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BN Morris Project (maybe) S/N 12655

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by Scott Rowe, Sep 22, 2011.

  1. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    Don't get too excited about the glass coming off easily... I did that once, and ended up peeling off significant chunks of cedar. It just makes more work for you.

    Garcia may have been involved with re-canvassing the canoe... I've heard stories that folks sometimes pencil their names before putting the new canvas on. I've not confirmed it, just heard it...
  2. OP
    Scott Rowe

    Scott Rowe Random Adventurer

    I'm just messing with you. As I was deglassing I kept looking for anything written on the hull but not yet. But you're right. It comes off easy enough that I just want to yank and pull. Roycroft published a book called Message to Garcia. They built furniture copper ware and published books but not canoes.
  3. Denis M. Kallery

    Denis M. Kallery Passed Away July 3, 2012 In Memoriam

    My Mom was into Elbert Hubbard and I have a set of Roycroft bookends that were hers. I also sold a book that she had " Man of Sorrows" It was a limited edition and signed. Sold it for $1200.
  4. OP
    Scott Rowe

    Scott Rowe Random Adventurer

    The glass is off. It came off easy enough. The exposed planking appears to be red cedar. As this is a circa 1916 Morris does this make sense? If I can only find white cedar, can that be used and dyed to match? I've seen the thread regarding dyeing can't recall if that was with red or white cedar. Also, even though the outwales are mahogany I believe I've read here that the inwales would be that right?

    I've examined the hull and to my eye there is a lot of work. The stems were repaired previously unconventionally and should probably be redone. The inwales at the stem were also hastily repaired and should be redone. One inwale damage extends to the deck end where a deck screw puckered the wood severely. There is a badly broken rib and a number of cracked ribs. There is some broken planking and some planking that just looks bad. I don't know how to evaluate the planking that is not broken but may need to be replaced due to water damage. The mahogany outwales have considerable roughness and wear to the tips but so far intact. I guess the good news is that the key Morris identifier, the splayed stem area is perfect. Smooth and tight. Any advice is much appreciated. Thanks.

    Oops another question. As tacks from planks are removed to access damaged ribs and stems. Are the old tack holes used when replacing the planks? A few rib tips have cracks in the ends. It seems like these should be repaired and not replaced. Is this easily done by clamping and glueing? Should any rejuvenating linseed oil be applied to the hull prior to repairs or wait til repairs are complete?
  5. David McDaniel

    David McDaniel Canoe Dude

    Scott; To answer your question about the inwales being spruce, that is true on closed gunwale Morris's. But with open gunwales they are both mahogany.
  6. Greg Nolan

    Greg Nolan enthusiast

    Denis Kallery has figured out a stain mix that matches the original interior color originally used on many Morris canoes:

    Using Minwax products:

    2 parts Red Mahogany 225
    2 parts Golden Oak 210B
    1 part Special Walnut 224
    1 part Sedona Red 222

    A discussion may be found at:

    However, if you intend to color the interior of your canoe with such a stain, you would probably still have to do something first in the way of pre-staining the new white cedar match the color of the old (red) cedar, before applying an overall stain.
  7. Denis M. Kallery

    Denis M. Kallery Passed Away July 3, 2012 In Memoriam

    The subject of red Cedar planking has been discussed on the forum previously so you might want to use the search engine because I may not recall everything. There are numerous sources of red Cedar planking at your local lumber yard they are: beveled siding, 4x4 posts, 4x6 posts, 6x6 posts. All of those will require machining to obtain what you need. With the posts - if you are careful you might be able to get quarter sawn stock out of them. You'll have to pick through the pile to find as clear pieces as you can. A WCHA member close by you may be able to help with the machining.
    If you do use White Cedar you'll probably need to stain it more than once to get it to match, but then you will be doing that anyway with the ribs. As I recall the inside of your canoe is the dark mahogany that Morris seems to have liked. It goes nicely with the Mahogany trim. We have seen some that are a lighter finish for which I have not tried to come up with a match. because ours are all dark.
    Please keep us posted with photos - as it has been said many times "We like photos"
    Best, Denis
  8. Dan Miller

    Dan Miller cranky canoeist Staff Member

    The grain patterns, coloration, chatoyance, etc of red cedar and white cedar are different enough, that if you replace red cedar planking with white, it will be noticeable and you may come to regret doing that. Best practice in restoration is to replace like with like, and red cedar is not that hard to find.

    Do not reuse the old tack holes, you won't be able to get a tight clinch.

    Split rib ends can be glued with epoxy.

    The use of linseed oil is open to debate. I personally do not feel it is necessary. A search of these forums should reveal several discussions on this.
  9. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    Scott, your inside rails are mahogany. I am 100% sure of that. Even the splices are mahogany.

    When I inspected the canoe I could not see the tops or the fronts of the stems so I'm interested to hear about the "unconventional" repair. Were those also spliced when they did the inside rail splices?
    From the inside of the canoe those stems looked pretty good. I guess they don't look good with the glass off?
    Often canoes were glassed after the stems had seen one too many re-canvasses and would not hold tacks any more. That was one of my concerns about this canoe. That's the guessing game part of repairing these old boats.
  10. OP
    Scott Rowe

    Scott Rowe Random Adventurer

    Great advice guys. The latest news regarding my project is that I dodged the rain today and visited with a restorer in Cato, NY, Jack McGreivey. He was very encouraging even if he did suggest that I stay away from the internet. He felt my boat was in pretty good shape but removing the varnish will tell the whole story. I was interested in buying some lumber but he was in short supply and I'll have to return once I've taken inventory of rib stock needed. Just as been suggested in previous posts, he recommended red cedar clapboard and I bought four 3 foot sections on my way home, picking out the quarter sawn pieces. I also bought some stripper, very expensive. He also advised me to clean out any residual resin from between the planking with a pick and heat to allow even expansion and contraction.

