Morris Thwart size?


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I brought home a 17' morris today and just am going to stash it until I feel like working on it. From canvas to canvas, at the centre thwart it measures 35" but can be pinched to maybe 34", from the top of the trim to the rib it measures 13" deep. It doesn't jive with dragonfly's morris id charts.
If someone wants to provide a template that would be nice. Or the correct measurement so I can just temp one in for now for storage and moving around.

Is this funny brass cup something original?

And it has a keel with, looks to be a continuous galvanized band. Original?

Anyway It is a nice boat.
Thanks for any help.


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Hello Jeff, and congrats on the Morris. Dan would be the first to say that measurements from the canoe catalogs must be taken with a grain or two of salt. You probably have a Model A canoe, and it is a type 1. Model A is (with a grain of salt) 34" wide and 12" deep--- Model C is the next most likely at 33.5" and 12.5"... but it appears most Morris canoes are either A or B (the latter being wider and deeper).

Your funny brass cup is probably a pennant holder--- the original Morris pennant holders I know of, consist of a diamond-shaped base with the cup in the center.

A stem band that goes the length of the keel could have been ordered from the factory. Does it seem that the canoe has been worked on? I see the stem band on one end is broken, but does the one at the other end (if intact) extend only 3/4 inch over the nose of the canoe? Or, can you tell if the stem bands are still held with rivets at the bow and stern? This is one way to determine if that stem band has ever been removed.

Does your canoe have D-shaped outwales--- I can't tell from the picture but it looks like a maybe.

You haven't reported your serial number to the salivating holder of the Morris database.... so maybe there is no s/n? Then you at least have to report the presence or absence of tell-tale holes and the number of cant rib pairs...

Here are the explanatory videos--- I believe all my current thoughts and theories re Morris canoes are in these videos except we now have the exact date of the fire-- December 15, 1919 (a Monday).

P.S. If your canoe is missing only the center thwart, they get along nicely without one. Morris didn't put a center thwart in his second-grade Veazie model and he expected that middle one on the B.N. Morris to be on or off the canoe, at the whim of the owner.

Sure looks pretty on your truck... kind of a shame to keep such a nice thing in a garage. I'd like to keep one on my car year-round and maybe figure out a way to advertise the WCHA.
Okay, I see it's #8392-- that's what I get for not connecting the dots between our discussions in email and on this board. For those who might be wondering, the canoe is circa 1910, according to current theory.
I can see from the existing thwarts where the varnish has a sun line and if I pull it to 34 it tucks under the rail as if it had originally. 13" deep has baffled me.

Not sure what a D outwhale is but here are pictures. Has both nuts for the centre thwart.

The stems have 3/8 " oval that appear riveted, the keel band is maybe steel, 1/2, and brass screwed.

It doesn't seemed to have been worked on. But does need some work. I'm all canoed out this year. Maybe strip it.

I love how big it is. A real family ride.


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Hi Jeff,

Cool that you actually have the wing-nuts!

I don't think Morris used steel-- so that part may have been added, but the bands on the stems themselves may be original.

I'll add pictures of D-outwales (taken by Greg Nolan)... your boat doesn't have them. There are diagrams of the three wale-options in some of the Morris catalogs, including the one reprinted and available through the WCHA store--- but I had a hard time visualizing them before actually seeing in-person or good pictures.

The standard Morris rail-system is what's on your canoe, and is spruce... the canoe in the pictures I'm attaching has a spruce inwale and top-cap, but the outwale is mahogany-- it will eventually be stripped of blue paint. The Morris open gunwale canoe is an all-mahogany rail system and the outwale is D-shaped.

The fourth picture I'm attaching shows the outwale has been messed-with on one side, which is a bummer-- but I think from this perspective you see the shape pretty well.

You'll love using your Morris as The Family Canoe... very stable (dogs/kids move around) and moves through the water without much effort.



