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Rushton

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by Splinter, Jan 30, 2007.

  1. Splinter

    Splinter Wood Girl #1186

    What a guy! Just got done reading the book about him. If he created that incredible folding/retractable keel on the sailing crafts, he was really ahead of his time. WOW!!! Meanwhile, Sure would like to add an Indian Girl to my collection (a.k.a. growing wooden boat "problem"). Did any other manufacturer build a canoe with that interesting Inwale rabbeted for ribs and pocketed arrangment? Is that something you only see on Ruston Indian Girls? Furthurmore, the IGO and the UGO canoes seem like very nice crafts with very little difference between the two. Never hear of any of them out there. How many years were these produced? How many might have been built? Where did they all go? Anyone?
     
  2. Denis M. Kallery

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

    Splinter,
    B.n. Morris also has the pocketed inwale. Real fun to reproduce! Denis
     
  3. chris pearson

    chris pearson Michigan Canoe Nut

    Kennebec too?

    Correct me if I'm wrong, didnt Kennebec do that at one point too?:confused:
     
  4. Denis M. Kallery

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

    Chris
    Don't know! Can look at a 1927 Ketahdin tomorrow. do know that some Kennebecs had the splayed stem. I'm Sure Dan or Benson have much more knowledge about this than I. Denis:eek:
     
  5. Fitz

    Fitz Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    Brodbeck

    Brodbeck - a Charles River builder pocketed the ribs in the inwales too.
     
  6. Dan Miller

    Dan Miller cranky canoeist Staff Member

    Yes indeed, Rushton built some fine boats in his time. He was quite the salesman too...!

    While Rushton held patents on some sailing canoe hardware, the Radix centerboard was not his. That was invented (a descendant of a variety of folding boards) by the Messrs. Root and Childs of Brooklyn, NY. It is a clever device, though performanc-wise inferior to a solid-plate centerboard. It's main reason for popularity was that it folded into a 4-inch (including keel and keelson) trunk, which put all but the handle below the floorboards of the canoe and left plenty of room for sleeping.

    Rushton designed the Indian Girl in 1901, and it went into production by 1902. He really had no interest in the rag boats, so hired down the Roundy's from Bangor. They may have worked for Morris, which would explain the similarities between IG and Morris canoe construction.

    The all-wood canoes were a different story, and Rushton touted their superiority over canvas canoes right up until he died in 1905. The Ugo and Igo are very similar, but if you compare their hull shapes (which can be found in one of the catalogs published 1896 and later), you can see they are indeed quite different. The Arkansaw Traveler is also a member of this family of canoes. The Nomad, a decked sailing canoe, is built on the hull of a Ugo.

    A fair number of these canoes survive. Apart from a number I know of in private collections, there are several in the collections of the Antique Boat Museum in Clayton, NY, the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake, NY, and Mystic Seaport Museum in Mystic, CT. Perhaps you should make a summer-time pilgrimage - it would be easy to hit the Assembly, the ABM and ADKMus in one trip...;) There is no really good way to determine how many may have been built. The three models (IGO, UGO and AT) were designed by Benjamin Kip, in time I believe to be exhibited at the Columbian Exposition in 1893. They continued to be offered until the factory closed in 1915, though probably in quite small numbers after he died.

    I could go on for days, but you've probably got better ways to waste your time... :)

    Cheers,
    Dan
     
  7. OP
    OP
    Splinter

    Splinter Wood Girl #1186

    Massive hand work

    I believe the man from the UP is right about the "fun" involved in reproducing that inwale. I'm picturing coping saw, router, chisels, 6 or 7 different knives, screaming and swearing supported by a flask and bandaids to get the job done. Sort of reminds me of fixing 42 rib tips on the 1915 Otca last summer. Should make a mental note about that just in case I am tempted to drag one home sometime with busted inwales. By now, I think I am becoming famous for my affection toward the most hopeless wrecks and saving them. Perhaps need to restrain that for "retirement" projects. Regardless, What about the UGO and the IGO? Isn't it funny that there don't seem to be any conversations or threads regarding these two models. You never go on the Classified and see an offering of a Rushton IGO......... Where did they all go? Perhaps these will become the new "Incredibly Rare" "Highly sought after" restorers trophy.
     
  8. OP
    OP
    Splinter

    Splinter Wood Girl #1186

    Not Really..

    On my growing list of ways I could waste my time instead of being focused and highly productive, this is at the top of my list. I don't like my other choices as well. I always learn so much and indeed could be spending massive amounts of time reading spectacular aticles about say, "Transferable Technologies in Eastern Hardwoods and Sustainability......" but, listening to you type on and on about canoes has that idea all slapped around. Go ahead, pontificate on that as much as you'd like. Two ears, no waiting....

    It would be fun to get to the Ad museum and see all the canoey details therein, too bad I missed it last fall when I was out there. I know they are closed now but maybe someone would open the doors for "research" people (!) coming in from states away in February when I'm there again.... Well, that is a long shot.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2007
  9. Dan Miller

    Dan Miller cranky canoeist Staff Member

    Oh, believe me, they already are. One factor is the demand for them is high enough that most can pass hands without being advertised... And they tend to go for big bucks. This is true for anything Rushton... Not surprisingly perhaps, most of the activity is in the northeast US...

