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1902 Rushton Indian complete

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by Howie, Jun 14, 2019.

  1. Howie

    Howie Wooden Canoe Maniac

    I've just finished restoring my 15' 1902-ish Rushton Indian, Grade B, serial #84. It weighs 67# and is 31-3/4" wide from the outer rails. Seat, thwarts, and decks are chestnut.
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    Note the odd wide/flat keel and the staggered placing of the screws holding the keel. To compensate for the thin keel the screws enter at about a 60 degree angle thereby giving it more wood to bite into.
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    It also came with a 2-piece removable floor board system as well as what appears to be a seat back. I assume they're from Rushton as they appear to be original and fit very well.
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    Erik Rolle and 1905Gerrish like this.
  2. OP

    Howie Wooden Canoe Maniac

    More pics...
    20190614_153943.jpg 20190614_154008.jpg
    Kent E. Nord likes this.
  3. Scott Rowe

    Scott Rowe Random Adventurer

    Looks great Howie! So jealous.
  4. johnmetts

    johnmetts Curious about Wooden Canoes

    What a lovely maiden.
  5. OP

    Howie Wooden Canoe Maniac

    John: Well, technically it's not a maiden - that'd be an Indian Girl. This is an Indian. It was only available in the 15' length, and came out in 1902, a year or two before the Indian Girl and was the first canvas covered canoe offered by Rushton. It lacks the bi-lobed decks and trapezoid rear seat usually associated with the Indian Girl. She/he has rail caps, thinnish non-rabbeted outer rails, a very fat keel. Like the Indian Girl the front seat is atta ched from the outside with screws through the ribs. And I'm told the deck peaks are an inch or two taller that those in an Indian Girl.

    I just yesterday took it out for a swim. Just me sitting 'backwards' in the front seat so the aft end is pointing forward. This thing turns on a dime: just one circular stroke with the paddle causes a 90 degree turn. And it wasn't as 'tender' as thought it might be as long as I sat in the middle of the seat. It found sitting or leaning to the side made it much more unstable though.
    So it's a keeper. Guess I'll be selling my 13' Old Town 50 Pounder...
  6. Norm Hein

    Norm Hein Canoe Codger

    Beautiful canoe Howie. Nice job
  7. Pook

    Pook Chestnut Canoe fan

    Like the Indian Girl the front seat is attached from the outside with screws through the ribs.

    What a beautiful restoration- congratulations!
    Question though about the note re: front seat. So seat hangers screwed directly to ribs from outside? Screw heads countersunk flush? How thick are ribs?
    Interesting way of hanging seat. Rear seat hung directly from inwale so wondering why they choose something else for front...

  8. OP

    Howie Wooden Canoe Maniac

    Yup - c-sunk flat-head screws from outside through to the blocks holding the seat. Yeah... don't know what to say. It does make the inner rails stronger, and you can still remove the seat. Plus with this technique the seat acts as a thwart as it's extremely rigid - unlike seats that dangle from the rails with wiggly standoff spacers. And consider: this was Rushton's first canvas covered canoe. He was making non-canvas canoes and boats before this. Seems to me with non-canvas canoes there's little down side to mounting seats from the outside, so likely with the Indian & Indian Girl he continued to use the same construction techniques.
  9. johnmetts

    johnmetts Curious about Wooden Canoes

    True, she is not a "Girl" in that context, however, I still assert that she is a lovely maiden in the tradition of the sea. I refer to your wonderful craft in the feminine as it is embedded in maritime tradition and I appreciate your wonderful craft in the sense of the skill you ply. I have read that the feminine idiom for watercraft comes from the Latin word for ship, "navis," which holds a feminine connotation - however this doesn't hold water. (sorry - couldn't resist.) Some sources suggest the concept of "she" is related to motherhood, and the protective nature of mums everywhere. This would be a valued attribute in a watercraft - even though in olden times a woman on board a ship was considered bad luck. The English word "ship" comes from the German "schiff", a noun that is neither masculine nor feminine.

    Sadly, the romance of the sea has fallen by the wayside. Nowadays, Lloyd's List, reporter of shipping news since 1734, refers to all watercraft by the pronoun "it." (A descriptor that leaves a dusty taste on the tongue and conjures up a picture of a neutered cat.) Alas, we have let political correctness debase the art and architecture of our language. We, who still appreciate all that is beauty and art; where a Girl is still a Girl and a wooden canoe is still most feminine in line and aspect; can call your creation a maiden to show our keen eye for such a lovely thing.

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  10. OP

    Howie Wooden Canoe Maniac

    johnmetts: How is it you Brits have such a way with words? Although... it is called 'English' I suppose.

    As to the feminine craft: I take your point! Consider: the first thing we canoe restorers do is rip off their canvas and strip them down to their bare wood. Then we probe for rot or other damage, and replace and or fix imperfections. Only then, after weeks of work do we varnish, canvas, and paint anew to make them look like they did when they were young.
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2019
  11. MGC

    MGC Paddlephile

    Goodness....I'm headed outside for a smoke.

    WRT Pooks observations, one way to spot a canoe from the North Country is to look for the bow seat hung from a pair of cleats attached directly to the ribs. You'll see this in all of the Indian Girls, the Whistle Wing that Benson just posted is constructed this way and the Brown I am currently working on is the same. There seems to be a convention for how to trim the edges of it. It seems like anyone that ever built a canoe in St. Lawrence County made these pieces exactly the same way.
    From what I've seen they do have a tendency to spread a bit due to the way the seats are attached...and the absence of a thwart near the seat.
    Shari Gnolek likes this.
  12. Rob Stevens

    Rob Stevens Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    "one way to spot a canoe from the North Country,..."
    Seat cleats screwed from the outside of the ribs are very common in Canadian canoes.
    Many are working boats. That seat attachment strenghtens the hull considerably (as Howie mentioned above). I never understood why anyone would drill a hole through a relatively narrow piece of wood as a gunnel. That seems to me to weaken it unnecessarily (all the more so if it's softwood as many inners are).
    MGC likes this.
  13. johnmetts

    johnmetts Curious about Wooden Canoes

    British? Oh my. I was born in Michigan but of Irish and French Canadian descent. Pi pip! Tally - ho and all that jolly rot!

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