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Morris ribs

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by Zenith, Nov 29, 2019.

  1. Zenith

    Zenith Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Hi again...
    I don't get on the forums much, and I work on my canoes fairly slow. I have three canoes. One a 60's Goodyear Synthetic that I replaced all the wood on two summers ago. A 1919 Oldtown that I have been working on this summer, and a 1909 Morris. I have just finished the Oldtown canvasing and filling, and while it cures for the winter, I am starting on the Morris. I had fiber-glassed it back in the 1980s when I found it an a burn pile in New Jersey just to get it usable and not knowing its rarity. I refurbished and re caned the seats on all three canoes last winter. While the Oldtown canvas cures the Morris has been moved over to the work area. I thought that the fiberglass removal would be very difficult, but surprisingly it came off easily in strips leaving only areas of resin behind. If the hull was oiled prior to canvasing, that would explain the fiberglass not soaking into the wood very much. Four hours sanding removed the resin, and the planking is mostly pretty good.
    Now for the questions. There are fourteen cracked ribs, five significant, four less so, and the first five frames aft of the stem shoe each have a fine crack at the keel line. I understand that with no covering on the canoe, now is the best time to fix what is needed. First then, is it likely to cause more damage to the canoe trying to replace the five front frames, or leave them alone as they have the same center-line strength of cant frames. Or is it reasonable to repair them with scarfed inserts in the manner explained in videos by "ORCA BOAT". I have the same question about the more serious cracked frames, but they will need some type of repair or replacement. Different builders used different frame woods, so I am wondering what was used on the early Morris boats. I am not trying to make this boat new and would like to use as much of the original as possible, I want to also use some common sense in this.
    I have other questions as well, but this seems like a fairly long thread....
    Thank you for any information
    John MacIver
     
  2. Dave Osborn

    Dave Osborn LIFE MEMBER

    John,
    Doing backside repairs on ribs will help you keep it as original as possible. Morris canoes, as with 99% of other canoe makers used white cedar for ribs.
    When doing backside repairs, I like to secure the crack if possible by injecting epoxy into it before chiseling the pocket.
    Inject it and clamp it somehow to bring the crack together and strengthen it so that it does not get worse while chiseling the pocket. Sometimes you need to cut a “backer” so that the rib goes back to the original shape.
    If the crack is on an area of the rib that is bent, you’ll need to pre-bend a patch to match the curve. I generally use ash, but on bends, I sometimes use cedar because it forms to the rib better Once the epoxy is cured, you can chisel out about half the thickness of the rib and fit the patch. I use G-Flex epoxy.
    Hope the photos help.
    Dave
     

    Attached Files:

  3. OP
    OP
    Zenith

    Zenith Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Dave,
    Your info and pictures are exactly what I need. The damage you have repaired is the same as what I have, and your pictures make a repair process very clear. Thank you for your help!!!
    John MacIver
     
  4. OP
    OP
    Zenith

    Zenith Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Dave or anyone,
    A quick question an my 1909 Morris... The stem band comes up over the top of the stem and bends in over the decks for a couple of inches. What is curios is that the bend is a half inch above the deck. It does not look like anything was between the bent band and the deck, but something must have been there... Any ideas????
    Thanks
    John MacIver
     
  5. OP
    OP
    Zenith

    Zenith Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Just for information, I am not sure how to ad pictures to the forum, but I do have pictures and information on these canoes and what I am doing on my web site at http://johnmaciver.tripod.com/id13.html Some pictures of the Oldtown canvasing results and some pictures of the Morris and the stem band anomaly is at the bottom of the page.
    Thanks again!!!!
    John MacIver
     
  6. Dave Osborn

    Dave Osborn LIFE MEMBER

    John,
    The stem band gap is not normal. I’ve got no idea why it is that far off the deck, unless there was a block of wood or something under it covering rot or adding strength.
     