    When you get your dates more firm, I'll make a call and see if we can get into the museum while you are out. No promises, but...

    Cheers,
    Dan
     
  10. OP
    OP
    Splinter

    Splinter Wood Girl #1186

    I'm on it

    I'm working on lining up my plans today. Will let you know as soon as I get answers. Thanks. M
     
  11. Kathryn Klos

    Kathryn Klos squirrel whisperer

    An Indian Girl occasionally comes up on eBay. I found mine there, and the seller turned out to be fellow WCHA member Ken Kelly. As of last fall, Ken still had a fully restored 16 foot Indian Girl for sale-- a wonderful boat. Mine still needs restoration, but is in excellent condition-- none of the pockets need to be recreated! I also have a Morris circa approximately 1903 with healthy pockets... so, don't be afraid!

    Just a guess, but the Rhinelander probably has pocketed ribs, as it was modeled after the Morris.

    The Kennebec my friend Denis mentioned above (1927 Ketahdin) doesn't have pocketed ribs--- it has open gunwales, which look like anyone else's open gunwales.
     
  12. Denis M. Kallery

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

    Da! I guess I was tired last night when I replied. I know better - it was around 1915-16 that closed gunnels went out of fashion [for good reason- hard to drain the water out - also harder to make] and since Kathy's Ketahdin is 1927 it would of coarse have open gunnels. Well one can't win em all!
     
  13. Kathryn Klos

    Kathryn Klos squirrel whisperer

    Kennebec...

    Well... that still doesn't answer the question of whether the Kennebec canoe (in general) has pocketed ribs. I poked through the catalog CD, and the 1914 catalog (in rah rah describing the Wonders of Kennebec Canoe Construction) states, "... the ribs are steamed and bent over the models and fastened to the rails." Seems to me that if they'd gone into pockets, they'd have bragged that detail up in the catalog.
     
  14. Larry Meyer

    Larry Meyer Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    Fitz has already referred to the pocketed inwale on a Brodbeck and I believe he’s referring to one turned up by Ed Howard. I’ve seen that canoe too and its inwales were about the most complicated piece of woodworking I’ve seen on a canoe. In addition to the pockets for the ribs, the cross section of the inwale was profiled to provide a level top for the inwale, even though the sides featured a big tumblehome. This thing has so much tumblehome, it looks like a submarine with the top cut off. Handsome, though. I honestly don’t know how he made this canoe, as it appears he would have had to cut the rabbits in the inwale before steaming and bending them on the form. Then each rib would have to have been cut to the exact right length—no overlapping over the top of the inwale, as is the usual method of construction. In sum, the work on this Brodbeck is like fine cabinetry.
     
  15. Dick Persson

    Dick Persson Canoe builder & restorer

    To add to Fitz’s and Larry’s posts;

    Another builder that early on used rabbeted and pocketed inwales on his canoes was George Stephenson, Norway, Maine. His early method looks something like the sketch below.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Feb 15, 2007
  16. Denis M. Kallery

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

    I think that the Morris' must have had the pockets drilled in a single piece of inwale stock using something like an inch and one quarter forstner bit then it was split and the ribs were forced into the pockets while soft. Pam Wedd and I found that the ends of the ribs were not shaped to fit the pockets but were formed to that shape by their being shoved in. I found it to be a real bear to match the ribs up with new pockets especially on the shear. It looked like all the pockets were on 4 inch centers but it was apparently a -well that looks like four inches - type thing. They were not all the same and that was even more so on the shear. Denis
     
  17. Denis M. Kallery

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

    Oh yeah , I forgot! Had to plane the top of the inwale for it to be flat and not have one edge higher than the other. Denis
     
  18. Dan Miller

    Dan Miller cranky canoeist Staff Member

    I once had a Morris-built Kennebec from 1913 that was built essentially the way Dick describes for the G. Stephenson, except it didn't have filler blocks between the ribs.


    As far as Morris goes, I agree that they probably used forstner bits to mill the pockets, at least in a fair number of canoes. But rather than boring into a single piece of wood and ripping out the rails afterward, I suspect they milled the rails to dimension first, and bored the pockets in pairs using a spacer block. Lots less waste that way, and since that's the way we went about it in a replacement, I know it works. To lay out the pockets on the new rails, I would imagine they had a story stick to mark the locations, but accuracy wasn't all that important - even if the holes are off a 1/2" either way, it can be accomodated when the ribs are bent. The ribs were probably bent long, marked with a fingernail, and sawn to length on the fly as the ribs were bent to the mold. I'm curious how the tackled the bent part of the gunwales, the canoe we worked on was pretty much gone in that area. We pre-bent them and balanced them on the drill press, but it wasn't fun, and probably not the best way...

    Ah well, 'nuff speculation for one day :rolleyes:
     
  19. Larry Meyer

    Larry Meyer Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    Another oddity about this Brodbeck was that the outwales were so light they were practically decorative. They were held on with short escutcheon pins. Steve Lapey recanvased it and removing the outwales required surgical delicacy.
     
  20. Fitz

    Fitz Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    Brodbeck

    I'm afraid my pictures don't do it justice, and maybe Steve will chime in, but I've attached a few photos. This is a open gunwale Brodbeck. Note that the outwale is a different species and the edge of the planking is visible.
     

    Attached Files:

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