Can-U.F.O

Discussion in 'Research and History' started by Canoez, Dec 3, 2012.

  1. Canoez

    Canoez Paddle Bait

    Better over here than W&C...

    I received a phone call about a week ago letting me know that a friend was disposing of an old unknown canoe that he was planning to restore. Here it is upside-down on the car:

    [​IMG]I'm looking for a bit more information on what this actually is in terms of maker and model so that I can do an appropriate restoration of the boat. It's in fair shape and has typical rot , broken ribs and the like. There's also some "aftermarket mods" by previous owners. Here's what I know:

    She's about 16' long and 34" wide at her widest point and about 12" deep amidships with a shallow-arch hull form and a sweeping sheer. She's got a single, very plain thwart (rectangular piece of stock - very plain - probably a replacement of the original) that is under-mounted to the inwale. The boat may have spread some. Location seems original from what I can tell at the moment. Decks are deeply heart-shaped and make me think it may be a Rushton. This shot is the stern deck and the iron strap appears to be a later addition. There is only the one seat rail and it was hung from screws through the inwale, not mortised into it.[​IMG]
    It's a closed-gunwale boat, but the cap strip on the gunwale seems to be a later repair as it was installed with steel fasteners rather than bronze. most if not all of what appear to be original fasteners are relatively small straight-slotted flat-head screws. There is also an outer stem of sorts that is rounded over that caps the planking and the inner stem - it was made from cedar and was under the canvas.[​IMG]
    At the bow, there are three widely spaced cant ribs. [​IMG]

    Aft of the bow deck there appears to have been some sort of carry handle that was mortised into the top of the inwale and captured by the cap strip. It no longer exists.

    I have so far been unable to find any maker's marks, tags, decals or the like and I'm sure they were painted over at a previous restoration if they existed. I've also found no serial numbers.
    Any thoughts on what she is and what she should look like?
     
  2. MGC

    MGC Paddlephile

    Can you add pictures of the ribs, what you have remaining from the seat frame and a shot of the end of the stem where it terminated near the seat.
    The treatment of that part of the stem is very distinctive in Rushton's canoes.
    Rushton ribs are also distinctively shaped and easy to spot. We could rule that out quickly and move on the the next candidate.
     
  3. OP
    Canoez

    Canoez Paddle Bait

    Ok, here are a few more pictures and a bit more information. If you can give me a better idea of what you want to look at regarding the ribs, I'll try to take better pictures. The ribs themselves are very thin - maybe only 1/4" and have a very long taper to them.

    First, here are pictures of the ribs and a detail near the inwale. The finish on the ribs is actually fairly poor - almost like there is still saw ripple there:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The end of the stem is the same at both ends. This stem is the bow stem:

    [​IMG]

    There's not much left of the seat frame, really. The mortise for the stretchers appears to have been drilled - and very near the top of the frame. It's very much broken out at the top. I'll have to do a bit more dis-assembly to get an idea of what's underneath. Multiple layers of denim or some similar cloth were used to make a padded seat that was tacked to the original frame and cleated at the bottom to hold the fabric. There appears to have been fabric held in place with a spline at one point, but I can't say much more about it. The seat is hung with a small circular spacer:

    [​IMG]

    This picture shows (somewhat badly) the thwart location. There appear to have been two. One remains. The remaining one is painted green and blends in fairly well, but is between the two temporary clamps to keep the hull from spreading during transport. The clamp closest to the camera is located where the thwart was.

    [​IMG]

    The canoe had no keel and shows some very, very wide planking in the area of the gores - upwards of 8-10" or so. The same is true of the planking near the bow and stern near the sheer line.

    The underside of the heart-shaped decks is tapered - just a straight taper near the back edge.

    This definitely wasn't a showpiece boat when made - it was definitely a tool for use.
     
  4. Mark Adams

    Mark Adams all wood nut

    How wide is the sheer plank at the center?
     
  5. OP
    Canoez

    Canoez Paddle Bait

    Mark - 6". It's just over 9" for planking at the stern near the sheer.
     
  6. Mark Adams

    Mark Adams all wood nut

    I'm gonna go with it being a Rushton Indian Girl. The sheer plank width is usually a dead giveaway, and from what I can tell of the one pic of the tip, it looks like the end of the stem was a tenon into the gunnels. But, I'm sure Dan Miller will chime in at some point, and I'd go with what he says over my relatively uninformed opinion...
     
  7. Dave Wermuth

    Dave Wermuth Who hid my paddle?

    Decks, wide plank, square thwart all look to me to be early Rushton Indian Girl. Mortised inwales -- I don't know. Wow. I'm going with Rushton.
     
  8. Kathryn Klos

    Kathryn Klos squirrel whisperer

    Are the ribs pocketed into the inwales?
     
  9. Dan Miller

    Dan Miller cranky canoeist Staff Member

    Could be a late Navahoe model, especially if it has spruce trim. The Navahoe was the lowest grade Indian Girl, with modified sheer, spruce trim and other low grade materials. You might very well find the Rushton brands on the center thwart and upper face of the stems. Also look for the tell-tale nail holes from the Rushton Inc. shield-shaped deck plate.
     
  10. Dan Miller

    Dan Miller cranky canoeist Staff Member

    Could also be a Racine Boat Manufacturing Company. They used a wide, full length sheer strake, heart shaped decks and carry thwarts. See Wooden Canoe Issue 116 for identification tips.
     
  11. OP
    Canoez

    Canoez Paddle Bait

    No, the rib tips run on the outside edge of the inwale, not mortised in.
     
