would like to ID this canoe. Title says Rushton


new owner of old Rushton
started working on my grandfather's old canoe. it is about 16' 1" from tip to tip of the decks. about 32" or so wide. title calls it 17' Rushton, year unknown. I took a bunch of pics but could only upload 6. let me know if you need a particular pic or angle to help. its been in the family since at least the early 40's. according to Dad, Grandpa was not likely to buy anything new, so it was probably well used when bought. has serial number #5182. has an "A" and "F" on the underside of the "thwarts"?. Looks like on the underside there are also 3 holes and the outline of a round object. I know nothing about canoes, so I am looking to get a good ID on the canoe before Dad and I decide on the level of effort and money we put into it. any help is greatly appreciated.


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more pics...

here are some more pics.


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okay now it is as clear as mud...:)

looks like a lot more research to be done to determine the approximate year and correct parts and pieces. Anyone like to confirm that is a Rushton Indian Girl?
I was afraid ya'll we're going to tell me it is in fact a Rushton...now I think it may be worthy of some extra effort, and a lot of paint stripper....I'll be discussing with Dad and will start a new thread under the proper heading when we are ready to start tackling this project. so far I have identified 3 steps to this project:

step 1: identify canoe
step 2: fix canoe
step 3: go canoeing

I think I will need some help with step 2!!!
You're lucky to have a canoe with family history... most of us buy someone else's canoe, and adopt its history.

Fred Capanos is a few clicks ahead of you in his Indian Girl restoration, so I'd read his posts too... for instance, once you get the boat stripped, you may find the JH Rushton name stamped somewhere and that can help determine the time-frame. I'll look through the catalogs, but I seem to recall the later IGs had the half-ribs like yours... at least that's my memory of the catalog images. Have to run to town and will look into that later.

A "late" IG is still pre-1920-- all Rushtons are old canoes, and as you've no-doubt determined, Rushtons are desirable.

I'd highly recommend Adney's book, "Rushton and His Times in American Canoeing". And for restoration, you want to read Stelmok and Thurlow's "Wood and Canvas Canoe". The Adney book gives a lot of history and is one that will provide you an understanding of how cool it is to have a Rushton boat of any kind. The Stelmok/Thurlow book gives canoe history and building/restoration information. And any questions are answered in these Forums by those who have worked through the stuff you are facing.

Cute picture of the little girl. Another generation to enjoy the canoe, I presume.

As is noted by Kathryn, the half ribs are correct and an identifier.
But, the thwarts seem odd.
They lack the shaping and refinement that I am accustomed to seeing in IG's.
I need to compare the SN to mine to see if this is an in between transition canoe or a real late one.
Anyway, it's an interesting canoe with "provenance" and very restorable. One more survivor...
Rushton thwarts tended to become more exaggerated as time went on - see for example this page from a circa 1915 J.W. (Judd) Rushton catalog.

The "A" and "F' stamped on the underside may simply be "fore" and "aft" to keep them straight, as the bolt holes may not line up if swapped.


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It's nice that experts participate in this forum.

What year is Neeneemoosha? If I recall, the thwart on that canoe is quite sculpted. Is canoe that an Inc? I remember that it does have the brass deck emblem.

Does your version 2 CD cover the differences between the various production years? Do we know what year the IG's started sporting a decal or what the transition years were for thwarts etc?

Is there a Kathryn out there that is collecting these facts about Rushton canoes and if so, who is it and has anything significant been published about JH's canoes since Atwood's book?
I don't have all of the issues of Wooden Canoe. Was there ever an article about the IG's?

OK, done. Too many questions...interesting topic.
Gil, open gunwales were first offered by Rushton in 1913.


Lot's of questions! Neenemoosha is a Rushton, Inc. canoe. We have several other Indian Girls in the collection, including a B grade or Navahoe (I have to check its vintage), an IG from the pre-Inc era with bar thwarts, and a 15' IG that has no thwarts.

