Carlton brass stem strap

Paul Miller

Canoe Nut

I have attached pictures of the stem of a Carlton I found through a search of posts here on the site.

My interest is the detail of the copper strap that goes around the tip of the canoe from outwhale cap to outwhale cap.

I'm not sure if this "one" is original, and can't tell if the stem band goes up to it; over it; or under it.

Does anyone have a better picture of this???




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Hi Paul,

I have never seen a Carlton that has that metal band over the stem. I doubt it is original....but, it looks like a pretty old addition.

If you zoom the photo (control +) you can see that it was installed over the stem band.

Rollin uses a copper strip on his canoes. It's a nice touch for a working canoe.
I have attached page 5 and 7 of the 1914 Carlton canoe catalog from the Dan Miller CD (that everyone should have).

Page 5 describes a "Brass bang plates. Copper tip to protect the ends of the rails".

I would expect that something like the copper cap that E.M. White used would be on the end of the canoe.

The picture of the Carlton Model found on page 7 shows faint detail of something on the "rails" and on the tip of the deck from the top view.

That's why I'm wondering if the picture I first posted was original or not.

Does anyone have an undisturbed Carlton with those "copper tips".




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I am attaching herewith five photos which, I hope, may help you somewhat. But, first, I should explain. These are photos of a Carleton 'salesman's sample' canoe model, 42" long, recently sent to me by a gentleman who wanted to learn a little more about it. Recent research of the Carleton build records would suggest that this model dates to the early 1920's, possibly even earlier. Its overall appearance lends credibility to that possibility.

You will see that there is a short copper band or plate the same depth as the gunwales which wraps around the end of the canoe and ties them together. The photos seem to show this at both ends. The stem bands do not appear to come above the copper plate, nor do they curl over and fasten to the deck tops (although it could be argued there is a suspicious looking little hole where the gunwale caps join). There do seem to be stem bands present, and it looks as though the ends likely terminate behind the copper band and are hidden by it. At least, that's my feeling from studying the photos.

From there, you have to employ a bit of faith, as well as accept the logic that models such as these were built by the same factory craftsmen who made the full-size canoes, and that these models were small copies meant to display to a potential buyer, in miniature form, what a 'real' one would be like. If you can accept that this sample is genuine (and I believe it is), then this may give you some guidance as to the answers you are searching for.

I have not seen this model in person, only through the photos.

I should, perhaps, add that I am aware of (and have personally inspected) a second, likely even older, Carleton salesman's sample model which has no copper tips, simply a brass stem band at each end. These two models are otherwise very similar. It would seem that both examples are authentic, and the catalog reference to copper tips confirms that some examples will likely be found so equipped. The same should hold true for full-size canoes.

Hope this helps.

Roger Y.


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Paul, etal.

The subject Carleton is my canoe. I bought it a year ago in MA. The canoe originally had outside stems. The stern end of the canoe that is not pictured still has the outside stem in place along with the normal brass stem band. There is no copper or brass wrapped around the end from one side to the other. The bow, which is pictured, is missing the outside stem. I always presumed that the copper wrapped around the end was a repair done at some time years ago. I will go out to the barn tonight and take another look at the stern and check for tell tale nail holes where a strip of copper might have been. The canoe build record is not available. The records skip over this one but a build date of March 1910 is likely. The canoe is actually in fairly decent shape for 100 years old. No broken ribs, minimum rot. The bottom is a little hogged from improper storage but all in all it was a good Ebay purchase.

Stay tuned
Jim C.

Ok, so I took a look at the stern and took a couple of pictures. There appears to be two nail holes on each sidecap that may have held on a copper strap. The photos are not good enough to show them however. The brass stem band does not bend over the point as is often the case with most canoes. It ends at the top of the outside stem. So it appears plausible that it had a copper strap at one time. I guess the real answer will have to wait untill someone comes forward with a Carleton in better shape.



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Mine is in better shape but it is also not as old as yours. Mine does not have the caps.
Could you take a close up picture of the end that does have the cap?
I'd be happy to take additional pictures but it will have to wait until early next week as I am going away for a long weekend. Stay tuned

Hello Jim, how do I go about getting insurance for my canoe? Its finished and I was looking for a thread on this site but couldn't find one and then I came across you on a different thread. You sent me pics of your canoe back in feb. when I started mine. This is my first one and you were a big help along with Rollin Thurlow, and for that I thank you very much.
Mystery solved

Ok, so here is the answer. I took the Carleton off the rack so I could take better photos with the canoe right side up. When I rolled it over the brass stem strap that was originally on the stern stem fell out from under the deck. Somehow it surived the trip from Cape Cod to New York without falling out last year. Attached are pictures of both the bow (that still has the brass strap in place) and the stern with the loose strap sitting on the deck. The stern strap was held on with five nails. Two on each side, one into the edge of the top cap, one into the side cap and the fifth nail into the outside stem on one side only. The top edge of the strap is bent over the top of the top gunwale cap approx. 1/8 inch at the most. The bow strap has six nails but I presume that is because it was re-positioned after the outside stem was removed. The brass stem band is under the brass strap and does not bend over the top of the stem onto the deck.



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More pictures

Here is a couple more pictures. The last picture is of six canoes where we can compare stem profiles. Top to bottom on left: 12' Bell Bucktail solo fiberglass canoe; 17' 1904 Old Town Charles River; 16' 1935 Old Town Otca. Top to bottom on right: 1905 16' Rushton Navohoe; 1938 17' Old Town HW; and the 16' 1910 Carleton which started this thread. Not really much difference between the Old Towns and the Carleton.

Jim C.


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Thanks Jim,

That is the great thing about this forum.

Now I can restore to orginal.

It also confirms the size of the rail caps. I thought they looked kind of big, but that's they way the made them.

Thanks again,