  12. OP
    Canoez

    Canoez Paddle Bait

    I'm thinking that this is reasonably likely. The level of finish and the choice of trim wood would seem to support this as they're very utilitarian and the quality of some of the planking materials I would call suspect for new boat construction. I will do some further inspection of the thwart. There had been two - would the brand be on both or just the center one? I see no evidence of holes in the deck, but they may be painted over or hidden beneath the iron strap that was added at the decks.

    The brand that would be on the upper face of the stems - how far down the stem would this be? Under the decks?

    The reason that I don't think it's the Racine boat based on your description is that the sheer strake isn't full length - the boat is gored with three strakes at the sheer. Also, the fullness of the radius on the Racine decks doesn't seem to be as much a half-circle as it is on the Rushton boats.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2012
  13. MGC

    MGC Paddlephile

    Navahoe may make sense.
    The stems here is shorter than an IG stem (ends on the rib) and also appears to be narrower suggesting that this may not have been built off of the same form as an IG. No one fiddles around with the way the stems fit a form...it's a signature detail.
    The stem wood on the boat does not look like Elm and the shear strake (if it were an IG) would be one single 6 inch board gore to gore.
    The ribs look like IG ribs and have that same distinctive shape.

    How were the seats mounted?
     
  14. OP
    Canoez

    Canoez Paddle Bait

    Well, with the taper to the gore, it couldn't be that wide from end to end. It is 6" amidships and very wide at the ends, too.

    Stems end on the 6th rib. The first three ribs (cant ribs) are widely spaced and then the next three are more closely spaced. The stem is 7/8" wide and extends nearly 3 feet from the bow. I've done a bit of building and yeah, stem length is nearly set in stone because of the groove in the form.

    Further examination, and removal of paint/varnish on stems and the thwart shows not sign of a stamp, so no incontrovertible evidence that it is any particular make. I *thought* the thwart was a simple rectangle - that's not true - it's actually 5 sided. The bottom of the thwart is actually like half a shallow diamond. Close examination of the inwales shows that there were two other thwarts - there was a small remnant of the forward thwart just abaft of the front seat location - it had been hidden by the temporary spreader. This leaves me somewhat confused. I had out Hallie Bond's book as well as Atwood Manley's tonight. Images that they show of both the Indian Girl and the Navaho(e?) seem to show only two thwarts. The thwarts in the Indian Girl are closer to the seats. The thwarts in the Navaho are amidships and near the rear seat. Manley describes the Navaho as being similar to the Indian Girl in design, but I'd assume they came off different molds?

    I guess the one thing that's been sticking in my mind when I look at the boat is that it's lightly built - the ribs are pretty thin, and the planking also seems pretty thin.

    I need to spend some more time examining the deck to see if I can find holes.
     
  15. Dave Wermuth

    Dave Wermuth Who hid my paddle?

    My Rushton IG has the name stamped on the stem BUT it is so faint as to be almost invisible. Look real close with a light at a low angle and then high angle, etc. the ser number is easier to see 3250. but it is super faint. You may have a similar situation. The thwart sounds like one I received from Fred C.
     
  16. OP
    Canoez

    Canoez Paddle Bait

    Dave - do you have some good pictures of your boat? As I mentioned above, I'm trying to do a good restoration of the boat and I'm trying to do my best to put it back the way it was. Might also be helpful if it shows an overview - I know that you've posted some other threads here regarding your boat - as have others - most is detail, not overview. Also, with the forum issues a few years ago, some of those older posts were sadly lost.
    s
     
  17. Dave Wermuth

    Dave Wermuth Who hid my paddle?

    Oh, and is the stern seat trapazoid? Any sign that the bow seat could have been mounted to cleats fastened through the hull? the planking looks flat sawn? Oddly, my IG had the steel straps on the ends like yours too. I have "Rushton in his times" and I can't seem to see the photos that show pocketed ribs. the photos I see of IG or Navahoe under contruction is of the ribs running past the inwales. I'm confused about that.
     
  18. OP
    Canoez

    Canoez Paddle Bait

    There's only one rear rail of the stern seat left, so I don't know if it was a trapezoid. The bow seat was hung from the inwales - no cleats and no signs of fasteners for a cleat either. Planking looks to be a mixed bag - that's for sure. The boat definitely has some issues. With the number of broken ribs, I'm amazed that it's held it's shape as well as it has. The keel-line is a bit wavy and I'm planning to clamp it with some long lengths of stock to try to slowly get the "wave" out.

    I can't believe that the steel straps were OEM based on photos that I've seen - you have them on both ends?

    As I noted earlier, the inwale isn't notched - can you clarify your comment "pocketed ribs" - are you referring to ribs mortised into the inwale?

    One other odd detail. There seem to be some fasteners - nails or tacks - driven into the inwale - from the inside of the boat. I don't recall seeing that before.
     
  19. MGC

    MGC Paddlephile

    Yes, my description was poor. It's a single board gore to gore and 6 inches wide in the middle tapering to make the gore. The board follows whatever tumble-home your boat has. I'll measure my stems tonight to compare to yours.
     
  20. Dave Wermuth

    Dave Wermuth Who hid my paddle?

    The metal straps (both ends) on mine were put there most likely by the camp maintenance man to hold the thing together. Very roughly made to serve the purpose. He also fastened a row of thin strips of wood under the outwales to hold the canvas from coming off. He used over a hundred 6 x 32 machine screws, washers, nuts. Yes, pocketed is meant as mortised. But the mortise is open to the inward part of the canoe where the rib lays into it. the inwale is also rabbetted. As usual Professor Dan Miller's determination that it's a Navaho seems accurate as always. I love the square thwart with the mutiple facets underneath.
     

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