Odd ball Morris

Rollin Thurlow

member since 1980
Here's one for the Morris fans. This old Morris looks like a Tuscarora model, 1915 to 1920. The factory had installed the standard deck but then changed it into a full deck, type three model. They left the Tuscarora deck in place and just added the extended deck framing around it.
Maybe the fwd seat was already in it because the fwd seat is only about 20 inches from the deck. Hardly room enough for a child to fit on the seat. an adult couldn't even get their knees between the seat and the deck coaming!
The number tag is nailed on the left side of the fwd seat. I do not recall seeing a Morris tag in that position before. The tag and seat certainly appear to be in their original condition.


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Yay-- another one for the database... Thanks, Rollin. We've now had THREE additions to the Morris database this week.

When I say we learn something from every canoe, it's certainly true-- or at least we have more to speculate about. This is the SECOND Morris to come into the database with a s/n plate on the bow seat. The other canoe is #16839, and it's an A3... dunno if there's a short deck under the long one, but that will now be another question to ask.

I'd thought 16839 was an oddball... but now that there are two, we have a trend! And I thought they'd become really clever when they moved the plate from the inwale to the stem, because the stem seems less likely to disappear from the canoe (taking the plate with it) than the inwale. So, we now have a couple on seat frames... a spot more likely to disappear than an inwale! The only other truly oddball place for a Morris s/n that I know about is one that was spotted on a thwart--- and it's recessed into the thwart, in a manner that appears original.

We know (from the database canoes) that some of the canoes in the 11XXX-13XXX series have a s/n plate that's oriented with the short side parallel to the splay of the stem, rather than the longer side. My thought is that some worker "made his mark" in this way, and perhaps this is true of the canoes with s/n plates on the seat frame.

It seems likely the s/n plates were put on after the interior of the canoe was varnished... so, fairly close to the completion of the canoe. Maybe someone thought it was more convenient to have the s/n on the seat than way up under a long deck? There are three other long-deck Morrises in the 16XXX-series with the plate on the stem, however.

This canoe also appears to have the "light" interior.

No Leg Room

Hi Rollin:

I have asked the question about some Morris canoes and no leg room before. Benson suggested that the seat was probably installed with courting in mind and that a young lady might sit there facing her beau paddler in the stern or that she could sit in the bilge with a seat back against the seat. That seemed to be the best explanation to me.


Rollin Morris

May be too early in the morning for me.............but I think I need a SAWS-ALL
to be more competent in my canoe work. Oh, Boy !!
I knew for sure when Rollin posted his Morris thread that Kathy would very soon be "batting her eyelashes"!!! Al
This canoe also appears to have open gunwales not the mortised rib tops more often encountered with Morris canoes. Are open gunwales the norm for this model?

I don't have my Morris catalog disk with me, so can't say for certain whether open gunwales were standard. In general, open gunwales aren't common on the Morris. The Tuscarora was designed as a racing canoe and made as lightweight as possible (for a canoe of 17 or 18 feet) so it would make sense, perhaps, to open the gunwales unless the heavier inwales and outwales on an open gunwale canoe would be the same weight as closed spruce gunwales. I'll check on that... unless someone with access to the catalogs wants to jump in. The Tuscarora only appears in the last couple catalogs.

Here is the picture to show the proper use of a sawsall for canoe work!
Peter is cutting out the deck framing which was fastened with something like steel 16d nails that were very corroaded. The inwale is being replaced so we were not worried about damaging the rail, otherwise we might of used something a bit more refined, like hacksaw blade by hand. We were looking for an excuse to use our new cordless sawsall which is really why its being used!

Most of the boat is of the standard Morris construction style. The inside rails were very narrow and that is the only thing about the boat that would be considered "light".


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Kathy , the Morris 16839 is supposed to be showing up at my shop tomorrow and I'm pretty sure it has a short deck under the long. I'll let you know . Dave
This is a bit off topic but it dawns on me that my long deck Indian Girl has the long deck framing structured over the standard short deck. It makes sense. You could build up a relatively standard canoe using the short decks and trick it out with long decks if someone wanted them.
I'll need to take a look at my Veazie to see how those long decks are installed. I believe it's done just like this...
OK, got the ok from the owner to work on the Morris, thanks John. Yes it has the short decks under the long decks. and 20 inches from deck to bow seat and number tag on the seat frame. I'll get a photo up when I get a chance.
[Never thought of mine being odd ball. It is what it is. Unfortunately I don't have a serial number.

Pic. 1. Forward added deck frame for the 36 inch forward deck, added to the existing deck (breasthook). Excuse the C clamps holding the curve of the outwales. When taking the boat apart, the framing construction didn't seem to be the same quality of construction as the rest of the canoe. Might have been added later.

Pic. 2. The book-matched mahogany 36 inch forward deck panels and center battens.

Pic. 3. Aft added deck frame for the 24 inch aft deck. Similarly added to the existing deck.

Pic. 4. The book-matched mahogany 24 inch aft deck panels.


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So finally got around to finishing up Morris #16839. Epifanes Matte and Kirby paint. I think she's an A3 like Kathryn said. Just have to put the stem bands on and touch up varnish. Took a while to get that delicate trim back on the top and sides of the gunwales. Breaks very easily. No fun. Serial number plate is on the seat also. IMG_4630.JPG IMG_4633.JPG