requesting information


Curious about Wooden Canoes
Hello, I have just inherited my great-grandfather's cedar strip canvas. From what I'm being told is that it is a old town. From the research I've done I believe it to be an 18' Otca, from the looks of the bow & stern decks. I have found a serial number on a brass plate attached to the stem. The number on it is 9482. Any information would be greatly appreciated, as I would like to find out the history and keep records. I have attached a photo of the Canoe in question. Thank you


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Old Town did not use brass plates on the stem for serial numbers so my guess is that you may have a Morris. The Old Town canoe with serial number 9482 is 17 feet long. Can you attach some pictures of the plate and stem? The pictures at and show some typical Morris stems with a brass serial number plate. Therer are no known existing serial number records available for the B. N. Morris Canoe Company unfortunately.

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Thank you very much. Would B.N. Morris canoe Company have made a canoe with the same sort of deck design and removable slat floor as Old town did with their Otca model, and what years would you say they would have? I will sent more pictures when I go to the shop where it is getting restored.
Kathy will find this thread tomorrow and will be able to fill you in on Morris details much more thouroughly than I will, but the year as best as current information suggests would be about 1911 for your canoe. Yes, B.N. Morris made canoes with long decks and removeable floor racks. The real tell tale sign is the stem with the brass tag. IF the stem is splayed, then its a splayed, It spreads out. If you search for Morris canoe on Youtube, you will find a video that Kathryn Klos (Kathy) made and you should be able to identify your canoe.

(Couldn't add a slight blush to the cheeks on that smiley-face)

Below are links to a couple YouTube videos which show aspects of a Morris canoe that can help you determine if this is what you have (seems very likely). The canoe in the video is a short decked model, but as Adam (tnyankee) said, Morris made long-decked canoes and floor racks were a standard part of the canoe-package.

In the video, I yak a bit about the B.N. Morris database and how helpful it has been to get information on the Morris canoes that still exist. So, your canoe will add to what we know... or think we know...

There should be a lot of Morris information in the archives here-- try putting "Morris" into the "search" function above.

A couple months ago, I wrote an article for the WCHA Journal "Wooden Canoe" which contains Morris information. The article was reprinted in the current issue of the journal of the Antique and Classic Boat Association's journal, "Rudder". If you'd like a copy of this, I'd need an email or snail-mail address. You can email me at

I just watched the Morris ID videos myself and realize I made them before we had the date of the Morris factory fire... December 15, 1919.
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Hello again, I greatly appreciate the answers. I was wondering if you would have any recommendations on the retorations of this canoe. Ie; certain canvas, paint color etc... The centre twart is missing, my father said it was broken, would there be a place that sells parts & accessories. Also, it has a metal (chrome looking) eye hole on the bow deck (and stern) the hole goings throught the deck and from what I can see leads to a ring attached to the stem. Would this be some sort of anchor system?
Pictures would help a great deal to give you the best answers possible.

There is a list of restorers on the home page of this website. Many people here have restored their own canoes, however, and if your canoe doesn't need much work and you'd like to tackle it yourself, there are many here who can help you through that. You may live near a WCHA member who would either restore your canoe for you or give you assistance... it's a friendly bunch!

Paint colors are up to you... Morris canoes look nice in a single-color but are also appropriate candidates for designs and several colors.

You may want to use the "search" function above to find discussions of canvas-- you'll get a thorough discussion-- more than I am capable of! If you hire someone to restore the canoe for you, he or she would have suggestions re canvas weight.

If you want a center thwart, it would have to be re-made... the only other option would be to find one that has been salvaged from a Morris of the same size. Those who restore usually re-create the missing parts.

If the eye hole on the deck is diamond-shaped, with a hole in the middle, that's a flag or pennant holder. Some people put a rope through there and attach it to a painter ring on the stem... but originally it was meant to hold a little flag, if I'm understanding what you are describing.

I was wondering, my great grandfather painted the inside of the canoe, grey. Would it be safe to use a paint remover on the canoe's interior or would this cause damage? I know this type of paint is really hard to remove and it is on there pretty thick. I will try to get get some pictures, next week when I go to where the canoe is.
With many layers of thick paint, you may find yourself needing to use a methaline chloride based paint stripper (like Zip Strip and others)-- so do the work outside. Stipping the inside of a canoe is like stripping any other wood... and is the sort of work we all wish someone else would do for us!

I should have mentioned that your Morris flag holders are likely nickel plated and not chrome... Morris metal parts, such as toggles that hold floor racks, are frequently nickel plated.
" At the shop ...."

I hope you do have the opportunity to strip the inside prior to the other restoration work about to/being preformed. It is possible to do the stripping after other work, but that is similar to ordering the TUX for after the wedding.
Look forward to the pics
Here are some pictures


Here are the pictures, that I said I would send. By the looks of the stem it does have the charteristics of a Morris Canoe as well as the mortised ribs. I am getting the interior paint removed before recanvasing. I will send more picture as the work progesses. Thanks again for your help.


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Yes, you have a Morris-- looks very nice. Are the decks 24"? The flag socket on the deck may be from another manufacturer, as Morris flag holders are diamond-shaped... but I will check the catalogs when I get home (am visiting family in Minneapolis).

The painter ring on the stem of the canoe behind the serial number plate is probably original with the canoe--- I think the same form can be found today, but it appears in the Morris catalogs and I've seen it on a number of Morris canoes, in that location.

Thanks for the pictures, and I look forward to more as the work on your canoe progresses!

More pictures on the Morris' progess

Here are some more pictures on the progess of My 18' Morris. As you can see the grey paint in the interior has come off quite nicely. Have only had to replace two planks as they were cracked and rebuild part of the stem due to being rotten. Will send more pictures when complete, can't wait to get it in the water.


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