• Happy National Letter Writing Day! 📝✉️📬

Couldn't Resist: 15' B.N. Morris Customized Reproduction by Rollin Thurlow in As-New Condition

Joined
Jun 3, 2015
Messages
1,805
Reaction score
1,186
Location
Anchorage Alaska / Pocono Mts.
Shucks, I try hard for puns or word plays sometimes ("before they formally tied the knot").

That particular photo was taken after the estate agent helped me put Morris on Mercedes and we were inside completing the financial transaction. I had brought exactly $2,000 in an envelope, anticipating I could negotiate down the $2,850/OBO asking price. The agent told me after my offer that his instructions were a $2,000 minimum, and he was happy to get rid of the big object so quickly. He had five other canoes and kayaks from the same estate.



I have extensions on my Thule van racks, but I don't know yet whether I have the strength to get this particular canoe up that high. My composite solo canoes are still manageable. The rack on the Mercedes is a car specific, elliptical, closed-end rack, which would not be amenable to extensions. If I can hoist the canoe onto my shoulders, which I haven't tried yet, I can easily get it onto the Mercedes racks by walking it sideways onto them.

However, I may have to use a one-end lift with the other end pivoting on the ground. That would be abusive for the nose and stems of this canoe. So your rug recommendation is a good one.



I'm going to look for some outdoor rug scraps today and also some foam pipe insulation for my van's Thule bars. The polished mahogany rails on this canoe are more elegant than any furniture I own.
If there's a will, there's a way, I think you'll get it figured out. Maybe some kind of simple Z drag pulley on one or both rack extensions to hoist the boat up so there will be less lifting. I'd be willing to drive up to 2 hours or so to meet up for a daytrip and help with the boat if needed. I'm near Scranton, where in Ct. are you? Maybe there is a good spot about half way.

I don't have mahogany rails on any of my boats, but I've also thought that my EM White, besides being the cleanest thing I own, feels like a fine piece of furniture. One evening last week I turned it into a Lazyboy recliner for some laid back stargazing and thought of posting about it. I also thought of posting about what happens when you doze off in such a setup and get rammed by a beaver, or so I thought.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Dec 24, 2020
Messages
54
Reaction score
39
Location
Park City, UT
We have also experienced drought related problems with river/lake water access here in the west. I have had good luck using the little two wheel cart which I had purchased years ago to transport my sea kayak. It straps onto the stern of any of my canoes (solo or tandem) and lets me pull them down the long concrete ramps or over rocky dry lakebed 100’s of yards to the water. I don’t take it off until the canoe is fully afloat- no scratches or potential falls. I have used it with my newly acquired FG Mad River Indy and gotten in a lot more paddling than I would have without it. This is a pretty cheap aid for us old solo paddlers. I concur with Al re a rack extender and rug scrap protection for the boat and vehicle. I use them with my Tundra pickup, when I don’t just use the bed and its extender for short trips. Good luck getting the Morris on the water-looks great!
 

Glenn MacGrady

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Oct 24, 2012
Messages
3,254
Reaction score
1,448
Location
Connecticut
The oldest known remaining B.N. Morris canoe is a 15 footer, perhaps the No. 62 Special Indian Model. It was made around 1890 or even earlier, found in the Michigan UP in 2011, and restored by David Osborne and Ferdy Goode in 2015.

Earliest known Morris canoe.jpg

I've been corresponding with Rollin Thurlow and have learned several interesting details about my canoe, and have just asked him today if the canoe he took the lines from at the Adirondack Museum might also have been a No. 62 Special Indian Model.
 
Joined
Oct 6, 2014
Messages
638
Reaction score
130
Location
Long Island NY
Beauty, I try to stay off Craig’s list these day for the good reason of seeing something that “I want” and don’t need. Plus I’m relocating soon probably out west and not to sure about paddling locations.
Enjoy. Maybe you can show it off at a gathering in NY soon. Enjoy paddling.
 
Joined
Sep 25, 2021
Messages
47
Reaction score
29
Location
Newtown, Connecticut
I'm glad this canoe went to you, Glenn...I was pestering the dealer for all kinds of details on it as it was too good to be true, and not far from where I live...but I let go of the obsession and am glad it's now in your hands. Anytime you want to meet on the Housatonic or Lillinonah, let me know...
 
Joined
Sep 2, 2011
Messages
7,001
Reaction score
986
Location
Raymond, ME
I'm glad this canoe went to you, Glenn...I was pestering the dealer for all kinds of details on it as it was too good to be true, and not far from where I live...but I let go of the obsession and am glad it's now in your hands. Anytime you want to meet on the Housatonic or Lillinonah, let me know...
and the color looks similar to your Nakoma!
 

Glenn MacGrady

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Oct 24, 2012
Messages
3,254
Reaction score
1,448
Location
Connecticut
Rollin Thurlow sent me an an 8 page annotated photo album of the building of my canoe, which is attached below as a PDF. The first two pages are photos of how he generally builds all canoes. Pages 3-8 are photos specifically of the build of my canoe.

