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Morris Open Gunnel Short Rail Cap Dimensions?

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by Scott Rowe, Jun 20, 2018.

  1. Scott Rowe

    Scott Rowe Random Adventurer

    Driving me crazy! Made a lot of progress on my ca 1915 Morris. Painted, gunwales all varnished and attached but before I can move on I need to fabricate the short rail caps. I cut and bent some wood but didn't get the bend right and now I'm not sure what the thickness should be so thought I'd throw the question out there.
    I can tell the length from the old nail holes but how thick and wide should my Morris caps be? Need to attache these before I can move on to the stem bands. Thanks.
  2. Walter Hauck

    Walter Hauck LOVES Wooden Canoes

    I hope this is what you are looking for. These are the dimensions from the ones on my Morris #10787. Width: 17/32" and height: 3/16" Yes, I don't only have St. Louis Arrowhead canoes! Wally

    Attached Files:

  3. OP
    Scott Rowe

    Scott Rowe Random Adventurer

    Hey thanks Wally! This is exactly what I was looking for. I was just in the garage wrestling with this issue so your response is timely! Mine is a short heart shape deck but I expect the caps are similar. I am surprised as I thought the dimensions would be different i.e. fatter and thicker but this makes sense. Appreciate you taking the time to measure this for me!
  4. Walter Hauck

    Walter Hauck LOVES Wooden Canoes

    I have a heart-shape deck canoe , also from the same time frame, up in the rafters at the studio.
    I will climb up and measure tomorrow.
  5. Michael Grace

    Michael Grace Lifetime Member

    Hi Scott,

    Like Wally, I have a short-decked, open gunwale Morris that's in a fairly inaccessible place (the attached photo is from before the canoe got buried behind other boats and woodworking equipment). I did my best contortionist act to get some measurements for you. The canoe is #15087, so its a little later but still close in time to yours. Its a 16' canoe and in rough condition but never restored or dismantled. What I am calling an "inlet" below refers to the fact that from the the deck edge toward the center of the canoe, the caps are narrower such that the inside edge of the cap no longer meets the inside edge of the inwale (see photo).

    To the best of my ability, the caps measure:

    Total length: 20"
    From point of "inlet" to amidships end: 7"
    Max width (alongside the inner edge of the deck): 1"
    Width at point where the two caps come together: 3/4"
    Width at amidships cap end (before quick taper to point): 11/16"
    Thickness: 3/16"

    The caps are fastened to the canoe with escutcheon pins at 3.5" intervals. The inside edge of each cap runs slightly over the junction of the deck and inwale so that it hides the junction. You can see in the photo that where the deck ends is where the "inlet" in the cap begins. The cap covers the space between inwale and outwale along its full length.

    It will be good to compare these measurements with Wally's.

    Hope this helps,

    Morris open gunwale caps.jpg
  6. Walter Hauck

    Walter Hauck LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Here are some photos of the heart-shaped deck area of Morris #11652. The little combings are gone but if you look real close you can see where the old pin holes were, the small white dots. Wally
    red morris 2.jpg red morris 1.jpg
  7. OP
    Scott Rowe

    Scott Rowe Random Adventurer

    Michael as usual great post! Thanks to both of you for taking the time to assist me with this important detail work. A quick measurement of the length from tip of bow to the last cap hole amidship is 23 1/4 inches ( cap would extent maybe another 1/2 to 1 inch beyond that).

    With the thickness you both gave me I might be able to fabricate this without steam bending it. Michael that stem band extension over the bow end is very interesting! My searches here show a 3/4 inch length but my deck clearly has holes like yours (although my stem band was not original). Wally the separation of the deck and inwale clearly shows the screw placement into the deck just like mine. I love the nice treatment of the transition to the "inlet" area of the cap.

    Thanks again, I'm good to go. Once I get these made and installed I'm on to my attempt at riveting the stem bands. Stay tuned!

    PS it looks like Michael's deck cap don't go to the very end of the bow tip or is there some rot there?
  8. MGC

    MGC Paddlephile

    Riveting is much easier than you'd expect....copper peens over really nicely as long as you good good square hits on it and as long as you have a good anvil behind the rivet. You might try a practice piece or two outside of the canoe before you do the real thing in the boat. That will give you a "feel" for how to hit it. This will be a job where you should have an assistant to hold your clinching iron or whatever your are using as an anvil while you wail away on the rivet.
  9. Michael Grace

    Michael Grace Lifetime Member

    Good morning, Scott. You asked about the stemband in the photo I posted. I'm not sure what to make of that, and need to look at the canoe again to see if the stemband is riveted on (maybe they are replacements and so the length on deck is incorrect). About the gunwale caps, they should extend all the way to the ends. As you can tell from the photo, the canoe has some damage including to the tips. Attached here is a photo of another of our Morris canoes (#14021), a closed-gunwale 17' model, showing the gunwale caps and very short span of the stemband over the top. The one I posted above (#15087) is the only Morris we have that is a short-decked, open gunwale type.

    Here is a discussion of #13490, an open-gunwale, short-decked model that shows the caps nicely, and shows a stemband that only comes over the top for a short distance (probably 3/4"), just like the closed-gunwale Morris canoe in the attached photo:

    Morris 3 new_sm.jpg
  10. OP
    Scott Rowe

    Scott Rowe Random Adventurer

    If those rail caps didn't go to the bow tip it would be a clever way to make a tie off at the bow. Great pictures. Thanks again.

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