An old canoe can be refurbished and look almost as good as new, if the plastic is in good shape. All the wood work can be removed and replaced, leaving your canoe looking great.
Step 1: Remove old wood
Anything that is dry rotted needs to come off. Very helpful if you clearly mark the placement of seats, thwarts & etc on the inner hull to ensure that you get everything back where you want it. Also, be sure to save everything you remove, as you will need it as a template to cut your new pieces to fit.
This is also a good chance to scrub all the old dirt and grime off the hull.