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Discussion in 'Research and History' started by Canoez, Dec 3, 2012.
Mistake not inward, but outward. What was I thinking?
Re pocketed ribs: Yes, mortised into the inwale... but I think they are only this way on first-grade Indian Girls.
Here's a few pictures of our Indian Girl. Note the location of three mounting holes on the deck plate. Also, this is a seventeen foot IG and has three thwarts, the Indian Girl brand is on the bow thwart behind the bow seat. As Dave said, the serial number and Rushton brand are almost indiscernible on the stem. The serial number is approximately six inches from the end of the stem. The Rushton Inc etc is located three ribs from the bow. Notice the planking. Our IG does not have the tpical six inch shear strake and all of the planking looks original. I guess like others, they used what they had on hand. Hope this helps.
Oops...Here's the picture of the shear strake
Thanks for the info and the photos, folks - much appreciated.
I guess I'm still fuzzy on something here, 'tho. Was the Navahoe a separate model from the Indian Girl or simply a different trim level of the Indian Girl? The "Knowledge" page indicates that it was a different model. Also, I don't have cleats for the front seats, so I'm thinking that must be another difference.
Both, sort of. There is a photo in the collection of the St. Lawrence County Historical Association that shows the mold for the Navahoe. The typewritten description indicates that it was an Indian Girl mold that was modified by adding wood to flatten the sheer, from the end of the mold back about 8 ribs (not counting cants) from the stem. The end result being that it would be easier to bend the rails.
The trim definitely differed, but that changed from the time it was introduced in 1908 through the close of the factory in 1917. Emphasis is on spruce and native hardwoods, and low grade materials in general (think Chevette vs. Corvette).
Attached is a page showing the Navahoe model from what I believe to be the last Rushton catalog published (circa 1916 J.W. Rushton). It is hard to tell, but the bow seat could very well be slung directly below the gunwale.
Despite the low grade nature of the Navahoe, it surprises me that the ribs are so thin, with obvious milling marks evident - not something I have seen in other late production Rushton canoes.
Other possibilities, given the lack of brand or serial numbers are St. Lawrence Boat Works (Joseph Leyare bought the rights to the IG after the Rushton factory closed, but existing examples are built to the same high standards as the typical Rushton IG canoes), and Cyce Brown, one of the Rushton factory employees who did some boat building at his home after the factory closed.
That's definitely it in terms of model - if you look closely at the picture, the seat appears to be hung right under the gunwale.
The funny thing is that there is a fragment of a thwart right behind the bow seat location which that picture doesn't show. The fragment appears to be original as the bolts that are used to hang the seats and thwarts and the square nuts are still in place and appear to be consistent with those still in place most everywhere else. There do appear that there were seats and three thwarts. It wouldn't make sense for the thwart to be behind the front seat from my perspective, as it would add weight, but not much structure where you've already got the seat stretcher.
If Saint Lawrence Boat Works was making the Indian Girl in higher quality, would it make sense that they would have taken the Indian Girl molds over the Navahoe molds and that this may have been one of Cyce Brown's builds and he didn't have all the tools at hand that he might have been used to at the factory, hence the saw marks on the ribs?
I do need to spend more time with the boat to look in more detail at the stems. The light in the garage where the boat is at the moment isn't very good. Some work lights and a magnifying glass might be helpful as well. There's a layer of heavily deteriorated varnish and oxidation on the wood. Maybe the stems have more secrets to divulge?
Unfortunately, there is far too much gray in this area of the IG history to come to any conclusions.
What can you tell us about Cyce Brown and where he built? I am still trying to figure out how my form ended up in the Grant Street Planing Mill in Potsdam. I've been through all of the old newspapers and scoured museum records without figuring out who was building off of the IG form in Pdam. Clearly someone was building since there was a steam box and there were a few ribs with the form. We heard anecdotally that a former Rushton foreman had brought the form there and built but that was never confirmed.. Atwood was also unable to help me with this research even though he did try.
Not much really. I have notes from an article that Atwood wrote titled "Rushton Boat Shop Spawned Many Craftsmen." in it he says Cyce Brown built IG canoes on Dekalb Road after Rushton shop closed. (Also that Brown liked liquor...).
