Introducing myself and two B. N. Morris canoes

Discussion in 'Open Forum' started by John Newkirk, Aug 19, 2017.

  1. John Newkirk

    John Newkirk New Member

    Greetings, fellow aficionados:

    I have the profound good fortune of having two 1905 B. N. Morris canoes in the family. They belonged to my father and each has a colorful history - mostly on Lake George, the Adirondacks, and Algonquin Park.

    The green one in particular (a 17-footer) needs to be re-canvassed, and I'm finding that what was probably routine maintenance 100 years ago has become a rare art that few seem to practice anymore. The blue one (16 feet with a Folsom plate) is in relatively good shape, albeit with a few small leaks near the bow and stern.

    I'd be interested in any tips or leads from WCHA members on how I might go about finding someone to work on these over the winter, preferably in the Adirondack area.

    Smooth waters,

    John J. Newkirk
    Lake George, New York

    Attached Files:

  2. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    I'd start with a look through the Builders & Suppliers Directory here:

    Kathy Klos/Campbell will probably be along shortly, as she's our resident expert on Morris canoes. She'll have lots of questions about serial numbers (which can lead to an estimated age of the canoes), as well as construction details.
  3. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

  4. Greg Nolan

    Greg Nolan enthusiast

    Welcome to the WCHA.

    When considering any restoration work, whether you plan to do it yourself or to hire a professional, there are three good sources of information about canoe restoration that you would do well to get, or at least look at, before making any decision about how to repair or restore your canoe:

    The Wood and Canvas Canoe: A Complete Guide to its History, Construction, Restoration, and Maintenance by Rollin Thurlow and Jerry Stelmok

    Building the Maine Guide Canoe by Jerry Stelmok

    This Old Canoe: How To Restore Your Wood-Canvas Canoe, by Mike Elliott

    The first is often called the "bible" of canoe repair, restoration, and maintenance; the second is an excellent study of the wooden/canvas canoe and its construction. The third is the most recently published and has been well received.

    Of course, you can always ask questions here on the forums. There is a good deal of information here on removing fiberglass.

    These books are available from the WCHA store, are often on eBay, or from Amazon and other book vendors.

  5. OP
    John Newkirk

    John Newkirk New Member

    Many thanks to all who have responded. I've followed up with a few of the resources mentioned and hope to have a reskinned Morris canoe in the water next summer.

    In the meantime, I'm off to Quetico for a week (in a modern kevlar canoe for now).

    Regards to all,

    John J. Newkirk
    Lake George, New York
  6. Kathryn Klos

    Kathryn Klos squirrel whisperer

    Sorry I haven't replied sooner (been busy paddling these last nice summer days). You have two great canoes-- congratulations! I've been keeping records of known Morris canoes for several years now and what they've told me resulted in a book which you may already have found in the WCHA online store. I've entered Morris 3470 with the Folsom plate (there are only a handful of these known) and would like to know the number of cant rib pairs, as Morris went from two pairs to three in about 1905. I'd also like you to take another look at the serial number on your other Morris and confirm the numbers for me. If the serial number appears to be 3031, I suspect there is a "1" in the area between the tacks holding the serial number plate. Morris 3031 (which incidentally lived its life in the Adirondacks), is an existing 15 foot canoe with a Folsom plate. Also, the serial number plate on your canoe is rotated to a position seen on some Morris canoes from 1912 to 1916, and Morris 13031 would date to 1915. There are nearly 400 Morris canoes in the Morris database (out of more than 20,000 built) and you have two of them. Congratulations!


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