  7. MGC

    MGC Paddlephile

    An alternative to sanding off the remaining resin is to use heat to separate it from the planking and carefully scrape it away with a putty knife The advantage of the approach over sanding is that you avoid sanding the tack heads away and also limit wood loss. The soft cedar is really easy to sand down too far when you are chasing the much harder resin. I use a heat gun for this but I've also (oh the horror, read Bensons recent post about the Carleton fire) used a propane torch. It does not take much effort. You don't mention resin between the planking but you'll also want to chase that away. If you leave it in the boat will pop like it's breaking when you step in it. It's fussy work but necessary.
    Once you have all of the resin and glass removed a good next step is re-clinching tack heads. They have a tendency to loosen in boats that have been glassed. Hold your clinching iron inside the hull on the rib you are working on behind the tack that requires clinching and then give the tack head a whack. If the heads are low in the wood you may need to use a punch to set them. Some folks use an automatic setting punch.
    It looks like you may have a mix of tacks on your hull....you'll need a plan for that. While you are doing this you may decide some of the planking is not up to par...mark the boards and replace then as necessary. Normally in a previously glassed boat the worst boards are on the bottom adjacent to the keel.
    WRT the stem, presumably it is riveted in place? Morris stem bands should not be held on with screws. Screws will pull out from soft cedar stem. If it is screwed on then someone may have incorrectly installed it proud of the deck. That should be corrected when you put it back together. Be sure to plug any extra holes in the stem, but not the rivet holes.
     
  8. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    Some previous owner may have re-bent the stem band like that to provide a place to tie the painter... Just a thought.
     
  9. OP
    OP
    Zenith

    Zenith Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Thank you all for your reply,
    Dave, yes the stem band proud of the stem and deck does not seem normal. I have been building and refurbishing old boats all my life and the only reason I can come up with for this would be that a piece of wood was there for some reason. But there are no holes in the deck where a piece of wood would have been attached. There is a beveled hole at the inner end of the bent stem band where a screw or rivet would have been. To answer pklonowski, I just went out and checked, that the band is indeed riveted in place. I had thought that the proud screw heads had been ground off and I was wondering how I was going to remove them with no slots for the screws, but a closer look shows that they are rivets. In that case they may be more easily removed prior to canvasing. To answer Paddlephile, I used the heat gun approach on the Oldtown, because there was more resin and it had soaked into the planking a little bit. I believe the Morris was probably oiled, because the fiberglass and resin were only superficially sinking into the wood. The glass came off easily in strips, and only shallow sanding took off the resin. The planking looks and feels like oil had at some time been applied. There is resin between the planks, but does not go all the way through the gap. Because of my old boat repair experience, I have a purpose made reamer for removing calking between planking, and this works well for removing resin from between the cracks. Eye protection is a must because the brittle resin goes in any direction...Most of the planking is in good shape considering age, but some replacement is needed in small areas. Of course planking in the rib repair areas will be required. And there are a couple of planks in the bottom that are scalloped, and rather than try to straighten them out, I may just replace them. Good idea on re clinching the tacks. The best time to do it is now before canvasing. I also need to work on the 7 1/2 feet of inwhale repair on the port side, but I think I can make the old repair work OK.
    Thanks again for all of your information and input!!!
    John MacIver
     
  10. MGC

    MGC Paddlephile

    I'd still use heat. If you use your heat gun just ahead of your reamer you won't have bits flying around and you are not going to chip pieces of planking. I should have mentioned that the resin also gets in behind the ribs...I try to remove as much of that as I can get to with reasonable effort. I use a sharp knife to chip it and then use a dental pick to get the bits to slide out....it's a PITA. Your boat will love you for removing that wretched fiberglass.
    The stemband thing is really odd...it's riveted as it should be..I'm with Paul re a painter ring...not the norm for these but it could have been added during an earlier re-canvas.
    The rivets will drill out. You can buy replacements from one of the companies that advertises in the classifieds. Or search for Morris canoe rivets.
     
