Henry Rushton


Canoe Dude
Came across this being offered as a 16' Henry Rushton serial #3246. Any info or opinions would be helpful.

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This one has been out there for a little while and for good reason. Anything's restoreable, but this is just a shell. The stems have been removed and though they're still with the canoe, they've likely relaxed. It seems there are no decks, inwales or outwales... those would all have to be fabricated. The hull was once fiberglassed (and it looks like there are still large patches of resin on the exterior). Plus the whole canoe has been sitting there with no structural support, relaxing and spreading. It could come back together as a functional canoe, but this one will take a lot of work.
Even with such a bare hull you should be able to tell if it's a JH. The top plank on a Rushton is staggeringly wide. That's an easy tell tale. I cannot see that in the pictures though.
You should also be able to find witness marks where the seat cleats were mounted against the ribs, if it's a Rushton.
The other thing is that the stem on a Rushton is a bit larger than others...again, I can't see what is in that picture.
What is confusing is that it looks like the stem that was removed was a beaver tail type stem.
I blew these pictures up as far as I could and it looks like there is a really large gap (three inches plus?) between the 3rd, 4th and 5th ribs.
Finally, are the tacks copper or brass?

That rascal need quite a bit of work.
I have yet to lay eyes on this boat, but I think I will ask for more pix and verify what is left of the rest of it. I wouldn't be too terrified of taking this project one if the price is right and the boat is verified as a Rushton. Anyone have any thoughts on when it may have been built? I'm guessing if it is a true Rushton it's pre 1920ish? Perhaps I should get more pix first...
Rushton Indian Girls were built between 1901 and 1917. Based on the serial number provided by the seller (3246), this canoe was built by J.H. Rushton, Inc., around 1908-1911.
I found the eBay listing this guy had, downloaded the images and cropped them.
This one shows the wide plank that MGC was looking for

This one shows the stems better:

This is the best I could get on the gap between the ribs:

This is a lot more work that I'd be willing to do or capable of doing.
For me, the restoration was a necessary evil to get a wood canoe to paddle, for others the process it it's own reward.

One thing I want to say, the wood canoe community has a lot of great people - I'd like to thank all of the people who helped me get the canoe I wanted restored, especially Jim Clearwater.
I restored Indian Girl 3250 that I got from Al B. It was mostly there including canvas. I replaced inwales which is much more challenging than open gunnel canoes. Finding full length cherry was also a problem. Having the interior already stripped is a plus. You could make it an open gunnel or make the inwale with one wide rabbet instead of pockets, or you could make pockets with a trip router or by hand. Either way, it's a big project. I really like the way mine paddles solo.


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I turned down a Rushton a few years back as both gunwales, the thwarts and seat frames were so full of beetles and wood borers they looked like sponges.
Against the opinions of a few friendly canoe heads I'm in contact with, I took a ride way down south and wound up bringing whats left of her home as a gift from the seller. I got a good look at the stems, one is clearly marked as "JH Rushton, Inc., Canton, NY", and the serial is 3246. She looks about 15' long and has been molested in the past in that there are some lousy plank repairs down the center of the hull, and it was fiberglassed in the past. The ribs are interesting, some don't seem equally spaced and some seem a bit wider than others at the tips. I'm going to triage this one tomorrow at Thomson's, but I don't have high hopes at the moment. Pix to follow...
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Weeell, on the way back from Thomson's wound up in one of the many deep ruts and potholes we now have here and had a catastrophic failure on the trailer which transferred to the boat. That being said, she's in awful shape, could be rebuilt but it would be a lot of work. We were able to determine that this canoe is 14'-10'' in length, the outer gunwales were red cedar and more than likely closed. The rib tips are quite intact, except for the ones I broke today, of course. For MGC, copper nails were used. This one is going to go into the rack for next winter, and then I'll reconsider taking it on...

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Regarding the stems, the fellow who had it before me epoxied some oak on the outer edges. I got the impression he thought that the inner/outer stem/keel structure was one piece.

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Unless Rushton did it differently, the inner stem, outer stem, and the keel are all three different pieces....not one.
Can't say why the oak was glued on...possibly to add integrity to the stem for nailing.
When I see pictures of the boat, it reminded me of the one that the archaeologists found in the Sea of Galilee.

You've got more determination than I do. I've burned canoes in better condition than that one.
Take lots of pictures during the restoration.