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Can Someone Help Identify This Canoe?

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by Howie, May 27, 2018.

  1. Howie

    Howie LOVES Wooden Canoes

    I've just got an email from someone who is offering me his canoe. Can anyone identify it? He says family lore has it as a Rushton Indian Girl bought in 1918. I see a fat tailed stem, and a sort of odd shaped keel, but I don't recognize the decks. Looks to be a very thin stem profile front & back, so I don't think it's Canadian. I see seat bolts embedded in the rails and holes in the rails suggesting it once had rail caps.
    IMG_5342.jpeg IMG_5343.jpeg IMG_5344.jpeg IMG_5352.jpeg IMG_5354.jpeg
     
  2. MGC

    MGC Paddlephile

    What was that Cheech and Chong line? Ain't that a peach? That ain't no peach my friend....it definitely is not is an Indian Girl (or a Rushton) . I've owned a few of those and I'm pretty sure I know one when I see one. I'd bet money on Canadian but I'm even worse at identifying Canadian boats than I am the "merican" ones (done with a GWB accent).
    Shoe keel, chunky decks, narrow white cedar....Huron of some sort or another? With any kind of luck Andre will come along and see it for what it is. Oh, and 1918.........I think Rushton was done building by then.
     
  3. Dave Osborn

    Dave Osborn LIFE MEMBER

    The deck suggests Penn Yan.
     

    Attached Files:

  4. OP
    OP
    Howie

    Howie LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Right Dave - I should have mentioned that the fella can see no serial #s on the stem. So that leaves out OT, PY, and Carleton. And Penn Yan always used Frearson bolts & screws, right? These bolts look like the sunken head bolts I've seen on old OTs and Carletons.

    And the decks do look like a Rushton deck shown here... https://dragonflycanoe.com/decks

    I do agree with Mike about the seats looking clunky, but they may be replacements. They fella did say he had done some work on it at some point. But the outside of the planking looks very finished - the Canadian canoes I've seen have all had very rough/crude outsides. Plus the rails go all the way to the tip of the decks and are tapered. This suggests some care was taken in the construction.

    And seriously - doesn't that stem look fat at the end? Who makes/made fat ended stems? Rushton, right?
     
  5. Dan Lindberg

    Dan Lindberg Rotten Wood Hoarder

    I was going to throw out Mullins, but the shear doesn't look right, so I'll get in the Canadian camp.
     

    Attached Files:

  6. Dan Miller

    Dan Miller cranky canoeist Staff Member

    It does have some Rushton-y features, like the wider stem, and wide sheer plank. I can't tell, but if the planking is also flush with the tips of the ribs, that would also be a clue. Rail caps would also be consistent with b grade.

    What isn't Rushton-y is the square stern seat. Should be trapezoid (is it a replacement?). Bow seat should be mounted on a cleat. At least one stem stem should have the maker's mark and a serial number.

    Note that the similar deck shown on my site is mounted in a lapstrake Nessmuk model, so it is not necessarily a direct comparison.

    Oral histories are always suspect. 1918 would put the build date right after Rushton closed and before St. Lawrence started up again. However, a number were built be emnployees - I tried to by a Clarence Brown (marked) at Assembly a few years ago, but the owner thought it was made of platinum.

    I don't think it is Canadian. Tapered gunwales aren't really known north of the border.

    Dan
     
  7. MGC

    MGC Paddlephile

    I was doing my absolute best to ignore the wide stem...a stem that is one of the signatures of Rushton canoes....
    And it is correct to note the rail tapers...
    Once again, I'm stumped....whatever it is, it isn't what it's not.
    Whereabouts has the boat lived all these years?
     
  8. Dan Lindberg

    Dan Lindberg Rotten Wood Hoarder

    More importantly, are you going to get/take it?
     
  9. OP
    OP
    Howie

    Howie LOVES Wooden Canoes

    I'm a cheap sob & I've communicated that to the guy. We'll see how much he wants for it. It's a 6 hour trip each way so I'm not all that anxious to spend time & $ on a gamble.
     
  10. Dan Lindberg

    Dan Lindberg Rotten Wood Hoarder

    I can understand that, 12 hrs is a long way to go for an unknown.
     
  11. Andre Cloutier

    Andre Cloutier Firestarter. Wicked Firestarter.

    kick up at the ends is weird, is there a shot of the other deck? the narrow planking and the strong taper knocks out a huron from what i know of them . cant explain the rail cap holes , seat hangers look like they are missing the plugs so with the deck and shoe keel i vote Langford. Not allowed in my shop, they often display dismal build characteristics. put it late 60s early 70s. Thin wide ribs too. Seat hanger bars missing if it is one. messed with a bunch i think. otherwise no idea
     
  12. OP
    OP
    Howie

    Howie LOVES Wooden Canoes

    I do have 2 more images I didn't send along at first as they show mods the fella did with the decks. But here they are - maybe it'd help with the identification.
    IMG_5350.jpeg IMG_5346.jpeg
    BTW, I've restored a Huron and a Langford - both from the 70s. Neither had the upturned deck that this canoe has - their decks were essentially flat chunks of wood while the decks on this canoe appear to be steam bent. Also, seems to me that the ribs on this canoe are tapered at the tips. And have a look at the side view from the 1st pic - doesn't it look like the planking is even with the rib tips? So the outer rails were likely the thin type and without the rabbet notch seen on most canoe I've come across. Of course, Huron & Langford have the same type of outer rail.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2018
  13. Dan Miller

    Dan Miller cranky canoeist Staff Member

    The sheer profile at the stems is reasonably consistent with a Rushton Indian (not Indian Girl). You would need to know dimensions. Indian was only offered in 15'. All of the Indians I have seen have heart-shaped decks, but I haven't seen all the Indians that were built yet.

    My Indian is all-wood, but it is only marked on a thwart.

    Dan
     
  14. MGC

    MGC Paddlephile

    I should have looked at the pictures more closely instead of picking on you...the gar looks very much like the ones that are common on Rushton's...it also looks like the top plank is the typical large board used by Rushton. And the entry looks very similar to what is seen on an IG.........
     
  15. OP
    OP
    Howie

    Howie LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Dan - Can you supply a pic of your Indian? - especially a side view.
     
  16. OP
    OP
    Howie

    Howie LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Just got another email from the owner. Says it's 15' long and 31 1/2" (between outer planking I assume as there's no outer rails). But he says the seats are original.
    Sounds like 15' is a magic number. Might it be a Rushton Indian and not Indian Girl?
     
  17. OP
    OP
    Howie

    Howie LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Also forgot to mention that the owner says his wife's grandfather got the canoe used in 1908 - so the canoe likely predates 1908. And that they lived on Keuka Lake here in NY (once the home of Penn Yan canoes).

    And Mike - what the hell is a GAR???
     
  18. MGC

    MGC Paddlephile

  19. OP
    OP
    Howie

    Howie LOVES Wooden Canoes

    I was just looking at the pictures of the canoe again. Looks like there are only 2 thwarts - one mid-length and one just behind the front seat. Is this consistent with a Rushton Indian? Does anybody have any pics of an Indian? I can find plenty pics of an Indian Girl but none of a 15' Indian.
     
  20. Dan Miller

    Dan Miller cranky canoeist Staff Member

    Surprisingly, I don't have photos of mine. Here is a lines drawing though.

    page-48.jpg
     

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