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Ot 78967 Records

Discussion in 'Serial Number Search' started by Zenith, Feb 28, 2018.

  1. Zenith

    Zenith Curious about wooden canoes

    I have an Old Town serial # 78967, and a B.N.Morris serial # 5298. Is there any information on these canoes/
    Thanks
    John MacIver
     
  2. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    Welcome, the Old Town canoe with serial number 78967 is a 17 foot long, CS (common sense or middle) grade, HW (Heavy Water) model with red Western cedar planking, open spruce gunwales, birch decks, birch thwarts, birch, seats, and a keel. It was built between June and July, 1923. The original exterior paint color was yellow with an ebony border stripe and a half inch orange border stripe with turned down ends. This may have been similar to the design shown at http://www.wcha.org/catalogs/old-town/designs/design16.gif which was later known as their design number 16. There was also a letter "W" to be four inches high in black upon the orange stripe on the right bow and left stern. It shipped on July 18th, 1923 to Brattleboro, Vermont. Scans showing both sides of this build record can be found by following the links at the attached thumbnail images below.

    78967.jpg 78967-b.jpg

    These scans and several hundred thousand more were created with substantial grants from the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association (WCHA) and others. A description of the project to preserve these records is available at http://www.wcha.org/catalogs/old-town/records/ if you want more details. I hope that you will join or renew your membership to the WCHA so that services like this can continue. See http://www.wcha.org/about-wcha to learn more about the WCHA and http://www.wcha.org/store/membership to join.

    It is also possible that you could have another number or manufacturer if this description doesn't match your canoe. There are no known serial number records available from the Morris Canoe Company but the table at http://www.wcha.org/content/bn-morris estimates that yours could be circa 1908. Feel free to reply here if you have any other questions.

    Benson
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2019
  3. OP
    OP
    Zenith

    Zenith Curious about wooden canoes

    Benson,
    Thank you very much for your reply and excellent information. I have been restoring old boats all my life, but never canoes, so I am just starting to learn about the old ones. I got these two examples just by luck... I bought the Old Town around 35 years ago in Rhode Island for about $35 dollars, and put it up in the barn as a later project. It is complete and intact except without canvas or outer rails. It has a thin coat of fiberglass resin but no cloth, on the inside and outside. After finishing my last boat project, I pulled the canoes out and set them up in my shop, with the first job of finding out what I have. I joined the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association about a month ago, and that is how I was able to identify the makers. I don't think the resin on the outside of the Old Town will be a problem, and since the inside resin was applied over varnish, I am finding that is easily removed with a heat gun and putty knife. All of the frames are in good shape and the work (just started) shows the color of the frames and planking shows very nicely...The Morris I found with another Old Town on a rubbish pile, also around 35 years ago, in New Jersey and bought them both for about $20 dollars. I no longer have that Old Town, but kept the Morris because it was in better shape, but I did not know the maker until about a month ago. The Morris is complete, but when found, since I needed a canoe to use, I did a few repairs around 35 years ago, which included replacing about 5 feet of inner rail, and not knowing the historical value, I fiber glassed the outside so I could use it. This canoe has 9 cracked frames, but is otherwise in good shape. I saved the rotted piece of outer rail and it is interesting that the inner pockets are rounded. I guess I will need to remove the fiberglass in order to repair the cracked frames...
    Thank you again for your help! I am looking forward to the fun of reviving these two historic canoes...
    Thank You,
    John MacIver
     
  4. OP
    OP
    Zenith

    Zenith Curious about wooden canoes

    Benson,
    The only things that seems different or not mentioned in the canoe record, is that this canoe is a sailing model. The forward thwart/ seat combination has the mast hole and is capped by a brass round fitting attached by four screws. I believe the boat to be an Old Town because it has the brass diamond bolt covers for attaching seats and thwarts, and I was under the impression that only Old Town used these. The numbers on the stems are pretty clear. The keel screws although missing with the keel, are placed every other rib with remaining copper or brass washers.
    Thanks
    John MacIver
     
  5. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    It is not unusual for a sailing rig to be added after the canoe left the factory (or for a keel to be removed). Diamond head bolts are most commonly found on Old Town canoes but these do occasionally appear in repairs to canoes from other manufacturers.

