Morris #16726

Bill Thurlow

Curious about Wooden Canoes
I am in the middle of restoring this 17' Morris #16726, 24" decks mahogany inwales, gunwales, seats, thwarts, etc. I found the serial # tag under the front deck as shown in the picture. I couldn't find any other place where it might have been. The person I purchased it from said it had been in his family from about 1930. Should I put the tag back where I found it or is there a more correct place. I looked in "The Morris Canoe" book but didn't find anything being under the deck.

Bill Thurlow


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Hi Bill. It is very odd to find the tag under the deck. And the tag itself seems unusual. It may be an original, but I've never seen a Morris tag with the digits disarrayed like this. Usually they are well arranged in linear array, so maybe the original tag was lost and replicated. Just a thought. Whether original or not, this is a very odd location for the tag, in my experience. Are there any indications that the bow stem was replaced at some point in the past? The other place you might normally find a tag is mounted to the vertical side of one of the seat frame members. In case your seats are original and you haven't looked there yet, you should.
Other Morris canoes of that vintage commonly have the tag on the edge of the short side of the bow seat frame as shown below. Has the bow seat been replaced or show any indication that the tag was once there? Interesting,



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The seats were refinished by the previous owner and I saw no indications of any holes. Maybe I'll strip the finish in that area to see if the holes were filled. I don't know if the seats were replaced, they look period though.

Yes, photos if possible. What Benson showed above is exactly what I described earlier - tag mounted on seat frame. I have one of these - #16487 - and its tag is mounted on the vertical face of one of the short bow seat frame members. This is a thread with the photo Benson inserted above:

Note the low rise of the sheer and the torpedo stems. It would be interesting to know the style of your canoe. My 16487 looks just like 16433. Interestingly, others I have with slightly earlier numbers - 15598, 15288, 15087, and 14201 - all have serial number plates mounted on their bow stems, and all have the more common Morris profile.
I will post more pictures tomorrow, these are from when I was stripping the fiberglass, and a picture of the bow deck.
and a picture of bow repair done a long long time ago.


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I striped the front seat this morning and found out it's not mahogany. So at some point in it's life the seats were replaced. Someone did a good job as they look very nice. That may have been when they moved the tag so it wouldn't get lost. Another decision to make, should these seats be replaced with mahogany ones. I believe this canoe is a Model D type 2, will take it to Rollin's sometime for him to check it out.

That old bow repair is awful! I count 5 adjacent planks landing on the first rib! I guess they never heard of staggering the joints....