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15 foot Indian Girl

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by thirsty, Nov 6, 2009.

  1. Dan Miller

    Dan Miller cranky canoeist Staff Member

    Pop rivets and lots of silicone adhesive. Then a few 3/8x16 x 3" bolts, with lots of extra washers, just in case. Use steel bolts, they are cheaper.

    Ducking and running!
  2. Todd Bradshaw

    Todd Bradshaw Sailmaker

    Drywall screws are pretty good, too. Those pointy ends sticking through on the inside will help hold you into the boat in a capsize.... Lovely find, by the way. Enjoy it and don't let the other members drool all over it as it's hard on the varnish.

    I actually owned one of the Indian Brand canoes. It was my first canoe purchase, back when I was 16 years old. The line consisted of several rather boxy and somewhat uninspiring, flat-bottomed fiberglass canoes (15' Squaw, 18' Chief and I think there was a 13' model called the Papoose) Then there was the 17' Princess, which I owned and it was a totally different design with the higher ends and a keelless arched bottom (shown with the fake birch pattern on the catalog cover). It was actually a very nice boat in the water and I've always wondered who designed it? The glass layup was rather heavy and primitive with a lot of mat used over some sort of metal rib cores, but it was flexible enough to really take a pounding in shallow rivers. I don't think I've ever owned a glass whitewater boat that was any more durable at any price point.

    Stems came covered with heavy vinyl bang strips, thwarts and seats were rigid vinyl and the gunwales were aluminum with vinyl covers to keep the noise down. It was a good enough canoe that if I could buy it back today as a general-purpose beater, I probably would. The line also included either the first, or one of the first Royalex boats, which was a 16 footer and pretty decent for Royalex, but I can't quite pull the model name out of my memory banks.

    The company was Rivers and Gilman Molded Products in Maine and after it closed, Mr. Gilman went to work for a little canoe company named Old Town and was a major factor in much of their subsequent plastic boat technology.

    Wisconsin River circa 1970-71

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  3. Dan Miller

    Dan Miller cranky canoeist Staff Member

    Ah yes, those are good too, but in order to be effective you must use Phillips head, and be sure to cam the bit out when you drive them in!

    (Sorry Dave, thanks for lunch last week!)
  4. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    How about a "Sagamore" as shown in the 1974 catalog picture below. (Maybe it is time to start a Plastic Canoe Heritage Association although someone else has registered already.) The design for their Princess model was derived from a Morris. Uniroyal can claim to be the first manufacturer of Royalite / Royalex (a.k.a. acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene or A. B. S.) canoes and Thompson displayed them at the Chicago Boat Show in 1964. The Indian Brand ones followed very quickly. Their full line is shown in the 1974 price list below. The company continued for a few years after Lew Gilman left for Old Town in December of 1968.


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    Last edited: Jan 27, 2010
  5. OP

    thirsty #8111

    The drywall screws are a great idea, we like the two fold application. Although, Peg thinks the addition of the bumpers should minimize the risk of capsizing, so we're leaning (but not too far, or we'd wish we had used drywall screws) toward the 3/8x16x3" bolts. She suggested paying a little extra & use stainless steel, so that sometime during the next 100 yrs, it doesn't spend a winter in her guest bedroom being painted after a premature restoration.

    (The poor pic is the 1909 OT double gunnel presently getting paint...........what a gal!)

    I think if I join the Plastic Canoe Heritage Assoc., both me and the double gunnel will be looking for a new bedrooms.

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  6. Todd Bradshaw

    Todd Bradshaw Sailmaker

    "The design for their Princess model was derived from a Morris"

    Gee, that might go a fair part of the way toward explaining why it paddled so nicely. Only I got mine in the spring of 1969 and I think only had to pay something like $250 for it.

    Yes, the "Sagamore" was the name of the Royalex 16 footer. Any Royalex boat that combines the words "sag" and "more" in its name is pretty accurately labeled from what I've seen.:)

    The only other thing I remember was being there when the truck came in with my boat. It was driven by two young-ish guys who looked like body-builders. The canoes were on a big, multi-leveled pipe rack and my boat was about three levels up. One of the guys climbed up on the rack, holding on with one hand, grabbed the boat by the center thwart with his other hand and passed it over his head to the guy on the ground. Pretty impressive considering that it was listed at over 80 lbs. That's the boat that I was paddling in my first marathon race when I ran over an abandoned stove out in the middle of the river. Luckily, the thin gelcoat and fairly flexible bottom meant that it never scratched very deeply when you hit something.
  7. beaver

    beaver Birchbark CanoeingBuilder

    The "Princess" has got the "bark-look" eh?
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 27, 2010
  8. Dan Lindberg

    Dan Lindberg Ex Wood Hoarder

    Dave & Peggy,

    Congrates on finding a beautiful canoe, most of can only dream about such a canoe.

