I have a very rare 17 foot double ended Grumman with factory webbed seating (Alum. tube seat frame with lawn chair type webbing attached by a notched pinch clip, not screws). It was a special order of canoes made this way by request "just one time" per the Grumman management). Grumman acknowledges it, but has no records or photos on file. Just stories from the real old timers that have since retired. It is heavy gauge with tons of aircraft rivets. I wouldn't trade it for a high dollar fiberglass canoe or even a new Grumman! The seats make the difference + it could be the last one remaining in existence! Only minor useage markings, no severe or repaired damage exists.
We took it out for Class 3 rapid trip just this week. Nothing beats a Grumman. Legendary much like a Harley Davidson! I prefer the Web Seats for comfort to the rigid aluminum. A local canoe rental guy said, Aluminum doesn't last. I said, find me an antique fiberglass or plastic canoe and then we will talk about durability. Especially if you stored yours in direct sun, outdoors like I have!My rating for Grumman canoes is off the charts. Can you really call anything else a Canoe if it doesnít have a Grumman sticker on it?
I was practically born in a Grumman canoe and have been cabrewing, camping, fishing, gunwale pumping, hunting, motoring, paddling, picnicking, poling, portaging, racing, roof racking, sailing, submerging, surfing, swamping, trailering, towing, white watering and wooeing women, in my 1966 red 17í double ender for the last 41 years. My parents owned and sold Grumman canoes since before I was born (1958). This was our familyís 2nd generation Grumman and it, and its blue painted twin has survived and protected my 3 brothers and all our crazy friends, my 6 children and theirs, as well as Boy Scouts through many, many adventures. It has sailed Lake Erie, Lake Huron and Lake Michigan in 6 to 8 ft swells, and dozens of smaller lakes in the blazing sun, high winds, rain, hail, lighting and even a water spout.
We have paddled more rivers in it than I can remember; the AuSable, Auglaize, Black Fork, Clear Fork, Hocking, Kokosing, Mad River, Maumee, Mohican, Muskingum, Mahoning, Ottawa, Ohio, Scioto, Olentangy, Big and Little Darby, Great Miami, Little Miami, Sturgeon, Indian River, Tuscarawas, Walhonding Rivers to name a few.
Maintenance? It donít need no stinkin maintenance! No patching, painting, or cleaning.
I have no doubt that these two canoes will be passed down through the next 2, 3 or 4 generations of my family none the worse for wear.I wish there was an 11 or 12 or 15 out of 10 for this boat: Had my shiny tin-can 'clunker' for going on 30 years, run everything from Class I to IV+ in this thing, canoed and camped to above the tree-line in 4 seasons ( Was actually cutting thin river ice with the bow on the return from one trip)Beat the CRAP out of this thing season after season after season , dragging it through hellish rocky portages and it comes back for more.
Sure, it ain't some fancy Kevlar, ash-gunwaled cherry-trimmed beauty; It's a beast of burden and more beat up looking than Keith Richard's face, but like 'Keef', it keeps going and going......I have been paddling this canoe for the last 36 years. I started with my father as a 13 year old and still have the boat as a 49 year old. It still is my all-time favorite boat. I can carry it on a 460 rod portage, and did last summer in the boundary waters with my 13 year old. I can leave it in a barn for 5 years and when I wash it out, it looks as good as it did in the '60s!
Aluminum canoes, personally owned and cared for can be wonderful long term investments. They do not need to look like the rental fleet which the Russian Army marched over. They really do last a lifetime. I have loved sail boats and kayaks and motor boats, but if there is any boat I own which my son will be sharing with his 13 year old it will be the Grumman.