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Stem Band info?

Discussion in 'Research and History' started by 1905Gerrish, Feb 23, 2020.

  1. 1905Gerrish

    1905Gerrish LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Does anyone know of any data on stem band construction? For instance, this question should be the easiest to answer of mine. When did manufacturers change from copper stem bands to brass? Assuming that would be the same time frame as when copper tacks were changed to brass as well. How about when copper stem bands were first available on the market? I am working on a older Gerrish currently that has iron stem bands and it got me thinking about these. Obviously the date of manufacture predates copper stem bands. E.M. White made his own bands. Was that because when he started building commercial stem bands were not available? When stem bands were made commercially available, did they have alternative uses or were they made for the canoe market? The earliest had flat blacks as far as I know. I am undecided if I want to have new iron bands made for the old Gerrish. Pro's and cons to both sides!
  2. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    I don't know of anyone who has studied this in detail, especially before 1900. My guess is that price and availability were critical factors. There was a similar discussion at about the switch from copper to brass canoe tacks. You may want to research the L. W. Ferdinand & Co. catalogs like the one at and others. They were advertising "Canoe Fittings" in the 1893 and later editions of the Boston Almanac and Business Directory. Good luck and let us know what you find,

  3. dtdcanoes

    dtdcanoes LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Hi, Zack....You probably know what I suggest. But here goes.....if it is clear to you that the original bands lasted well for some , say , 20 years at least , and the boat appears to have been used with some regularity I would find some iron replacements as your boat , I bet , will not see the kind of use it had in the past. That is to say, the new bands will probably last many times longer and the boat will be available for others to see as an original representative of his work. You could use stainless fasteners and maybe oxidize the heads if they need it.
    I have more than one stem band story, but you will appreciate this one... My first J.R. Williams had the original brass but I could only salvage one with some proper repairs to breaks at screw holes. The other had to be new but the width of a new band was wider by a 1/16 or so and aside from being hard to fit the narrow stem face, it really showed at least to my eye. So I had to hit the cellar floor and get out the belt sander to reduce the width . The flat land area on the inside was reduced about 1/2 and I had an exact match to the original . It fit perfectly and was it fun ? ...not in the doing, but in the result.
    Have fun !

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