The Version 2 CD has at present 9 catalogs. For 1902 is the four page flyer announcing the new canvas canoes, 1902, 1907 and ca1915 show the IGs (1908 does not - it was apparently a separate catalog). The Museum has a 1904, 1911 IG, 1913 1-page flyer, and another (maybe 1912) that I need to scan yet.

Here are deck markings as we've worked them out so far:

Filigreed rectangular casting: early
Stamped rectangular plaque: 1893-1894
Round 1895-1902
Brand ->
Shield (JHR Inc.) 1905->
Water transfer decal on sliding seat of Vesper in Maine 1916

In addition, a 1902 advertisement emphasizes that "Rushton" is stamped on the stem band.

Who is collecting info? I have been for a number of years, but have been concentrating more on all-wood canoes and decked sailing canoes. Forum member Ray Schell was collecting info, and I presume still is. I believe Michael Grace is too. Nothing significant has been published since Manley. He did a pretty good job, too. Again, I don't think anything has been in Wooden Canoe regarding IGs specifically.

so I scanned in the pic I have of gandma and granpa in he canoe. dated 1939. one of my favorite pics. my inspiration to get this canoe back in top form.


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Great information and interesting.
The all wood Rushton's are certainly more alluring. That said, there are enough of the "poor mans" Rushton around to make me think that an article in an upcoming (within the next 10 or so) years would be well received and useful. These old girls are now closing on 100 years plus.
Seems like a good project for someone.......

The deck of my 16 foot IG has the remains of a water transfer decal.
I always assumed it was built around 1914/15 or so. Atwood thought that seemed right but who knows?

Sorry about that extra e.


okay I ordered the Rushton and his times book...hopefully it will help steer me in the right direction to keep the canoe as correct as possible. I have some questions, though and maybe I can get them answered while I am waiting (somewhat patiently) for the book to arrive.

its currently covered with fiberglass. I am assuming that this was a later repair and that the canoe was originally covered with canvas??

the interior is painted. what's the best method for stripping?

I measured about 16' from tip to tip of the decks, but the title says 17'. what's the correct way to measure and ID a canoe?

For the decks, one is cracked and will need replaced, will losing the original dimenish the value of the canoe or does anyone really care if a deck is original or replaced?

for the seats, where can I get info on the correct webbing? was the stern seat originally hung like that or was that added?

does anyone know the correct profile of the exterior trim (gunwales??) they were off the canoe many years ago...

in general, I would like to put this canoe back to a correct condition if possible and I don't want to do anything to accidentally devalue it, but if there is no "correct" answer, I am willing to do practical and economical.

any help for a "canewbie" would be very much appreciated!!!!
You have a lot of good questions... I can give my opinion on some, although haven't restored a canoe myself.

As I understand it, JH Rushton was a wooden boat builder but succumbed to the canvas canoe craze at the encouragement of his son. Most Rushton boats are all-wood. I believe there were some canvas Indians, but all Indian Girls and American Beauties were wood/canvas.

Fiberglass isn't a good idea for a canoe that was built to be canvas-covered. There are several discussions about this... and about removal... and a good place to start is to use the "search" function above and see what comes up. A bad glassing-job equals more smiles for you and your dad. A good glassing-job puts you on the same pedestal as Howard (you'll run into his posts using "search"!).

Use "search" to investigate stripping the interior too... but I believe the consensus is "if you can job it out, do that". Otherwise, think in terms of brain damage versus a great interior (most of us would give up a few brain cells for a great canoe). But if you can do the work outside, you may save your brain.

One way to measure a canoe is to take two sticks or boards, and have someone hold one vertically against the bow-end and someone else hold one vertically against the stern-end (holding as plumb as possible) while you measure between them.

Your next question is one of those "opinion" things... you ask, "For the decks, one is cracked and will need replaced, will losing the original dimenish the value of the canoe or does anyone really care if a deck is original or replaced?"

An antique canoe will have its best "value" (that word is loaded) if all parts are original and there is no damage. So, as a canoe departs from "perfect condition", so does "value" to collectors. However, yours is a family canoe, and as such has value only your family can attach to it.

