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Unkown manufacturer with brass tag in stem #3099

Discussion in 'Serial Number Search' started by mattyp, Jul 6, 2013.

  1. Greg Nolan

    Greg Nolan enthusiast

    Very sound reasoning.

    There are a variety of ways to repair cracks -- if they can be repaired. Sometimes, but not always, replacement of the damaged part is called for. Retaining the original material of a canoe is usually desirable -- indeed, if you have a museum-worthy canoe, it is usually what is called for. But if you have a good "user" canoe, safe and sturdy functional replacements may be the best choice.

    Some cracks have virtually no structural significance -- and others are fatal wounds, at least for a canoe that is going to be used. If you have the rare museum-quality canoe, sometimes it is best to leave the damage as is.

    Pictures will help.

    Your Morris was a premium quality canoe when build, and is nowhere near as common as, say, the average Old Town canoe (I own one Morris restoration project and three old Old Towns, so I’m certainly not disparaging Old Towns when I write this). So If I were you, I would try to keep as much original material as reasonably possible, and would try as best as can be done to replicate accurately what has to be replaced.

    I think your idea of restoring your newer Old Town to gain some experience is exactly the way to go. I’m planning to do the same thing – this coming winter/spring, I intend to restore my 1931 OT 50 pounder which is currently in use, but needs some real work (ribs, planks, canvas, gunwales) before I undertake my Morris 18’ (serial # 6466) (fiberglass removal, ribs, planks, decks, in- and out-wales, missing thwart, and ???) which I hope to have done for Assembly 2015.

    One of my Morris seat rails was badly cracked; I could have replaced it, but I chose to clean out the crack, glue it with epoxy while drawing the cracks closed, and then use silicon bronze screws to keep the cracks closed.

    sm stripped seat 6.JPG sm Copy of 100_4280.JPG sm squeezing cracks closed.JPG sm SB reinforcing screws.JPG sm cr  100_4640.jpg sm recaned.JPG

    It should hold up to use; the repair is not easily visible,

    The repair is not especially elegant, but after varnishing and recanting, the seat looks (I think) pretty good. While putting in a replacement seat might be easier (though building an accurate replication would likely not have been any easier) I do have the original (repaired and refinished) seat.

    This type of repair is not what you would use for cracked planking, of course. Planking is less visible, and sometimes more structural. It’s all a question of balancing trade-off factors -- what looks best, what works best, what is required for safe use, what is merely (merely?) cosmetic.

    You have one nifty Morris canoe. Take your time, learn as you go along, post pictures, have a good time, and I’m sure you will have a great canoe when you are finished.

    Last edited: Aug 5, 2013
  2. Kathryn Klos

    Kathryn Klos squirrel whisperer

    I'm late with jumping-in here again, as I was having too much fun at our regional canoe assembly... but I saw something there that relates to a statement made in this thread by Fitz.

    While it's true that some other canoe companies made canoes with a splayed stem (Rhinelander and Willits pop into my head), the stems by other builders aren't the same as Morris-- they aren't cedar, they don't touch the first full rib and have 2 or 3 pairs of cant-ribs behind them... etc... except the occasional Kennebec, where it's assumed the hull was made by Morris and (for reasons having to do with good-will or good-business-sense) were sold by Kennebec. When sold as a Kennebec canoe, they received a Kennebec metal plate and serial number in the Kennebec system, and those records exist. Those canoes have a shipping-date.

    So... when Denis Kallery and I had the opportunity to inspect one of these Kennebec/Morris hybrids, we did so and I took video (on YouTube). The canoe was shipped in 1910 and I hoped there'd be enough clues to help us with our Morris dating system... features we could line-up perhaps.

    Some Kennebec/Morris hybrids look exactly like a Morris except for the Kennebec tag. The one we inspected had differences, as though the hull was changed to reflect what Kennebec wanted their canoes to look like. Perhaps when a hybrid looks like a Morris, the company was in a rush to meet an order and didn't re-work anything. We'll never know... but this sort of thing happened with Old Town/Carlton-- where a record will show "shipped as..." and the canoe looks different from the boat it is supposed to be.

    Anyway... this same Kennebec/Morris hybrid Denis and I saw showed up at our regional assembly Saturday. The owner took Dave Osborn's class, and he's going to finish-up the canoe. Canvas is off, and there's a number written in pencil on the hull... and it isn't the Kennebec serial number. It's an 8XXX number, which would fit our Morris-dating-system as being c.1911.

    We know from Old Town's records that the hulls that are "first in" are often "the last-out"... so, hulls with higher numbers can have a shipping-date that is earlier than a hull with a lower number. And with the Morris canoes, we are far from exact. I believe we're within a year or so, though, if the canoe has a serial number on it... and that's better than having a range of thirty years!
  3. Kathryn Klos

    Kathryn Klos squirrel whisperer

    I need to add info on the Kennebec/Morris serial number. The number that may be an original Morris serial number was STAMPED into the wood of this Kennebec canoe, not penciled as stated above (my brain was full at the time, and things have now settled a bit-- and Dave sent me a picture to refresh my memory). The number is stamped into the wood at the top-edge of the hull... I'll have Dave send a picture of exactly where that is, so we could check on other Morris hulls to see if this actually is a Morris s/n. The rails would have gone on over this... at least, with this particular hull. I've figured Morris hulls must have been numbered because the serial number plate wouldn't have gone on until the inside of the canoe was finished... unlike with Old Town and others, where the number was stamped into the stem.

    Attached Files:

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