New BN Morris Search

Al Newcomb

Curious about Wooden Canoes

I recently came upon this great find of a 17' Morris with a sailing rig.
Serial Number 11862 with Mahogany Decks, Thwarts and Seat Frames. Center Thwart is intact.
Upon inspection I counted 3 canted ribs and the obvious floor racks.
Looking for one (1) floor rack lock
It also has a fainted decal and a flag holder hole.
Sailing rig needs daggarboards and a tiller
Did add-on sailing rigs come with Morris canoes? Is this original to this canoe?
Interior stain is a guess light or dark? You tell me.
Any info would be appreciated.
Photos included.
Morris did offer sailing rigs as shown in the page below from his 1919 catalog.



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Hi, Al-- Sounds like a great find. I've added your information to the database. I believe Scott of Skywoods Canoe still has his 12XXX Morris with original sail rig, if you need to contact someone to verify if what you have matches original Morris rigging.

Some of the 11 and 12-thousand series canoes have a serial number plate placed with the shorter end parallel to the splay of the stem... this isn't a big, important detail but simply a curiosity... perhaps some worker making his mark. Let me know if your canoe has the s/n plate oriented this way.

Thanks for the info

Thank You Benson and Thank You Kathryn.
The photo from the catalog looks like what I have.
Let me try those photos again.
Thanks Again,
Sorry I'm struggling with the photos being too big a file.
I'll keep trying.

To answer your question about stain, Morris did stain canoes but after all of the years of oxidation and other possible insults, there is no way to know what that stain looked like originally. Over the years, people have attempted to replicate the Morris stain, but given the fact that we can't know what it looked like originally and any stain muddies up the beauty of that aged wood's patina, I personally avoid stain except to match new wood to old. This isn't aimed at any particular person or canoe, but I personally have never seen a stained canoe that looked nearly as beautiful as an unstained one. The wood simply looks muddy; the character of the aged wood and its grain are obscured. What you do is up to you, of course, but I wouldn't dare stain a beautiful old canoe.

That said, Morris canoes suffer from mismatched mahogany- either multiple species or sapwood and heartwood are often mixed in Morris canoes, and often right next to each other such as different parts of a single seat frame. Morris is generally know for quality work, but this doesn't represent the height of quality. I've often thought that perhaps Morris stained to get away with mixed wood, or else he got away with this because he stained. You could use dyes (not pigment stains which will muddy wood and highlight the open grain of mahogany terribly) to even out the different woods if you wish, but staining the whole canoe? Not for me.

Thank you Michael.
I totally agree. I just love the patina of old wood that's been aged and seasoned over the years. It almost reaches your soul.
But I'm still puzzled that no one has thrown out a date approx that this canoe was made. Still trying to get the photos to upload.

There are no Morris ledger books known to still exist, but general consensus is that 1st 2 digits of the serial number +2 = year of manufacture. This would mean your 11862 was built about 1913. It is clear that this system breaks down dramatically after the Morris factory burned, and it is completely unclear whether this system is really accurate. Even so, it gives what is probably a reasonable estimate.

I feel honored to own this beauty that's almost 100 years old. I think that's pretty cool.
Thank you so much for all your help.
Happy Paddling,
Morris Sail rig

I have a 17' Long deck Morris that is serial #13900 and it came with a complete sail rig. Morris did not use a tiller.

I don't have pictures of anything but the mast step at the moment, but attached is the catalog picture from Dan's CD showing the components. I have #5,6,11 and two 12's. I have the sail also.

Al you need to reduce the size of your pictures and add them one at a time.

Good luck,



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Paul's post reminds me that there are at least three types of decal on Morris canoes... one like that on Paul's boat, one saying "canvas paddling and rowing" [canoes], and one saying "canvas paddling and motor". Al, I hope this helps you determine which decal your canoe is sporting!

Greetings Kathy

With all the help you recently cave me in researching the Old Town 1929 OTCA and 1933 Yankee canoes, I am determined to get these Morris photos to you as promised for your database. Please send me an email since the files will not load here.
Big Al Newcomb
Thanks Paul

Thanks Paul for you're suggestions.
Looking at the original catalog I have # 6,23,11,13,10,27,28,21,20
I've also forwarded the many photos of this 17' Morris to Kathy for the database.
Al Newcombqa