View Full Version : Old town lapstrake rib question
12-28-2011, 04:05 PM
Hi, I am new to the forum. I am restoring 2 boats, both Old Town. One is a 1937 12' wood and canvas rowboat. The other is a 1953 15' lapstrake runabout, grade AA which means mahogany rails, seats and transom. My question here is almost all the ribs (oak) need to be replaced. I have the skills needed to steam the ribs but I wonder if I would be better off to laminate them. I would use G flex epoxy. Steaming would be easier. I would use the existing ribs to clamp the new ones to the planks; but laminated ribs would last longer? Would I be messing with a accurate restoration of this boat? Thanks in advance Mike
12-28-2011, 04:52 PM
Old Towns are niche boats so keeping them original is money in your pocket.
Some of the wood/canvas crowd come here but they all hang out at
12-28-2011, 06:50 PM
Thanks Chuck. I bought the OT row boat from an ad on WCHA. Great people there. The lapstrake runabout was free. I will take your response as; steam the ribs (runabout) to preserve the history of the building of the boat. Sounds good. Thanks Mike......
I would agree on steaming them. The bends in those ribs are reasonably gentle, so they should do fine. I had a 13.5' version of your boat when I was growing up (also 1953), and at 30+ years old there wasn't a single cracked rib.
12-29-2011, 04:05 PM
Thanks Ned. I guess it depends how the boat was mantained and where was it used. My rowboat was used on lake erie and was well taken care of. The runabout in question spent it's life on Long Island and was not. I do know Old Town built fine canoes and boats. Hokey Dokey I will fire up the Steambox.... Mike
The ribs on at least the rowboat and maybe the runabout are more than likely northern white cedar.
Steam bends real nice.
WCHA is a great source of information.
12-30-2011, 04:23 PM
Thanks Fitz, The rowboat does have cedar ribs and Western cedar planking maghogany seats and gunwales. The guy I bought it from who is very knowledgeable said the knees,( 3 seats worth and transom) might be apple. Don't know but I have 4 coats of varnish and they are pretty. ( pics soon). Anyway, the build record for the lapstrake does not say what the ribs are. The planking is fastened with brass screws and nuts and I doubt it would be cedar. The lapstrake is put away for the season so spring will answer the question. The rowboat will be in the workshop, canvased filled and then painted. Two Old Town boats, sent so far away, have come back home to Maine........ Mike
12-31-2011, 07:49 AM
The lapstrake boat will have hardwood ribs - ash according to the 1953 Old Town catalog.
Thad Van Gilder
12-31-2011, 08:11 AM
The 15 foot strip planked Old town I restored was westerner red cedar planked. with a solid mohogany deck.
The 15 foot lapstrake Old Town I grew up on was northern white cedar on red oak or ash frames and backbone with little brass or bronze nuts and bolts through the laps. Not riveted. oh yeah, and a plywood deck.
If you want them to be worth anything, keep them original.
12-31-2011, 08:08 PM
Thad, Women don't seem to know that joy in madness. OH well. Thanks for the info. Dan; I bought your OT oarlocks. Thank you so much for those and the info on my runabout. I was looking at some nice ash and now have a reason to buy. Happy New year to everyone!! Mike...
If I had to guess,, I'd say that the ribs in my runabout were ash (and I now remember it was a 1954). I used mine on the Jersey shore (Navesink River, Sandy Hook Bay, & out into the ocean), so it wasn't exactly babied.
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