the difficulties in evaluation would, I think, exist.

Most of these things are "Labours of Love", and are economically invalid
starting right at the premise.

I may put 2000 hours into a Restoration... of various types.
I've done some with much more labour required, and if you put a price on
your own labour... well, it's hardly ever recoverable.
A lot of what we do makes zero economic sense... but money aint everything.

I think it comes down to the wishes of the Owner and the Desire of the Restorer?


Author:  mr_canoehead18 [ October 28th, 2007, 12:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Thanks

I am considering buying an old boat and doing much of the restoration myself.

I am not terribly experienced with woodworking, but I'm confident I can do all the grunt work of sanding and stripping varnish, and then hire a craftsman to work on the details. I am undecided about stretching the canvas, so I will likely have more questions about that when the time comes.

It seems as though this may take as much time/money as buying a new canoe, but I am looking forward to the project anyway.

Thanks for the reply.

Author:  RHaslam [ October 28th, 2007, 12:31 pm ]
Post subject: 

I would not pay more than 300 dollars for a canoe in the condition you fact, probably a lot less. If poke around people's camps and garages, you might get one for free. Restoration won't cost you a heck of a lot. You can recanvas it yourself for 300 or less, and trim and hardware and varnish should be under 200 for sure.

Have fun!

Author:  Sundown [ October 28th, 2007, 1:54 pm ]
Post subject: 

Hi Rob/Canoehead_18... wheres Pk and the other builders... lets go !

Tough question for you, but I like the Path you are following here, and maybe
if we all put our heads together, an answer will evolve?

1. Purchase from Vendor $300.00
2. Direct Materials $300.00
3. Indirect Materials (Hardware) $200.00
4. Subcontract (Craftsman) $?????
5. Tools and Equipment $?????
6. Direct Labour (hours@value?) $?????

Total $?????

Experience PRICELESS !!!!

Rob, Please participate, given a pretty rough shape canoe, as I am intrigued
by this discussion, and I reckon the conclusion will be, as we stated,
more-or-less, "You gotta wanna"... and I like/love restoration.

Its NEVER "worth it", but man is it so worth it... at the end...
when she slips into the water !!!!



Author:  RHaslam [ October 28th, 2007, 2:53 pm ]
Post subject: 

Throw in a book or two into the price least this one

I think the key to a first restoration like this is to find one with a hull more or less intact, as well as the inwale. Also check the bow and stern stems...lots of times, these boats have stem rot, which for a first timer, can be pretty intimidating...replacing the inwale can be a nasty job too.....So if you can find one that just needs re-canvasing, new outwales, maybe a deck or two and seats, thwarts...that would be a good project that wouldn't involve a lot of tools...assuming you have access to a table saw somewhere for ripping the stock for trim.

Or just get the bug, and build a new one.

Author:  mr_canoehead18 [ October 28th, 2007, 3:10 pm ]
Post subject:  More info soon . . .

I have agreed to purchase a canoe for $150 based on a description and a couple of pictures. When I pick it up, I will give it a thorough examination and figure out what can be done for it.

The seller mentioned that fiberglass could be included, so I suppose it is best I rescue it first in any case.

I'll keep you all posted. Thanks, as usual, for sharing your experience and expertise.

Author:  Sundown [ October 28th, 2007, 3:16 pm ]
Post subject: 

Mr Canoehead_18

Have a little looksee... take a digital camera... post a few pics... close-ups...
and ask the experts here (there are many of them) what you may be looking at?

Even if $150 is worth it, I'd still ask a lot of these guys here, to consult.

Doesn't hurt to kick the tires, and, it would be You doing many of Us the favour.



Author:  mr_canoehead18 [ October 28th, 2007, 4:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Bad timing

I saw the add on Friday, and e-mailed Saturday morning, asking about the price. Saturday afternoon I got a response saying $150 would do. Saturday evening I responded that $150 was fine, and when/where can I pick it up. Sunday afternoon I get another e-mail telling me it has been sold.

I suppose I need to drink more coffee to improve my reaction time!

