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5 out of 5 based on 3 customer ratings
(3 customer reviews)


A complete guide to wood-canvas canoe restoration.
To purchase the book in the USA, CLICK HERE.
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21 in stock

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Product Description

This Old Canoe: How To Restore Your Wood-Canvas Canoe is a step-by-step guide through the process of transforming an old, forgotten canoe into a cherished, classic heirloom.  Where other DIY canoe books concentrate mostly, if not entirely, on building wooden canoes, Mike Elliott focuses solely on the challenges faced by the canoe restorer.

This Old Canoe provides information and techniques useful to anyone wanting to know about these old wooden masterpieces.  Besides people wishing to restore, anyone building a cedar-epoxy “stripper” using lines taken from vintage models will be able to fit out their new canoe with exact replica components (such as decks, seats, thwarts) found in the original.

This Old Canoe is the only resource available with specific information about some of the classic old canoes.  This includes:

  • paint formulations for iconic Chestnut and Peterborough canoe canvas colours
  • plans for the Chestnut canoe portage yoke
  • component specifications for Maine Guide canoes
  • component specifications for Chestnut and Peterborough canoes
  • component specifications for Tremblay canoes
  • component specifications for “Huron” canoes
  • how to lace rawhide “babiche” seats
  • how to weave natural cane “rattan” seats
  • how to steam-bend wood

Besides all of the technical information, Mike includes a number of stories about old wooden canoes, their people and the restorations that brought them back together again. These stories help put a human face on the process of canoe restoration and gives you hope that almost any canoe is repairable when you follow the directions in the book.

  • 8.5″ x 11″ paperback
  • 192 pages
  • more than 300 photographs
  • more than 70 plans and illustrations

Available at the following retail outlets:

Canadian Canoe Museum Peterborough Ontario

Lee Valley Tools
noahs marine      Tendercraft Boat Shop Gallery 2

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Additional Information

Weight .66 kg
Dimensions 36 x 27 x 2 cm

3 reviews for

  1. 5 out of 5


    “Anyone with a true love for wood canvas construction will appreciate the recent efforts by Mike Elliott of Kettle River Canoes. I’ve been a devoted reader of Mike’s blog for many years now since it first came out in 2009. Over the years, Mike has been generously sharing detailed tips and guidance on everything related to canoe restoration. His brief web posts have been a valuable resource to folks who have wanted to tackle a repair on their own boats, especially when online information regarding canoe restoration can been hard to find for the first timer or those intimidated by the job.

    This Old Canoe is the only book currently published which is entirely devoted to the complex topic of restoration. As such, Mike has been able to cram wonderful tips and lengthy, precise details into a very useful reference publication. In addition, there are over 300 photos (black and white) that provide much needed visual assistance on the most common repair jobs of wood canvas canoes.

    If you are feeling intimidated by the work involved in restoring a beloved watercraft, This Old Canoe provides a wealth of useful information and guidance in the form of an inspiring instructional manual. It fills a much needed gap in publications about wood canvas canoes and would be a valuable addition to any workshop collection. Thanks to Mike Elliott’s devoted efforts, hopefully the world will see more vintage wood-canvas canoes restored to their former glory and being paddled as they were always meant to be.”

    Murat Vardar, Paddle Making Blog

  2. 5 out of 5


    “Elliott’s guide to restoring wood-canvas canoes is organized in a logical manner that traces the restoration process from evaluation to planning, to replacing ribs and canvas, and applying the final coat of paint. Best of all, the softcover format is far more appropriate for shop use than a laptop or tablet.

    Elliott’s writing is clear and easy to understand for all levels of woodworkers. I’ve always been inspired by his photographs, which illustrate the fact that canoe restoration requires common sense and creativity—not an arsenal of high-priced power tools. What’s more, he makes the procedure of finishing—that is, achieving glossy and durable paint and varnish of a beautiful final product—far less intimidating. It’s clear that Elliott speaks from experience, which is This Old Canoe’s greatest attribute.

    Canoe connoisseurs will also appreciate Elliott’s review and detailed specification charts for common wood-canvas canoes, including models produced by Canada’s venerable Chestnut Canoe Company. Elliott’s research is invaluable in identifying old canoes, as well as assisting in narrowing your search for a garage sale dreamboat. It’s hard to pick out any omissions or shortcomings to Elliott’s new book. Perhaps its only downside is that This Old Canoe is a gateway to a powerful obsession.”

    Conor Mihell, Canoe & Kayak Magazine

  3. 5 out of 5


    This old canoe book is very helpful. We are repairing and planning to recover our canoe with canvas, following Mike’s step by step directions. Mike suggests using # 10, 14.5 oz/ square yard canvas. We are wondering where he purchases this canvas. We are having difficulty finding it. Would you happen to know where to look? Thank you.

    • :

      Hi Brenda,
      In the resources section at the back of the book, I list the canvas supplier I use — Allen’s Canvas in Texas.

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