    And thanks for posting the pics, very nice.
    Please keep us posted as you progress on this project.

  9. acfults

    acfults Tennessee Canoeist

    If it were me, I would do as another said, and bathe the boat well with soap and water. Sometimes has a wonderful result.

    Then I would carfully scrape the paint splatter off the gunwales.

    Then, simply because I like the patina on this old boat, I would try to see just how good I could make the old finish look.

    I have used a Formby product called "Furiture Refinisher" on antique furniture with some very good results.

    If you just want to make it look cleaner, but keep the patina, I would try some of that, before stripping it and re-varnishing.

    There are a lot of ways to patch a slit in the canvas.

    I have done it by working a patch in between the planks and canvas, and "injecting" a good glue all around the hole between the canvas patch, and the canvas being patched. You might need to lay some wax paper on the fix, smooth it out, or weigh it down till dry.

    I have also used duck tape which I painted. The duck tape patch looks okay, if you stand back far enough. The canoe I had when I was a kid had enough duck tape patches on it that it was begining to look like a feature of design.
  10. acfults

    acfults Tennessee Canoeist

    Did someone say they like dry wall screws ?

    The old man I got my Peterborough from replaced one of the gunwales a few years before I got the boat. He attached it with plain old uncoated drywall screws, and it looks like he ripped the lumber from a pressure treated pine decking board.

    Makes me glad I have a small quantity of long cherry boards out in the barn loft.
  11. Todd Bradshaw

    Todd Bradshaw Sailmaker

    Drywall screws are a favorite joke around our old house, since the previous owner (who we shall call "Idiot") fastened absolutely everything, indoors or out with them. Performance and cosmetics are pretty much what you would expect and one of the reasons that we have had to replace or recover every surface and every piece of trim in the whole house over the last decade or so. Among other things, he found them especially useful for bending the drywall over irregular stud surfaces. At least they're easy to remove. However, when you pop off the drywall to properly level the studs and re-drywall it, it's a real shock when you find yourself staring at a little bit of damp insulation and the back side of the vinyl siding (really). Oops, gues he forgot the sheathing on that part of the wall. If drywall screws work so well on a 1925 house, they should work equally well on an old canoe........right?
  12. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    Duck It

    Dry wall screws are a bit too permanent in that they would leave holes when removed. Why deface such a wonderful old canoe.
    My recommendation for IG to SportPal conversion would be to use duct tape. You can simply enshroud the canoe with tape, holding both gear, sponson's, dogs, canvas and other items in place. When you want to switch back to classic canoe, simply rip off the tape, sponson's, release the dog and carry on. There will be no holes left from screws.
  13. Kathryn Klos

    Kathryn Klos squirrel whisperer

    Decorative Bolts

    One of our new old canoes came with an assortment of decorative bolts-- some with washers, some without-- perhaps to remind passengers in the canoe not to lean on the rails...

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  14. Greg Nolan

    Greg Nolan enthusiast

    Well, another way to solve the problem of the holes left by removing screws is to make the screws impossible to remove -- countersink deeply, then cover with bondo!

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  15. OP

    thirsty #8111

    I think using flourescent duct tape would also fulfill some of our States safe boating requirements. Once we all agree on how to attach the bumpers, we can offer an IG to Sportspal Conversion Kit, for those of us who desire dual membership with the PCHA. If I could only locate a painters ring, REALLY!
  16. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    Yes, the market was flooded with truck loads of "bark-look" fiberglass Indian Brand canoes in the late 1960s and early 1970s as shown in the first picture and described by Todd below. There were many attempts to make plastic canoes look like wooden ones as shown in the other pictures here but none of them were tremendously successful. A cost saving measure to eliminate the gelcoat pigmentation of the interior which exposed the end grain balsa wood core in the hull was very popular. Real wood canoes are now more common than any of these.


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  17. Todd Bradshaw

    Todd Bradshaw Sailmaker

    Of course back then we also had the other side of the coin - the O.T. "Boy Scout Special" - a 16' wood/canvas Guide model with thwarts instead of seats and instead of the standard dark green, it was painted aluminum color. Go figure.....Maybe it was so that duct tape patches would blend right in without the need for painting over them......
  18. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    I like the "natural wood grain fiberglass finish"...

  19. OP

    thirsty #8111

    Martha Martha update, we thought we'd go with the camo look.

    Approx. 106 yr old canvas in remarkable condition. We did not intend to take her down to the filler....long story. We did intend to take the old shellac off to resolve the blistering problem.

    We're taking her "under construction to the Canton Canoe Races, 13-15 May. There will be a large display of Rushton's commemorating the Race's 50th year. Hope to meet some of you there.

    Dave Davidson

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  20. Douglas Ingram

    Douglas Ingram Red River Canoe & Paddle

    Nice find!

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