  11. OP
    OP
    Zenith

    Zenith Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Paddlephile
    Thank you for the reply. Yes I like your idea to soften the resin with heat before reaming it out. I think I will do it that way. The resin seems not to go in as far as the ID of the planking, but I do notice it seems to go under the keel. Thanks for the rivet info. If they have no threads like a screw, won't they just work out by lifting the stem band?
    Thanks
    John MacIver
     
  12. MGC

    MGC Paddlephile

    I'm not sure what you mean by lifting out? Once they are peened they are tight and will not go anywhere. If you've ever made snow shoes or looked at the rivets used to secure the shaped frames you'll understand how robust a rivet is as a fastener. They are far more secure than the tiny screws we usually use on stem bands.
    Check your PM's.
     
  13. OP
    OP
    Zenith

    Zenith Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Paddlephile. Thanks again for the reply. For some reason I was thinking of blind rivets that don't go all the way through. You are right about the strength of full rivets. I used them on a plane... There are two thin layers of canvas between the stem and band. I could push some out and get a hack saw blade behind to cut them off. Also I note that the stem band backs are flat and not concave. Interesting...
    Thanks again
    John MacIver
     
  14. dtdcanoes

    dtdcanoes LOVES Wooden Canoes

    John...I have a Strickland with a similar removal challenge. Take your Dremel with the little grinder that has the rounded head. Grind off the inside peened head and use a nail set to drive the shank out. Or CAREFULLY grind the center of the rivet sufficiently to drive it in and retrieve it inside. Patience will serve you well. Have fun.
    Dave
     
  15. Michael Grace

    Michael Grace Lifetime Member

    Hi John - Your Morris canoe photos don't show the decks or much of the inwales but it looks like a short-decked (heart-shaped decks?), closed gunwale canoe. If so, it would have had an outside cap and a top cap on each of the rails. After all of this was put together, the stem bands would have been riveted on with the end of the stem band bent over ontop of the junction of the top rail caps (see attached images). Thus the bent-over part of the stem band would be above the decks and rails by the thickness of the caps; 1/2" is too much but if you measure it you might find that when its bent down just a little after being screwed in place, it's more like 1/4" to 5/16". The fact that your stembands are riveted on with canvas under them suggests that your canoe hasn't been messed with, so this arrangement is probably as it was built but as others have said, maybe someone altered the stem band at the top. Maybe it accidentally got caught on something and bent upward a bit when moving the canoe from place to place with the rail caps off.
    Michael
     

    Attached Files:

  16. OP
    OP
    Zenith

    Zenith Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Dave and Michael,
    I am just starting to look at this canoe after a couple of decades, so maybe you can forgive my not being on top of it.... Now that you mention it, I still have the outside and cap rails and everything that came with it including the floorboards and the seven feet of rotted inwhale that I took out when I replaced it in the mid 1980s. So I didn't think of the cap rail at the bow, and of course that is what filled the gap between stem band and deck. The bend is probably original and has not been bent further. Dave I like the idea of the dremel tool, but this canoe has an extra piece of wood contouring to the inner stem near the top and fastened to the stem. The rivets below this piece of wood are easily accessible, but the pieces of wood have drill holes to accommodate the rivets. The rivets are the type used on a number of larger old boats and have an inner collar washer. The rivets inside the holes on the stem backing make it hard to get to the inside of the rivets in this area. Michael, The configuration and shape of my Morris deck and caps is exactly like the one on your left photo of the green canoe. I agree with you that the canoe has probably not been messed around with because it appeared to have been cared for before it got to the burn pile. The fact that it was so complete when I found it after all those years indicate it was stored inside for decades until it got in someones way and they just wanted to get rid of it and another Oldtown. My wife's mother lived in Pearl River New York right next to the New Jersey border. We used to go across the border to get cheaper gas, and on one of these trips I saw the two canoes on the burn pile, stopped and talked with the guy and bought both for $50. or less. Nether he nor I knew what they were, and I only found out a few years ago after joining the WCHA their make, age and model. It had to be some kind of fate I guess....When we get a bit of better weather I will take a few more pictures and put them on my site. I am not sure how to ad them to the forum yet. I can do some computer stuff but I am still an old guy.... Don't ya know.... At any rate there appears to be a bit of fun carpentry work on this old Morris.
    Thank you both for the input!
    John MacIver
     

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