My personal opinion regarding decks is this: with short decks, I prefer the original one on the canoe even if it has a few problems... but if only half is there-- if damage makes it appear entirely different from the way it's supposed to look-- then a well-executed reproduction fills the bill. One good deck can serve as a template for one needing replacement.

Look at it this way: when you're in a canoe, where do your eyes fall? Much of the time, I find my eyes on the deck of the canoe... well, I paddle up front. I like to think of the others who looked at that same deck. And in the case of your canoe, it would be your relatives who looked at the canoe's deck. So, it's rather cool, knowing your grandfather had his eyes on that same place, half a century ago.

Seat caning: use the traditional 7-step pattern on the seats of an IG... you can find the instructions on line or in several different books. Cane is available on line. I get it from the H.H. Perkins company. Again, using "search" should bring up some inspirational past discussions.

I won't answer the seat-hanging question because Dan or Michael or someone who really knows the answer should handle that one.

Your canoe has open gunwales, I believe, and ours doesn't. I believe the outwale is wider than the inwale and tapers toward the bow and stern, and the outside edge is rounded, but someone who really knows the dimensions, etc., will have to answer this.

Your questions indicate that you are taking care to bring the ol' girl back as well as anyone could... hope some of this helps!

well, removed a couple layers of paint to look for any Rushton stamps. Found the stamps on the bow and stern. "J H RUSHTON INC", "CANTON NY", and the "5 1 8 2" that matches the serial number found on the title. Dad says he sees a "1 7" which I really can't make out the 7. would match the 17 foot on the title. we also think the bow deck may be a replacement.

So a 17' Rushton Indian Girl, somewhere between 1906 and 1917?

and now looking for somebody to professionally strip the paint in central ohio. any suggestions?

based on a recommendation here, I called a guy who has some experience stripping canoes. He wants $510 for stripping a 17 footer with 2 layers of paint. sounds a little steep, but maybe worth it. since I haven't been able to track down anyone else close by, and I have friends up north that I want to visit anyway, its probably worth the drive and money to have it done by someone who can make a good, quick job of it.

for this type of job, does the price sound about right?
need planking material

now that I have the Rushton back from the stripper, it is time to replace the broken planks. To clarify, they were broken before we sent the canoe there. I used a stripper recommended on this forum and am very pleased. Cost was within the estimate and very pleasant to deal with. Worth the drive. anyway...need white cedar planking in central ohio, or suitable substitute. suggestions welcome.

I will post pics of the stripped canoe soon, the garage is too full with the Post Christmas Chaos to mess with right now.

Also, as the outer gunwales weren't on the boat when we started, I have no idea what shape/material/dimensions these should be. Anyone have a good profile/guideline to use? Correct material?

oh, and I ordered the Rushton and His Times book...got it for $3 used. Only problem is I forgot to change my amazon shipping address since my deployment. So now some bedouin in the Kuwaiti desert is wondering what to do with a book about canoes, LOL!!!
update on Rushton

finally added some more pics.

progress has been slow. took me a long time to find some white cedar here in Ohio. finally found some Atlantic White Cedar, 2.5 hours away. So 5 hours and $170 later, I had enough wood to make planks. Found some beautiful cedar flitches from a place called Keim Lumber in the heart of Amish country in central ohio. They have an "Exotic Wood" room inside their showroom with some of the most expensive and beautiful woods from around the world. truely worth the drive and the money. http://www.keimlumber.com/exoticwoods

successfully milled my own planks, enough to fill in about 20 lf of broken/rotten planks. lumber is a little lighter in color than original. Hoping some age will darken it, and with the right finish it will be hard to tell the replacement planks from the original.

need to get maybe 100 brass tacks to apply new planking, and a clinching iron or suitable substitute. anyone got one for sale or rent, and a handful of tacks?

also, still no luck on gunwales. looking for pics/dimensions of the gunwales and trim pieces. I have plenty of cedar left to make them, or if originally they were made with something else I'll go get the right material. Just need an idea of the shape as they weren't on the canoe. anyone with a similar model? absent a correct profile shape, I'll just make something up, which is not what I prefer.

more to follow for those interested...



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