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Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by SWEETWATER, Oct 17, 2010.

  1. Kathryn Klos

    Kathryn Klos squirrel whisperer

    Check for pocketed ribs-- if your canoe was built with closed gunwales, the ribs should be pocketed. I recall reading (in the catalogs on CD) this was true of first-grade IGs. Trim may be cherry if it's first-grade.

    Next year's Assembly theme is Rushton (this is just a reminder--- and a hint).

    Our IG needs canvas and some minor work... we don't know how she paddles yet, but it sure would be nice to take her on the paddle-by in July!

  2. OP

    SWEETWATER LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Can anyone tell me where a rushton canoe fits in the hierarchy of canoes.
  3. Greg Nolan

    Greg Nolan enthusiast


    I'm not sure that anyone has determined a hierarchy of canoes or their builders, but I would think that if the world of canoes were to be compared to the Roman Catholic Church, Rushton would be one of the Cardinals.
  4. Dave Wermuth

    Dave Wermuth Who hid my paddle?

    which leads to==

    Who's the Pope?
  5. Kathryn Klos

    Kathryn Klos squirrel whisperer

    The Pope of Canoes would be some singularly significant canoe by an important builder... like, one particular Rushton (or canoe by another important builder) that shines above the rest.

    From what I've seen at Assemblies, there are many potential Popes...

    Sweetwater: a Rushton canoe is a major score. A Rushton all-wood is a greater score than a Rushton rag-boat, but Indian Girls shine among wood-canvas canoes, especially the first-grade ones.

    You might want to use the "search" function above to find older discussions of IG canoes. Some recent threads describe restorations by Fred Capanos and by Dave Davidson.

    You may want to read "Rushton and His Times in American Canoeing" by Atwood Manley. It's fun to read a book, knowing you have "one of those" out in the barn!

  6. Greg Nolan

    Greg Nolan enthusiast

    Dave --

    Most analogies limp a bit (or a lot) -- and the lack of a canoe pope is what makes this analogy limp -- and thank god we don't have a pope to lay down the law about how we would have to do things -- and we wouldn't have the wonderful variety of canoes that we have (and I'll keep my opinions on the need for a Pope in Rome to myself).

    But I think few would disagree that Rushton has one of the most significant seats in the pantheon (to switch metaphors) of canoe builders .
  7. JClearwater

    JClearwater Wooden Canoe Maniac

    My 2 cents worth

    In my opinion Rushton has achieved his notoriety and status mainly because he had such a champion in Atwood Manley with his book “Rushton and his Times in American Canoeing.” It has gotten to the point that we genuflect at the mention of his name and remove out hats when we enter the Rushton Room in the Adirondack Museum. Don’t get me wrong, he built great, innovative boats, but he was not the only one to design and build great boats. What he was good at was advertising his products with self laudatory ads and catalogs that promoted his boats as the best conceived since Noah built the ark. Brand name recognition was just as important back then as it is today.

    I have a Rushton canoe in my barn that looks like the only tool used in its construction was an axe. My Crandel, Morris and Old Town Charles River are better boats by far.

    Now that this thread has been completely high jacked I’ll shut up.

    Jim C.
  8. thirsty

    thirsty #8111


    The front seat of our IG is on cleats that are attached to the ribs. Look for holes in the ribs under or around the front seat. And we're glad they used a sharp ax to build ours.

    Dave Davidson

    Attached Files:

  9. OP

    SWEETWATER LOVES Wooden Canoes

    I picked it up has the marks where the cleats were.this canoe is solid. It must have in a barn its whole life. There is no rot or soft spots anywhere.the only problem is the paint inside.i will take it out this weekend. The keel was replaced and part of the gunwhale had a splice repair. It also has the snall round tie loop on the front deck i dont know if it says rushton ,it is painted. Will post some picks soon
  10. Tom Widney

    Tom Widney LOVES Wooden Canoes

    How are those seat cleats attached, with nails or screws? I assume that they were fastened from the outside of the rib before being planked. I would also assume that they are a piece of hardwood. Does anyone have any thoughts of why one would use the cleat method as opposed to the hanging from the inwhale?
    I am just considering my options on lowering my center of gravity without kneeling.
  11. thirsty

    thirsty #8111

    I thought the cleat was cherry like the seats, but while cleaning discovered the cleats appear to be cedar. I can't see the cleat fasteners for canvas, but assume they are screwed, and pretty certain after planking.
  12. Dave Wermuth

    Dave Wermuth Who hid my paddle?


    i think the hanging seats weaken the already rabetted and mortised inwale and the cleat to seat is similar to what a thwart does, structure wise. But I wonder if Rushton just wanted to do it his own way. Maybe long carriage bolts were hard to get.
  13. Greg Nolan

    Greg Nolan enthusiast

    Rushton cleats

    Supporting seats on cleats was and is the standard way of installing seats in Adirondack guide boats, because Adirondack guide boats generally do not have inwales -- and the hull shape does not allow hanging anything from the sheer, even if there were inwales. Rushton built guide boats, and was surrounded by many other builders of such boats. In using cleats for seats in canoes, he was simply using a technique that was widely accepted and with which he was quite familiar.

