Rushton Indian Girl outwales, one piece?


new owner of old Rushton
looking to see if someone or a few someones can give me an idea on the outwales of the canoe I am restoring. The outwales were off the boat when I started. I have some good descriptions on the shape from this forum. I am looking to see if the material I am considering using is correct. I saw in the Atwood Manley book that Grade A Indian Girls had cherry gunwales, and another mention of cherry on this forum. My Indian Girl is a 17 footer, so a piece of cherry that long has been difficult to find. I found some in Massachusettes and a log in Pennsylvania.

Wondering if there is a consensus on whether gunwales were typically one piece? Anyone seen a joint?

I am ready to go to some considerable time and expense to get the cherry that I have tracked down because I want to do it right because it was my grandfather's canoe, and just a neat old boat besides.

any insight would be appreciated.
I have never seen spliced rails on a Rushton.. also not on a Morris or any other well built period boat.
That said, I have only seen about 20 or so of these in the last 40 plus years and most of them were 16's.
Buy the will not regret it. If anything the extra effort will increase your pleasure in the finished work.

The spliced rails on my 14 foot Fox annoy the h*ll out of me. What a cheesy shortcut to take (on a 14 foot tub).
'nough said. now I can blame you when my wife asks why I am driving 8 hrs for one piece of wood.
I might suggest that you go directly to a logger telling him what you need - an 18 ft. log. You don't need it particularly large in diameter just long in length. Buy it from him directly at the site where it was cut and take it to the sawmill yourself even if you have to borrow a trailer. Traditionaly logs are cut to 8 ft or 16 ft to match industry standard. They are only cut longer for special order. Cherry grows nicely in Ohio. I would try that before I drove 8 hours.

Good luck,
Jim C.
Check with your local state or county forestry department. There is a "Service" or "County" or "Stewardship" forester who works for the state or university extension service in any region of the US. Our jobs are to promote good forest care. I suspect your local county forester would be very interested in helping connect you with a landowner or logger and sawmill for such a special project. It's great to use local resources in your community, especially if you don't have to burn a barrel of oil to get what you need.
Long Cherry for Rails

Look in the WCHA Classified Ads under Accessories. Dylan Schoezel has an ad for 20' long cherry stock - perhaps he can ship a good board to you, or you could pick up in Western Mass. Good Luck - I agree that spliced rails will not make you happy in the long run............Lew
Hey Chris

I am not familiar with the Shield of Shame. You mean post '06 inc? Explain. BTW, I don't have any shield at all for my 15' ig. Wouldn't mind finding one.
shield of shame

mine is an Inc. canoe. regardless, I will try for a full length piece if it all possible. As I read in the Atwood Manley book, many of the workers on the pre-Inc canoes were there at the end, too. And the son, Harry?, I think it said he was a good builder too, but not as good as a business man. You all can call it the badge of shame or whatever, but to me this boat was probably built on the same mold by the same guys with the same tools as the other Indian Girls. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

I'll do some more checking here locally for logs, but when there is a piece of cherry already cut, sorted, priced and ready to pick up, even with a bit of a drive, I can't see paying for a whole log, driving around to pick one out, driving to deliver it to the sawmill, pick it up, try to store and sell the, I think I'd have more investment, nearly as much fuel, and it would be just one more tree cut down. An 8 hour road trip with Dad to get the wood for his Dad's canoe...sounds fine to me.

thanks for all the input.
I would just love to have one regardless. Anyone out there willing to trade for a restorable BMW/2 motorcycle or maybe/5.
Guys, no harm meant with my comment about the "shield". I heard another member refer to it that way and thought it was kinda funny. Anyway, I have seen some different choice of "materials" on .inc Rustons. They are still awesome boats!:)

You know, just to play the devil's advocate about scarfing gunwales, there are plenty of old canoes with scarfed gunwales. Maybe you need full length material for a Rushton, but I have found scarfs on longer canoes including Old Towns and Chestnuts, Hurons, and some very old canoes. Finger joints or scarfs, still intact and doing their job just fine.

That being said, I walked by a cherry log in the Minuteman National Park today, 16 inches in diameter, 30 ft long and apparently left to rot. They are doing selective cutting and wholesale cutting of some areas with Obama bucks to return some areas of the park to a vista similar to what may have been seen in the 18th century. I don't know what is done with the wood.
Anyone out there willing to trade for a restorable BMW/2 motorcycle or maybe/5.

Jan, how restorable? I've done a few "restorable bikes", but I'm not going swimming.......:eek:


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Chris, I thought perhaps you were referring to later ones affectionately.
i had just never heard the term.
Jan, I've always wanted a BMW. I had a couple four three series but never had a motorcycle.
Minuteman 30 foot Cherry log


If that log at Minutemnan is straight and not full of knots and you can get your hands on it from the Park Service, cut it 20' 6" and haul it home. I will come down with the wood-mizer sawmill and we can make enough rails for all your future projects!!!!:D:D. If you don't have a trailer big enough to haul it call me and we can put it on my car hauling trailer & get-er-home.



I will take another look at it. At first glance, it looked straight and clear and I thought of this thread. They must have a contract with a tree service for the bulk of the work, because the logs have been removed from those areas. I am not sure of the reason for the cutting along the trail where the log is. Maybe they thinned trees overhanging the trail etc. Maybe the work is still in progress.

I suspect it would be difficult to get out of there. Nevermind the removal, the Park Service paperwork alone may be daunting..:D