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Rushton Navahoe

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by samb, Oct 20, 2020.

  1. samb

    samb LOVES Wooden Canoes

    I started disassembling my Rushton Navahoe today. I went slowly and carefully so I can see how it all goes together and to try to work out what is original or not and took photos along the way.


    So far I have taken off the outer rails and caps on one side only.


    The caps are oak and held on with 1” square copper boat nails. It looks like these were the second lot of caps to go on as there were other nail holes into the gunnel beneath the caps. The caps are 1½” x ¼” . At the decks they taper slightly in width and cover the edge of the deck by around ¼” at the stem


    The oak outer rails were held with the same copper nails and these were first fitted with this canvas as no other nail holes were present in the canvas. The outer rails are ⅞” x ³/16”


    Both the cap and rail were made up of three parts - a middle section of about 3’ and two longer ends. They were joined with fairly steep scarfs.


    [​IMG]


    The rib tops are level with the gunnel and chamfered.


    I’m trying to be methodical and not get ahead of myself but I noticed the canvas is stuck to the planking certainly all along the top edge with what looks like paint as well as tacks.. . . . . but I’m not allowed to look at that properly yet!
    Sam
     
  2. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    Hi Sam,
    I am far from expert on the subject and I have never worked on a Rushton Navaho. I have seen and worked on numerous Rushton Indians, Indian Girls as well as many other canoes with rail caps. Never the less please take my observations with a grain of salt.
    I have never seen a closed rail canoe capped with spliced pieces that I believed was original. Even a very original "B" grade girl had one piece caps.
    All closed rail canoes I have owned (Rushton, Morris, Veazie, Old Town, Robertson, Gerrish) have been constructed with single piece caps.
    Mike
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2020
  3. Dave Osborn

    Dave Osborn LIFE MEMBER

    I agree with Mike. Never seen a pieced cap or outwale on a closed gunwale canoe. It is possible that they ran out of long stock and resorted to shorter pieces. I recall a Racine that I did had tacks at the ribs, but also the very tiniest tacks holding canvas to the planks between the ribs.
    Have fun with your project!
     
  4. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    On the flip side, my 1918/1919 Old Town HW has one two-piece outwale, while the other outwale is one-piece... and it's probably original. If I remember correctly, there's just a simple butt joint between the two pieces; no glue or actual joinery was used. Outwales are not attached to the canoe at this time, and are stored in the rafters. I could bring them down for a picture, if needed. I'm thinking the two-piece outwale would be far less noticeable than a two-piece cap rail, on a showroom floor.
     
  5. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    You know what they say....."never say never".
    Having said that and if it is indeed original, would you replace them that way and why? That would be a case where preserving originality flies in the face of doing it better/right. Like putting multi-piece outside rails back on a Chestnut....why? If you have them off.....
     
  6. Dan Miller

    Dan Miller cranky canoeist Staff Member

    It wouldn't surprise me if those rails and caps are original, recall that the Navahoe was the lowest grade IG offered.

    Proof should be when they are removed. If they are replacements, there will be evidence of previous fasteners.
     
  7. Dan Miller

    Dan Miller cranky canoeist Staff Member

    Wouldn't this then be an example of "over-restoration?" :D
     
  8. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    I know, right? That would be an awful one to decide about. I was thinking about Paul's Old Town when I suggested that...an Old Town of that vintage is a nice old boat but they are not in short supply. I'd be inclined to replace and 'over-restore".
    The Navaho, your observation that you should be able to tell is spot on..and then you would need to decide. Having said that, as you know, some of these Rushton "rag" boats were pretty roughly assembled. I'd be inclined to keep the pieces and "over-restore". :eek:
     
  9. OP
    OP
    samb

    samb LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Getting back to it today. . . .

    I’ve now removed the caps on the other side, and as I said in the OP, there are a second set of nail holes. I will presume that they were to the original sizes. You can also see in the photo there, that the join in the cap was cut in situ as it goes too deep and into the side piece. I would think the nail spacing is also a give-away as they are spaced somewhat randomly and not through the ribs in many cases.


    Despite all the thoughts on how the caps and rails should go back, it will be new wood and in two pieces. I will bend the one piece to the correct curve then split it. 9 ft of 1”x 3/16” will be tricky enough to deal with. 16 foot plus is too long to be accurate and safe with my small saw, and would need space longer than my workshop.



    So now to the canvas - or what I’d presumed to be canvas, because I could see a canvas looking weave through the paint in places. From the shear, it looked like it was stuck with thick varnish or maybe brown paint. It was well stuck. Trying to peel it, it felt like canvas - hard but flexible rather than stiff like fibreglass.

    [​IMG]

    There were no tacks along the top but staples at the stems.