    I'm not sure when hanging canoe seats below the gunwales became the accepted way to go. In early canoes, seats were often bolted directly to the gunwales, and the practice of bolting the stern seat to the gunwales even when the bow seat was hung lower certainly continued into the 1920's. I suspect that hanging the seats lower than the gunwales was a development of the earlier practice of placing a spacer to level a seat (usually the stern seat) attached at the gunwales where the sheer curved -- see pics of a couple of Dan Neal canoes, a restored Morris (front and rear) and an unknown make (to me).

    The structural aspect of mounting seats on cleats is not negligible – on my 1931 Old Town 50 pounder, the gunwales spread and pulled the hangers out of square with the seat and gunwales (a not uncommon occurrence). Such spreading would be limited by cleated seats.

    Attached Files:

  14. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    Many people speak very highly of the "Original Saddle Seat" from as a good solution to this problem.

  15. thirsty

    thirsty #8111

    The four cleated ribs will lose flexibility, a consideration if you want to do "bigger" water, or find yourself in "Surprize Rapids". Before restoring our canoes for pleasure, I repaired our canoes out of necessity.
  16. Sprocket

    Sprocket Broken Carted

    The canoe I'm currently working on has cleats for the seats. Basically a quarter round piece of hardwood. The cleats are screwed in from the outside through the planking and ribs.

    Attached Files:

  17. Tom Widney

    Tom Widney LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Did they use flat head screws with no washers? The screw heads don't show through the canvas?

    Bensen... I usually use a backrest of some type for support also I don't believe the leather saddle has one.
  18. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker


    If you have a Rushton built canvas canoe that you are comparing to the wood and canvas canoes built by Morris and others you have really missed the mark in terms of understanding Rushton boats and his reputation. These canvas canoes were not his Meister StÜck. His passion was building wooden canoes and boats. He built his reputation and branded his name building all wood open and closed canoes and double ended boats.

    Long before there was wood and canvas coming from Maine he was a regular at the early ACA events where his boats were held in high regard. He was fortuitous and clever enough align with Nessmuk but he also exhibited at the Worlds Fair. He was a builder and a business man.
    There is no doubt that he did not give too much serious consideration to building wood and canvas canoes. That said, when push finally came to shove he built the Indian models to compete with the canoes pouring out of Maine. These were very beautifully made and in the A grades were built from fine quality materials. Most of us have that have seen or that own these canoes will agree that these were nicely built and finished. But, they were his "Chevrolet Model" canoes. Not quite as nice as an all wood canoe, but a nice boat nevertheless.
    For most folks though the model of choice was the less costly B grade canoe, his "GMC's." I suppose that these are the ones built with an axe? I have several of theses later B grades. Mine were built at a time when the quality was presumably at a low, possibly while Judd was running the business. Even so, I am impressed with how beautifully the ribs are shaped and spaced, how tightly the planking is fit, how neatly the nails are spaced and how beautifully the thwarts are shaped. The lines are gorgeous. I see no signs of primitive construction on these canoes. The only thing that is "inferior" to my Morris is that the decks are not formed like they are on the Morris. That was a special Morris "signature" touch.

    I wonder if you own a true Rushton? Is it possible that you own a canoe that was built on my IG form after the Canton factory was closed?
    My IG form came from a planing mill in Potsdam where Brown supposedly built canoes for a while. After he left, perhaps someone less skilled carried on for a while. I always wondered if some IG copies might show up. Atwood and I discussed this a few times but never came to a conclusion. He had never seen any IG clones in his travels and I have not heard of anyone else finding one. They must be out there though. Without a top notch shop supervisor to oversee the build, who knows what the quality of these might be?

    It's a shame that you never met Atwood. He was a very interesting man. He was passionate about Rushton for many reasons but most of all because of the gorgeous boats that he built.
    Atwood's Rushton sat on his side porch. He would proudly show it to anyone that cared even though back then not too many did.
    Did he help to fuel the myth? Yes, probably.
    But like JH before him, to build a reputation you need to start with some substance. I submit respectfully that Rushton's boats provided that and that Atwood simply told the story.

    If you need to find a new home for the ax built IG, let me know. I'll settle for another.;)
  19. Sprocket

    Sprocket Broken Carted

    They used flat head screws and they are countersunk into the planking. The screw heads are flush with the plank so you dont see them through the canvas
  20. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    You may want to consider one of the antique canoe seats like the ones shown in the image attached below.


    Attached Files:

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