This was the canoe, if the link works. It isn't mine, though, as it seems to have been sold. ... ayak-boats

Oh well, maybe whoever bought it is going to restore it and then sell it so I will have a second chance!

Thanks again for all the replies.

Author:  Sundown [ October 28th, 2007, 4:11 pm ]
Post subject: 

Mr Canoehead_18

Looks like a Good Buy... Great buy.... for $150... My condolences.
Next time.... My Friend... Next time...

Dont lose heart.


PS Check out the thread "Old Canoe found in the Bush" running currently
here, for my next Project !!! (Little more work, I reckon)



Author:  RHaslam [ October 28th, 2007, 4:15 pm ]
Post subject: 

Damn! You missed an excellent buy! I might have driven to Winter-peg for that one! Too bad......

Author:  Dan Miller [ October 29th, 2007, 6:48 am ]
Post subject: 

There is a simple guideline for determining the price of a wooden canoe... Every canoe is worth $1000, plus or minus $1500.

It might help to work backwards a little - what is a new canvas canoe running these days? Anywhere from $2500 to $5K, depending on the model and builder. Good usable restored canoes can be had $1000-2000. If you take an old canoe to a professional restorer, it could start at $100/foot for re-canvassing (filler, paint, reinstall keel, fresh varnish on gunwales, ... only. No woodwork). Complete restoration with significant woodwork could run you upwards to $3000-3500.

If restoring yourself, figure $400 to $600 for materials.

Working backwards from those numbers, you can now ask yourself whether the asking price is reasonable to you.

I've been buying and selling wood canoes for 15 years or so. I still don't totally understand the market, though I have yet not to make at least a little on each canoe I've sold. Make and model has a lot to do with it. I can't get enough 15'ers and I can't get rid of 18'ers.

There are lots of canoes out there. I think it is important to ask yourself what the goal is - do you want to learn canoe restoration as an end in itself, or are you looking to restore a canoe as a means to obtaining a good paddle? If the former, then you have lots of options. If the latter, I highly recommend you look for a canoe that is both in relatively good condition to start (i.e. an easy restoration), and is also a good paddling canoe for the sort of paddling you do (i.e. don't restore an 18' Old Town if your goal is to end up with a solo canoe).

To get an idea of the current market for wood canoes, look through the classified ads on the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association site (, and look at Ebay completed auctions.

Be careful buying canoes on Ebay though, unless you get to inspect the canoe prior to bidding, assume it will be much worse than it appears in the photos. I forget this rule occasionally :doh: The flip side is that because canoes are hard to evaluate and ship over the net, there are bargains to be had occasionally...

OK I've rambled to much.

Author:  pknoerr [ October 29th, 2007, 11:06 am ]
Post subject: 

Sundown wrote:
Hi Rob/Canoehead_18... wheres Pk and the other builders... lets go

Sorry, the thread just didn't interest me as there seem to be hundreds of folks asking this same question. I've only rebuilt one canoe, and I did a mediocre job of it, so I'll defer to Dan as our resident expert.


Author:  Dan Lindberg [ November 5th, 2007, 5:39 pm ]
Post subject: 

Dan is more then just a "resident" expert, he's as good as you get.

With that said, go over to the WCHA site and find an article Tim Hewitt wrote about W/C canoe values, it gives more details.

Prices have increased in the past 5 years but in general,

Projects - $0 to $800, depending on condition, brand, model, location and buyer.seller. 0-200 for poor condition, 5-800 for very good condition.

Users - $500 to $1200, again depending on the above

Restored - $800 to $3500 and up, again depending on the above

Mint Condition Originals - $1500 - $5000 and up, again depending on the above.

While Dan buys and sells, to date I only buy, and then only projects, prices have ranged from free to a max of about $650, I try to keep the price of a project in the 200-300 range. My most expensive was a user for $3300.

If anybody knows of a Chestnut Pal in the western Onterio area let me know. :)


Author:  Bryan Hansel [ November 6th, 2007, 1:48 pm ]
Post subject: 

I didn't realize that you could find a project cedar/canvas canoe for as cheap as listed. I'd love to find a project in the $500 range.

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