    Benson
     
  6. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    John,
    Your living a charmed life when you can find a Morris in someones trash!
    The Morris and the Old Town can be restored to whatever extent you care to. Obviously the Morris is the more scarce of the two but either boat will be a good one to paddle. What Benson was alluding to with diamond heads is that they turn up frequently in boats that are not Old Towns. What happened quite often is that would folks assume that they own an Old Town (all wood and canvas canoes are Old Towns, right?) and they would call OT for replacement parts. Diamond head bolts have ended up on all kinds of canoes where they don't belong as have Old Town ribs, decks, planking, seats, thwarts and deck tags. There's currently a canoe in the classifieds on this site that has an Old Town tag that doesn't belong on it (but the canoe is an OT).

    There are a few books that you might want to buy to get yourself going on some of the repairs. Being a bit lazy, I'm attaching a link to a post where another member summarized what books to purchase... I have Rollin and Jerry's book and would suggest that as a good starting point but the others are also nice to own. None of them cover everything but canoes are pretty simple. A couple stems, some inside rails, ribs, planking and decks covered by a piece of canvas and you have a canoe....
    Her's the link:http://www.wcha.org/forums/index.php?threads/newbie-with-questions.15154/

    Books are available from this site.
    Mike
     
  7. OP
    OP
    Zenith

    Zenith Curious about wooden canoes

    Benson and Mike,
    Thank you for your replies and information. I already have the book by Jerry Stelmok, "Building the Main Guide Canoe", and it has been helpful in getting an idea of how to do repairs, and build a sailing rig. I will look into the other two books as well. My last project was rebuilding a Dyer Dhow that happened to have two sailing rigs. I have plans on how I can cut down the rig to fit the Old Town canoe. Because of my work on many other small craft I have a double rudder off a Hobie cat that can be converted to leeboards, and a Dyer Dhow rudder that can also be re-configured to fit the canoe. The Old Town looks to be the easiest to repair, so I think I will work on it first to shorten my learning curve. I have already repaired the upper parts or the stems with oak, and am in the process of stripping the inside coating. As I get going I hope to ad pictures and info on my web page.
    Thanks again for the help!
    John MacIver
     
  8. OP
    OP
    Zenith

    Zenith Curious about wooden canoes

    A while ago there was a chart that gave approximate years for Morris build dates. At that time it was given that my Morris with a serial number 5298 is a 1908 model. I have been trying to find that chart on site and in my old forum posts and replies but an error comes up with the page not found. Is the chart still available, and if so how can I find it.
    Thank You
    John MacIver
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2021
  9. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    Hi John,
    I am constantly amazed at how things play out in life. I am literally sitting here starting to write and share an update about that Morris table. I have recently learned some additional details that affect the way that I structured the table. I'll carry on with that after replying to your question.
    As you note, the Morris table and related overview material are no longer located on this site. It and all of the related builder history have been removed.
    Dan Miller and Benson Grey provided much of that content as did other members. Kathryn Campbell added quite a bit of the Morris related material that she also published in her book The Morris Canoe,. Kathy's book is available for purchase on this site.
    The Morris table and and content relating to the history of wooden canoes now reside on a website belonging to Dan.
    That site, the Wooden Canoe Museum, is a valuable resource for anyone who is interested in the history of wooden canoes. It shares Dan's personal collection of related items and many details about wooden canoes. It is the go to resource for identifying canoes.
    Here is a link to the Morris table on that site. B. N. Morris | Wooden Canoe Museum
    It has been suggested that the Webmaster add a link to Dan's site.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2021

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