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Ok I see what you mean by D. I'm just finishing a torpedo with all Mahogany and love the way varnish looks on it. So I'm happy the seats and thwarts are Mahogany. If you have any pictures of spruce trim with fresh varnish I'd like to see how they come out.

Nice looking Blue Morris, this one seems to have been blue to.

Thanks for all the information. It looks like the one in your videos.

Let me know if Dennis gets any information on the centre thwart. And I'll keep you updated. I just can't keep my hands off of things so letting in rest might not work.
Denis wants me to clarify that when the outwales are mahogany on a Morris, the top cap is too... but the inwale in spruce on closed-gunwale Morris canoes, even if the rest of the canoe is mahogany-trimmed.

It appears Bert Morris was very fond of mahogany, so the spruce-parts were stained to match the decks, etc. Our Veazie (Morris second-grade, factory-direct model) has maple trim that is stained mahogany.

Your canoe-- #8392-- is much like the needier-canoe in the video-- #8435. It would be interesting to know how many canoes Morris turned out in a week--- our canoes may have sat side-by-side at one time!

Denis has a stain-formula that works well for matching the Morris mahogany stain on interiors and rails and such. Without stain, the spruce would be lighter. Some Morris canoes appear not to have been stained at the factory (i.e. they have a light interior). I'll look through my pictures because I can't remember if the light-interior Morrises have light rails as well. Your canoe appears to have the more-common dark interior, so the rails were probably stained.

This is the stain recipe Denis used on our Belle Isle Morris (or Morris Molitor):

Using Minwax products, by unit (meaning eye-dropper-full, teaspoon, cup, truckload, what-have-you):

2 parts Red Mahogany #225
2 parts Golden Oak #210B
1 part Special Walnut #224
1 part Sedona Red #222

Some folks prefer the unstained appearance of the wood, even if it was originally stained. Remember, this is your canoe and you can finish it the way you choose. It seems to me that the lighter-interior Morris canoes may have been a "buyer's choice", because the lighter boats appear here and there, willy-nilly, throughout the database and so don't indicate to me that there was a decision from Bert on High to discontinue staining. So-- as with exterior color, interior staining is "owner's choice".

I went though a bunch of pictures and will attach examples of Morris canoes with or without stained rails. As you can see, contrast looks nice too-- whether it's original or not.

Also will add the picture of our 17' Veazie-- The Family Canoe-- a picture taken at Assembly 2008 by Ted Michel. It's Charlie with me in the bow, Bertie hanging over the rails and Denis in the stern.



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I brought home a 17' morris today and just am going to stash it until I feel like working on it. From canvas to canvas, at the centre thwart it measures 35" but can be pinched to maybe 34", from the top of the trim to the rib it measures 13" deep. It doesn't jive with dragonfly's morris id charts.


Where are you measuring beam? A Morris Model B is 34 inches over the thwart, 37" maximum beam (i.e. 1-1/2" tumblehome), and 13" deep for a 17' canoe.

The hood ornament is not OEM...


I have always wondered about this Morris staining. Maybe Morris tinted the varnish? (that way it would come off with the varnish).

I was measuring the the centre thwart right at the top trim, canvas to canvas. It does have some big tumble home to it. Seems that it was 34 at one time But due to old age has gained an inch. So a B it probably is if the 37" is to the widest point.

I think you may be correct about a tinted varnish. I've seen painters use tinted poly up here where situations might benefit from it. It is hard to work with as you need to have even coats. Shows brush lines. I think I like the stained or darker trim for looks. Not sure about the cedar being stained.

Thanks for the formula for stain Kathryn. I will need it as I like the matching dark trim. I think they might of been built the same week. Same builders. Neat! It will be nice to see them both refurbished and in use again.
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We have a Morris center thwart I can measure tomorrow... it's one we bought at the Assembly a few years back, hoping it would fit our 18' canoe, but it was too short. It may fit a 17 footer. Will let you know, and will do a tracing if it fits (I can try it in our Veazie, which is 17' but never had a center thwart). The wing-nuts in your canoe are really cool, by the way... it's fun finding little treasures like that, and gives us an idea of what to look for.