Brown's obituary states "After the close of the factory, he did some boat building for private individuals and worked on farms in this section"
Anything else I have heard is from local folks, such as that Brown built the canoes on his porch. His house burned down a few months before he died.
The 1940 US Census lists Brown's occupation as Boatbuilder. I have not yet located him in earlier censuses.
Someone contacted me once with questions about a canoe that had a provenance suggesting it was built by Cyce Brown, but darned if I can find that info now...
Thanks for that, Dan - I didn't expect miracles to tell the different makers apart who were building from the same molds - particularly when they were probably the same folks working for Rushton's shop. This morning I did nip into the garage with a brighter light - there does appear to be a serial number on the end of the stems. It appears to read "378", but I'm not sure if there's a fourth digit. The number "8" nearest the bow paddler has worn away, but was on the stern stem. I think a little stripper and a very, very soft brush are in order. Still no indication of a Rushton stamp, tho. It will probably be Sunday before I'm able to bring the boat to the basement where it will be warm enough to work and then I can set up work lights to see better.
Perhaps I'm reading too much detail into the picture from the Catalog, but I don't see the Rushton tag or the painter loop on the front deck in that catalog picture. Metal tags would have cost money and I'm wondering if they would have left it off of the Navahoe model in favor of a stamp/brand?
These lower cost and later canoes had a decal on the deck, not the metal tags.
Not all of them have Rushton stamped on the stems. One of mine has the deck decal but only the SN stamped on the stems.
The other has the SN and Rushton on the stems. Both of these were built within the same relative time frames (close SN's).
Dekalb road eh!
I need to track my form to the Northwest 11 miles, not to the Southeast 15 miles......
My stems are about 1.2 inches wide....so a bit on the fat side. Very distinctive. The ends are not rounded as they are on the "can ufo"...
Ok, she decided to devulge a few more secrets with some gentle prodding.
She has a serial number - she's Miss #378 - it's faint, but it's there. No fourth digit on either stem. The bow stem reads "37" and the "8" is obliterated from wear.
The "nails" that I was confused about that are going from the inwale outwards aren't nails. They are...
Rivets. Both sides on every other rib. Were rivets commonly used by Rushton this way? I can't recall seeing them on other boats that I've worked on. The inwale looks to be ash or maybe oak. I was expecting spruce, but appear to be badly mistaken - some light hardwood with obvious grain flecks to it that looks much like oak or ash.
Decks appear to be spruce as is the cap strip. There is no sign beneath the deck of any holes for anything in the bow deck. Any decals were obliterated by the paint work. The straight grain of the spruce appears to be why the canoe's decks split under tension and we've got the iron strap for a repair at both ends which is obviously not a factory addition from the cuts in the cap strip.
Here's the fragment of the third thwart that was behind the bow seat:
To the left of the fragment, you can just make out the two bolts and their square nuts used to hang the bow seat hanging beneath the gunwales.
A more overall view of the back of the canoe:
Where the two temporary "thwarts" are is approximately the location of two of the three thwarts. There are bolts at those locations to hang them. The remaining center thwart is visible as well. The rear seat stretcher remains also. She's got at least a dozen broken ribs in the after portion of the boat.
That is not a typical stamp "font" used by Rushton, and I've not heard of Rushton using rivets in this situation.
RacineWis used rivets: "The gunwales are in one full length, and copper riveted together through the planking and the ribs, besides being riveted at each end through the stems" (1917 catalog).
Catalog specs suggest gunwales should be Oregon (Port Orford) cedar - McGreivey's article indicates they used cypress as well.
Ok, I found a thread that Kathy had responded to. This canoe appears to be a 16' Racine Boat Company Chippewa. Oddly, they seem to refer to the serial number and length being stamped on a rib, but with the capped gunwales and the stamped stem, I'm assuming this must be an older boat as most manufacturers seemed to go to open gunwales what - about 1910? The catalog pictures would seem to confirm what I'm seeing in terms of the pocket for a bow "grab handle" just aft of the deck. I need to go look more closely in the stern because there should be one there. The center thwart has me buffaloed, 'tho as it doesn't seem to belong.
Cypress would seem to be correct.
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