Help with ID from a single picture


LOVES Wooden Canoes
Hello Folks,

I'm driving a few hours to check out this canoe in the morning. Can anyone quickly identify it? The fellow that owns it doesn't know anything about it, except that it was in his deceased neighbors barn for many years. I have not seen the stems, and the only info I have is what you see. Thanks!


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Thanks...I also know that it is 17 ft long. So I'll know if its a Morris right away by the stems....but what if it doesn't have splayed stems...could it be an early Chestnut?
Boy, that's a tough one with that photo. Looks like you've got heart shaped decks, closed gunwales, a floor rack and two thwarts... I'm with Mark, could be a Morris. Probably 16'...Might even be worth the drive...!
Thanks...I also know that it is 17 ft long. So I'll know if its a Morris right away by the stems....but what if it doesn't have splayed stems...could it be an early Chestnut?

Could be, but not likely. Not very Chestnut-y looking... where is it located (you can be somewhat vague to prevent scooping if you want...!). Early closed gunwale Chestnuts are quite rare, especially stateside. If not Morris, could also be Kennebec, or one of several others that used heart shaped decks.
The canoe is a very long way from New Brunswick (how's that for vague?)! I'll probably end up bringing it home biggest problem will be slipping it past my wife without her noticing it! Why oh why didn't I fall in love with coin collecting instead of canoe collecting......
Let me know the serial number so I can add it to the database... and if there's no serial number, you can do things like counting the cant rib pairs and scrutinizing for pin-holes, which may narrow down the age.
Sorry if it seems I spilled the beans about that canoe. I thought we were just playing "what is it" and the extra picture might help. I recognized the picture that was posted and without thinking said, "I know where I saw that before...".

Sorry. I forget that not everyone looks at everything on eBay and craigslist, etc., just to know what's out there.

If anyone wanted that canoe and missed out, let me know what you want and what you're willing to pay-- folks contact me fairly regularly with Morris information and they occasionally ask if I want to buy their canoe (sometimes for way-more than is reasonable). We are overloaded with projects, so I encourage them to list in the WCHA classifieds. If anyone wants a Morris, let me know and I'll save your information for the next time someone thinks we're in the market for another.
No worries about the canoe, I was the first person to call about it, and he gave me his word that he'd hold it for me....integrity runs high here in Central PA! Anyway (and related to integrity), I gave him 200 for it. I thought that was fair....but was it? He thought I was overpaying. It is in fact a Morris (I think) least it has Morris stems. It has rotten wales with a pine splint, an exceptionally stylish Grummy seat, another replacement seat, a replaced thwart, couple of bad planks, some sailing hardware that I don't know anything about, and unfortunately no serial number tag. Ribs seem damage free except for a few mouse chews. It has a floor rack that was modified sloppily. It has gorgeous lines. I'll take some pix later, and would love to know it's approx age.
Glad you got it! Seems like a fair price... from the picture, I was thinking "about $300" (despite Gil's quote).

If it has Morris stems, it's probably a Morris. We compared a Kennebec that started at the Morris factory (it had a Morris stem) and there were significant differences. The video is on YouTube if you search for "Kennebec Morris". So, you have a Morris. The only other canoe that has the same exact stem is a Veazie, which is a Morris with CS grade trim, and your canoe appears to be mahogany.

Cross fingers that you don't have to replace inwales. If you need templates for re-making the seats, thwarts or anything else, there are probably many here who can provide that... probably folks in your neck of the woods.

The Morris restoration tip-o-the-day is to extend the stem band only 3/4" after you've gone over the nose and are heading toward the deck. I don't think Bert wanted stem band to do more than barely touch the deck.

If the canoe has three pairs of cants, it probably had a serial number plate at one time. Four pin holes on the bow stem or two pin holes on the left inwale, over the first full rib. Pin holes can disappear after decades, but sometimes they can be found.

Dating is approximate and may change as more canoes enter the database or if paperwork is found, but at the present time the following works:

Heart shaped short decks aren't seen the last couple years of production... were phased-out gradually during the teens, replaced with the simple curve. So, if you only had the deck to go by, it would be 1893-1918... and you can probably narrow it further.
Two pairs of cant ribs= pre-1905 (so, if it has three cants, it would be c. 1905-1918)
Tag on stem= 1908-1920

Sometimes a canoe has a "feel" to it-- and you've probably experienced this... where you "feel" a canoe is from the thirties... or is a '60s era canoe... and maybe you'll get a feeling regarding this one.

Cool! Congratulations. Looking forward to the pictures!

My new Grumman

Yep, here she new Grumman. Unfortunately the seat is the only original component. Thanks for the info on how to date this canoe. It has the three pairs of cant ribs, as well as four pinholes in the bow stem. The pix tell the story...lots of wale damage, decks are nice, ribs are nice. Is that an original seat? Is that end cap an original feature? Those rudder brackets? Butt jointed inwale? So many questions....


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more pix

Here's a few more pix


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First of all, you live in a mighty pretty place. We don't have that much green here yet. Your new canoe looks mighty nice on the lawn.

To me, the seat looks as if it could have been original but was re-worked to accept sheet-caning rather than having the holes for hand-caning.

As far as I know, Morris never made a rudder for his canoes-- they were sailed with a paddle taking the place of a rudder.

Not sure what the alien life-form is in the second picture from the left (upper row of pics).

The end-cap is a cobble-job.

Sorry about those wales! Inwale is a single piece. But you got the canoe for a decent price, even with the work that needs to be done. And you are right about those lines-- very pretty canoe, especially sitting in that pretty spot-- only better place is on the water!

You don't have to sneak it past your wife, just tell her it's a mother's day present!! And a mighty fine one at that!! She can go look at it in the barn anytime she wants. Problem solved.

I always figured it was easier to beg forgiveness after a purchase than to seek permission ahead of time. Ask me sometime why I'm divorced.


Regarding your question concerning the rear seat being original or not and to add to what Kathy said. Morris seats would have been made of mahogany and have beautiful, tightly fitting mortise and tenon joints, so tight in fact that it is my opinion that they were not glued. I have disassembled a few of mine and I cannot see any evidence of glue being used. Hopefully others who have done work on Morris seats will chime in here and share their findings.