Stay tuned for information on Morris decals...

Thanks Kathryn,
Fitz said he copied one from a 17' Model B and could send a template. After further research and looking at the WCHA Morris catalogue listing. I pretty sure it's a 17 ' B 74, width on the rail 34, extreme 37" Dans site had it stated as 37" and I was measuring on the rail, just don't always pay attention and he had it stated "Beam extreme inches"

I was going to ask you why you didn't have decals. I wanted to see what was left of mine but just no way to salvage it. You can see it was there.
Morris Decals

Morris decals are the subject of an article I'm writing for Wooden Canoe. One problem in reproducing the decals is that we know very little about the Morris Company--- what we "know" is what has been deduced over the years, based on the canoes that have been found. The Old Town decals--- except for the very rare oldest one--- have been better-known because the company is still in business and there are hundreds of examples of Old Town canoes, with hundreds of intact decals... and we know the exact years of the various decal-types because the build records exist.

It's been harder to get a grasp on Morris decals because the company went up in flames 90 years ago. There are only about 200 canoes in the Morris database (more canoes exist, but nowhere near the number of Old Towns or Chestnuts). If a canoe company went out of business in the last twenty years, chances are we could do a nice job reproducing their decal... but few-- if any-- "nearly perfect" Morris decals exist.

Until recently (as in "the last couple months") I wasn't able to say with any degree of certainty where the break was between the older known version of the Morris decal and the newer known version. Now, we know it happened somewhere in the 10XXX serial numbers, or approximately 1912 (using our current dating theory). And until recently I didn't know a third version of the short-deck decal existed (for pre-1900 Morris canoes).

The WCHA is a volunteer-run organization, and the appearance of things like decals in the WCHA store happens because someone took the project on, the WCHA board voted to back the project, and the WCHA Store manager put in a lot of hours.

Ray Schell has been working on the Morris decals and has re-created replicas of two of the decals found on the short deck and one decal found on the coaming of long-decked Morrises. He hasn't been entirely happy with their appearance on mahogany... the gold color in the decal appears to be gold leaf in the original decals--- maybe it isn't, but that's how it looks to me...and that has been hard to get right, using a gold color-- it doesn't have the metallic look.

So, more tweaking may need to be done. Meanwhile, I will finish an article on the decals... with a warning that if anyone has an original decal-- even if it's in tough shape-- it should be saved rather than removed and replaced with a reproduction.

I'm hoping those with decals on their Morris will send me the wording on their decal, to verify the dates. I'm uploading the different versions.

#1 with "equipments" circa 1892-1900
#2 with "rowing" circa 1900-1912
#3 with "motor" circa 1912-1920

We haven't made version #1 yet and haven't copied the Veazie Canoe Co decal as there isn't a good enough specimen to copy. We may have to resort to an artist's interpretation.

So, eventually the decals will be available... with many thanks to Ray and to those who have given me information on their Morris canoes.



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Wow, I didn't realize that only 200 where in the data base. I assumed he had built more but with the factory burning, it was just all over after that.
I have it hanging in the garage but will take a picture of what's left of the decal for you.

I hope a good reproduction from my era is made.
Well I'm afraid it won't be much help. Do you know which type the needy morris had? Or from that series number.


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If the serial numbers on Morris canoes are sequential, then over 17,000 were made after they began to be numbered... and that isn't counting those produced in the 1890s. What's in the database are those belonging to WCHA members, or those that came to the attention of someone who knows about the database.

When these canoes were built, they were probably expected to last only a few summers. Initially, canoes weren't restored-- they were "fixed up" until they gave out, and then were chucked. So... while there aren't thousands upon thousands of Morris canoes around, there are possibly several hundred.