    The unconventional repair to the stem that was difficult to see, MGC, was a 1/2 x 4 x 3 inch wood plate stuck in the bow and stern, where the 1/2 ish edge made the upper stem edge and the rest just hangs hidden under the decks. Effective but not right...right? Jack said the short scarfed inwales near the stem could be made better but that if I put rail caps as it once had it would hide the presently noticeable joint. He felt the inwale pucker from the deck screw could be compressed and glued back to shape. I learned a lot from just being in a working shop where there were various canoes in different stages of restoration.

    Of interest to Morris followers was that I met a man restoring a Morris there. His name was Mike and I believe he said he had three Morrises. When I brought up the serial numbers question he said the tags were in a box somewhere and didn't appear interested in the dating game. I informed him that folks here were building a Morris database and they may be interested. He recalled Kathryns name so maybe we'll hear from him.

    I found it interesting that his current project, I believe a15ft. Morris rowboat double ended, was not stained on the inside and also when I said "Oh you have three cants like mine", Jack piped in that there were only two that the third of the four ribs touching the splay was actually a full rib sharply bent under the splay. Whereas my three cants end on top of the splay. I think they said it had a "Fulton something something" tag that was on it.

    Sorry for the ramble....don't encourage me! lol

    I've got some stripper, a little bit of wood and I'm on my way.
  11. OP
    Scott Rowe

    Scott Rowe Random Adventurer

    How much original wood do you retain?

    As I search, talk and exchange posts, I find different positions regarding how much original components to retain. For example; one of my decks (see MGC pics of them) has a dime size hole in the deck. Part of its history but do I fill it, replace the deck or leave it. Perhaps more pertinent, I see where I have a number rib cracks, most are not deforming the rib or hull at all. Replace them because I'll be replacing some ribs anyway or if they have sound ribs on either side keep them. The outer mahogany gunnels near the tip are quite rough but intact. Splice in new pieces or dress em up and keep them. Perhaps this depends on a canoes provenance or history or rarity. If it is more common canoe put new parts in; otherwise retain original stuff even if it adds a bit too much patina.
  12. Dave Wermuth

    Dave Wermuth Who hid my paddle?

    I'd replace every cracked rib, even if it isn't deformed. It's a structural issue. I'd splice the tips assuming the rest of the gunwale is sound. As far as the hole in the deck-I'd be tempted to leave it as is, but i'd also consider plugging it.
  13. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

  14. Kathryn Klos

    Kathryn Klos squirrel whisperer

    Love your rambles-- keep it up! This is how we learn from each other and develop friendships with people we've never met in-person. Thanks for trying to direct the fellow with the Morrises my way... I hope we hear about his canoes.

    I believe the Morris double-ended rowboats were in a separate serial number series-- if that's what it was. I think we only have one of these in the database.

    Sounds like a Folsom Arms tag-- this was a dealer in sporting goods who handled Morris and other builders. The tag will sometimes have the serial number on it.
  15. OP
    Scott Rowe

    Scott Rowe Random Adventurer

  16. goldencub

    goldencub Carpenter

    Scott - regarding that hole in your deck: I have a .38 cal bullet hole in the side of my w/c Sebago Cartopper that I restored, which i left alone and visible. It was the result of a late-afternoon (cocktail-fueled??) porcupine hunt under one of the cabins, and the boat, leaning against an adjacent shed, caught a bullet. Yes, it was a very stupid thing to do and a wonder that it was only the boat that got shot. No, I was NOT a participant and was 1000 miles away at the time. I leave it there because if anyone sees it and asks about it, I can tell them the tale. Al D
  17. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

  18. OP
    Scott Rowe

    Scott Rowe Random Adventurer

    Thanks MGC for confirmation on those tie downs on the splay, I just wasn't sure they were right. I pick-up another seven foot piece of cedar clapboard today at 84 Lumber. I read a P Weld thread suggesting vertical grain off by 20 degrees to avoid splits and found a nice piece like that. No luck on rib stock. I'm contemplating seeing if Jack will let me restore the boat in his shop, he seemed to hint at that. I'll follow up and see what the cost is. He's closer to me than others shops. PS I removed 15 tin patches. Not fun. Also, all the ribs under the bow seat are broken. I may have to use the stern for bending new ribs. These boats are symmetrical right?
  19. H.E. Pennypacker

    H.E. Pennypacker LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Yes, Scott- those L-shaped bolts were used on closed gunwale Morris canoes. The horizontal part was pounded into the gunwale and/or pulled into it as the nut was tightened. Then the top cap was nailed on. On open gunwale canoes a round-head bolt was used.

  20. OP
    Scott Rowe

    Scott Rowe Random Adventurer

    I just had a I read the many Morris threads this thought has occurred to me. This thinking is due to the tie down/hanger brackets on the splayed stem of my 12655 example. The hanger bracket and tag plate are oriented in the same fashion, I think of it as the open position ( think open or closed door), long sides parallel to the keel . With my heart shaped deck the hanger line or tie down would easily clear the deck but what if the heart deck were phased out to the less stress crack prone curved deck. Would the line clear the deck? it is...wait for it.....would the S/N tag have to be rotated to the closed position (short end parallel to the keel) to allow the hanger/tie down bracket lines to clear the curved deck? How about this one....the keyhole deck (a design that to my eye looks less crack prone) would easily accommodate hanger/tie down brackets. Heresy .... maybe the Splayed stem larger surface area is all about attaching a hanger bracket to it. Sorry if this is Newbie drivel ...anything to distract me from doing more varnish removal on 12655 only to find more cracked ribs.

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