    [​IMG]

    A scraper revealed different colours: White base then green, paler green, blue, green then darker green.

    [​IMG]

    With canvas I’d remove tacks and then peel the canvas, splitting it at the end; It was having none of it. Next attempt was with a heat gun. It worked slowly but it was pulling the grain on the wood and not doing my lungs any good. The best method I’ve found so far is to cut it into strips and slowly peel it back using mole grips and a scraper. The brown ‘glue’ can be removed with a cabinet scraper or probably an orbital sander. It’s not going to be a quick process.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    I’ve no idea what it’s made of. Before heating it looks quite like nylon. After heating it goes brittle and stiff. The colour on it doesn’t react to the nastiest paint stripper, or meths, or thinners, and neither does the ‘glue’ or whatever it is.


    [​IMG]
     
  10. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    Sam, you are well on the way towards doing the nasty job of stripping fiberglass and resin from your Navaho. Heat, patience and a good putty knife will get you through this. Be careful not to get too aggressive with the removal of the cloth. If the resin has not released you will end up tearing the planking....
    Once you have the glass off then you will need to carefully remove the remaining resin...slowly with more heat. You will need to pick the resin from between the planks and also where it has crept under the ribs. It's a wretched job but worth the effort on a Rushton. Try to avoid using a sander to remove the resin. It will eat the planking away. Some folks just rip off the planking and replace it...it's nice to keep things original.
     
  11. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    I won't get to that decision for a while yet...
     
  12. OP
    OP
    samb

    samb LOVES Wooden Canoes

    But does anyone know what it is though?Definitely not glass unless you can show me a glass that ignites easily with a small flame, and you can't easily cut through glass / resin with a knife.
    Heat seems to make it grip better so tear the planks, slow careful peeling seems to work best.
    Sam
     
  13. Dave Wermuth

    Dave Wermuth Who hid my paddle?

    looks to me like the type of fiberglass you find at home depot and auto parts stores. That stuff will catch fire. more of a weave and not so much like fiberglass cloth.
     
  14. OP
    OP
    samb

    samb LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Whatever it is, doesn’t matter anymore as it’s no longer there.

    This is half a boats worth: The bits on the left are the bits I used heat with, the bits on the right are the strips I peeled, and the crumbs are the layers of colour which chipped off while peeling.


    [​IMG]

    The way I finally removed it was to cut it into plank wide strips then just peel it back on itself. The area where I used heat is the part which has most damage to the planks. I’m glad I didn’t persevere with it from both the timber and my lungs' sake. Once I got the technique, all the ‘canvas’ was gone within 3 hours.

    [​IMG]

    It has left the brown ?paint / ?glue in places but most of that comes off with a quick pass with a scraper

    [​IMG]
     
    Dave Wermuth likes this.
  15. Blott

    Blott LOVES Wooden Canoes

    So much for our initial view that it may be the original canvas! A messy job now completed.
     
  16. OP
    OP
    samb

    samb LOVES Wooden Canoes

    I’ve now fitted the replacement rib and got the inside stripped.

    [​IMG]

    While stripping I found this other marking on a rib: NOE - The end of Canoe? - Any thoughts?

    [​IMG]

    I’ve bent up the side rails and cut them. . .

    [​IMG]

    I’ve bent and cut the cap rails and dry fitted them . . .

    [​IMG]

    And at the weekend, I got the canvas on.

    [​IMG]
     
  17. chris pearson

    chris pearson Michigan Canoe Nut

    Love the idea of bending the rail down the center.
     
  18. OP
    OP
    samb

    samb LOVES Wooden Canoes

    IMG_20201216_142128.jpg

    Just a matter of sand - paint - sand - paint . . . . . . . . . . .
     
  19. OP
    OP
    samb

    samb LOVES Wooden Canoes

    I think I’ve now finished!


    It will be a good few weeks yet before the paint is hard enough to strap on the car roof but I already know how it feels to paddle so I shan’t be too impatient.


    I’ve had to repair the tips of the rails at both ends, replace one rib, replace cap and outer rails, re-cane seats, replace a thwart, and canvas, paint and varnish. I also kept the original Rushton stamped stem band remnant and soldered it onto a new length.


    As I mainly paddle solo, I have not put the new thwart in the original centre position but further forward to use as a thwart to lean on when paddling (the boat backwards). I have a removable carry thwart which will be used transporting it. I had thought about dropping the bow seat onto cleats as on Indian Girls, but decided that it should stay in its original position.


    IMG_20210114_111046.jpg IMG_20200826_190900.jpg IMG_20210114_110921.jpg IMG_20200826_190959.jpg IMG_20210114_105644.jpg IMG_20200701_130345.jpg
     
  20. Norm Hein

    Norm Hein Canoe Codger

    Great project to follow! Beautiful Job!
     

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