Help support the WCHA Forums by making a tax-deductible donation!

BN Morris found in a barn. Fiberglassed. The fun begins!

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by mayday, Jun 28, 2020.

  1. mayday

    mayday East Tennessee Canoeist

    Hey gang. A friend of mine who just moved into a new house had me come to his home to give me something. The “something” was a Morris! The neighbor who found out Nelson works on canoes mentioned off the cuff that he had an old canoe in a barn. Nelson’s ears perked up and asked to see the canoe. The old canoe in the barn trick!

    Nelson goes into this old barn and sees the old canoe, turns it over and sees a splayed stem end on the bow. Immediately he realized what this was. After some hemming and hawing, Nelson gave the neighbor some money to haul off the old canoe and maybe do something go with it. The neighbor had no interest in it even after he was told it was over 100 years old. Anyway, Nelson brought the canoe to his basement.

    He realized quickly that someone had literally used a chainsaw to cut off the “rotten” ends at the peak of each deck. In addition someone had decided to remove the canvas and replace it with a fiberglass sheet. And yellow paint. The gunnels were painted pink at one time and then more “recently” painted black. Nelson saw that a restoration was going to be a huge job. He tried two friends who took the canoe home and sat and stared at the task. Both returned the canoe over a year later. So, Nelson gifted the canoe to me.

    When I got it home, I took lots of pictures, measurements, began making a materials list. Eventually I wanted to remove the canvas. To my horror I found that the sheet was not canvas but epoxied Fiberglass sticking directly to the planking. What was going to take about half hour turned into 36 hours with a hot air gun, pliers, and scraper. Inch by inch, blister by blister, I finally removed the blasted fiberglass. I had lots of bad things to say about the installer for those 36 hours. Ridiculous!

    So, I then investigated each rib and found 13 full ribs and one cant rib with cracks. Many holes in the planking. Will have to replace outwales and will have to scarf ends to the inside gunnels and create new decks. Did I mention scarfing and creating new stem ends? Did I mention some goober put fiberglass on this Morris?!!!!!!!

    With no s/n tag (I did find the four holes at the end of the splay) I have concluded after much research that this is highly likely the following:

    18’ x 12 x 34
    White cedar planking and ribs
    Three pairs of half ribs (fore and aft)
    Mahogany seat frames
    Short concave decks
    Flat bottom
    Keel screws in each rib
    No decal
    Four nail holes at end of splay
    Not a lot of tumble home

    Based on all that, I have decided it must be a Model A, Type 1 . With the concaved short deck I and dating it no earlier than 1914 since that is when I have found to be the beginning of Morris short decks. I hope you all can help me narrow it down based on that info.

    I found that “Morris began using the curved short deck with some 11xxx series canoes...”. That number series was in 1914.

    No keyhole deck, no heart-shaped deck.

    I shaped my ribs over the weekend from Rollins shop raw material and will install the new stem ends this week. Then let’s bend some ribs!

    Based on that data, what year do you think I have?

    I’ll post updates later!

    Jeff Wadley
    Kingsport, TN

    Attached Files:

  2. Rob Stevens

    Rob Stevens Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    You're ok to look at, Jeff, but more pictures of the canoe please!
    Shari Gnolek likes this.
  3. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    Great story. It looks like that canoe found the right home.
    You probably won't be able to date it much better than you have. The Morris dating table is really an estimator based upon a number of assumptions and a scarce bit of fact. You don't mention if it was open or closed rail (gunwale). They continued to build closed rails long after the concave deck appeared but you might assume a newer build with open rails.
  4. OP

    mayday East Tennessee Canoeist

    A few more pics of the Morris....

    And it has open rails.

    Attached Files:

Share This Page