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Rushton Stem Planking

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by JClearwater, Dec 1, 2021.

  1. JClearwater

    JClearwater Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    Work continues on the Indian Girl. Attached is a picture of the port side of the bow. Apparently the guys building this canoe miss measured a bit. The planking does not extend forward enough to reach the leading edge of the stem. The other side of the canoe is just fine, the port side not so much. The planking was attached with 5/8" smooth shank copper nails except where the planking was short and then they used thinner diameter steel nails that went all the way through the stem and the plank on the other side and were bent over. It's not an old repair. There is nothing to suggest it wasn't that way from the start.
    This canoe was built around 1906 or so. I know that the canvas covered canoes at the Rushton shop were built by a contract crew and that Rushton himself may have already been dead by then so that may have had something to do with it.
    Another interesting thing on this canoe was that in two locations short pieces of plank were used that only spanned two ribs. The pieces were only about 4" long. I always figured that a piece of plank should span three ribs minimum but I guess on the day this canoe was planked that rule didn't apply. I will confess however that in an effort to save as much of the original planking as possible I also used a couple of short replacement pieces. If the Rushton shop can do it, so can I.
    I'm not being critical here, I just think it's interesting how they made things work back in the day. And of course they never expected the canoe to still be around 115 years later.

    Jim IMG_4514A.JPG IMG_4558A.JPG
    Dave Wermuth and Benson Gray like this.
  2. Dan Miller

    Dan Miller cranky canoeist Staff Member

    If the small sections of plank are along the centerline, they are an artifact of the Rushton construction process. The attached photos show an IG just off the form with the gaps clearly visible, and the image from the 1912 catalog shows the outer strongback of the mold, which would have been bolted on through those gaps.

    Attached Files:

    JClearwater likes this.
  3. OP

    JClearwater Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    As usual Dan Miller is right again. I went out and checked our canoe. One of the short pieces that remains is alone the centerline. The two others were replaced along with bad planking in the same line. I beg forgiveness for disparaging the "Great One Mr. Rushton". I noticed on this Indian Girl, and I have noticed on other ones, that the two planks adjacent to the centerline are 3" wide. The rest of the planking is 2 1/2" wide. The sheer strake on this canoe is 6" wide, which I guess is typical. There is one plank on each side, about 3' long, that runs into the stem that is 3 1/2" wide. It's all interesting stuff. If I wasn't already happily married I'm sure I could impress all the girls with this stuff at the Christmas parties. "Girls, wait, where are you going? Come back, I got more."

  4. Howie

    Howie Wooden Canoe Maniac

    O, Mr. Rushton or his minions surely made mistakes back then! I've got a 15' Rushton Indian, serial #84, made in 1901 or 1902. I gather the Indian was Rushton's first canvas covered canoe, was made for only about 1 year and precedes the Indian Girl.
    When this canoe came to me it looked asymmetrical in profile as its aft end 'bulged out'.
    The canoe was made with the front seat attached directly to the sides of the hull, so the seat acts like a thwart. Plus there's a thwart in the center and, oddly, another thwart between the front seat and the center thwart. See the pic above...
    I finally figured out that the canoe must have left the factory with the shorter thwart in the wrong position. When I relocated the shorter thwart behind the center thwart the canoe's profile became nicely symmetrical.
  5. fred capenos

    fred capenos Canoe Pilot

    Here's another Rushton oddity.... note the shear planking .. both pieces made the 6 inches. I'm sure its original .

    Attached Files:

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