Apparently I am the third owner. Rollin originally built the canoe, the fourth or fifth 15' Morris he ever built, for Dennis and Vaughn Gantt in 2007, who apparently sold it to David Niles at some later date (who had a different brass ID plate made for the deck), whose estate agent sold it to me after Niles moved out of state.

The Gantts wanted wanted the canoe built 1 or 2 inches deeper than the Rollin's previous ones. I measure it at about 13.3" to the top of the planks, which would make it about 13.5" to the bottom of the planks.

The album confirms the gunwales, decks, thwarts, rub rails and seat frames are all mahogany, the ribs and splayed inside stems are white cedar, the planks are red cedar, and the outside stems and keel are white oak. The exact paints used are recorded. There are good pictures of the custom carry yoke.

As a kneeler, I find the solo seat too high for me with 1 inch spacers, so Rollin is sending me 2 inch silicon-bronze spacers and 4 inch bolts to lower the seat one inch. I'm concerned that still won't lower the seat enough for my preference. But the longest length 3/16" bolts he has are 4". We'll see if that seat height works for me when the hardware arrives.

Meanwhile, I've tried three different canoe carts to roll the canoe around, but two didn't work properly for different reasons. I finally found an expensive one that does. I also bought an inexpensive 3' x 6' outdoor rug per suggestions above. I'll take some pictures of all this, and finally paddle the canoe, when I make the seat adjustments and practice some canoe lifts at home. Meanwhile, some of you w/c admirers might find the attached annotated album of interest.
 

Attachments

  • Gantt- 15' Morris.pdf
    14.2 MB · Views: 30
Joined
Jun 3, 2015
Messages
1,805
Reaction score
1,186
Location
Anchorage Alaska / Pocono Mts.
FWIW when I got my 20' boat I spent more than a few days just lifting the boat to my thigh and getting a feel for the weight and balance before I had the confidence to throw it up over my head. I also found it easier to flip the boat up from my thigh if it was 90 degrees from the lying on the ground position. In other words, I only had to flip it 90 degrees from my thigh to get it over my head, rather than the typical 180 that I was able to do with my other boats. After a couple seasons lifting it I don't feel intimidated by it anymore. That being said, even though everything goes right, it doesn't guarantee I don't feel a tweak in my back.
 

Glenn MacGrady

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Oct 24, 2012
Messages
3,254
Reaction score
1,448
Location
Connecticut
I'm glad this canoe went to you, Glenn...I was pestering the dealer for all kinds of details on it as it was too good to be true, and not far from where I live...but I let go of the obsession and am glad it's now in your hands.

Well, you got the 15' solo traveling and tripping wood/fabric canoe I originally wanted—the Tom MacKenzie Loon Works Mistral from the WCHA guy in Houston. But cheapo me didn't want to pay the shipping cost and likely some fix-up costs.

Have you paddled out of the Lake Lillinonah Pond Brook boat launch and up the Shepaug River?
 
Joined
Sep 25, 2021
Messages
47
Reaction score
29
Location
Newtown, Connecticut
and the color looks similar to your Nakoma!
Well, you got the 15' solo traveling and tripping wood/fabric canoe I originally wanted—the Tom MacKenzie Loon Works Mistral from the WCHA guy in Houston. But cheapo me didn't want to pay the shipping cost and likely some fix-up costs.

Have you paddled out of the Lake Lillinonah Pond Brook boat launch and up the Shepaug River?
Yes, the Mistral was indeed an investment, but so worth it... Happy to have you take her for a spin! I launch out of Pond Brook all the time - was just there on Tuesday...and my profile banner photo is of the rocks at the top of Shepaug up in Roxbury... Hope you are enjoying your Morris...that is one gorgeous canoe indeed...
 
Joined
Aug 29, 2017
Messages
1,215
Reaction score
634
Location
Gaithersburg, MD
Handsome canoe! It deserves to be see water even if it means picking up some scratches along the way.
 
Joined
Jun 12, 2012
Messages
4,046
Reaction score
1,933
Location
Appleton, Maine
Well, you got the 15' solo traveling and tripping wood/fabric canoe….

Do people really do canoe trips with Dacron covered canoes? I can’t picture one being dragged over a beaver dam or hitting submerged rocks when loaded during a canoe trip.
I’d like to see a trip report with pics of one being put threw the paces on a real canoe trip.
 
Joined
Sep 25, 2021
Messages
47
Reaction score
29
Location
Newtown, Connecticut
Do people really do canoe trips with Dacron covered canoes? I can’t picture one being dragged over a beaver dam or hitting submerged rocks when loaded during a canoe trip.
I’d like to see a trip report with pics of one being put threw the paces on a real canoe trip.
Yellowcanoe may have more to say about this based on her extensive experience with Wood and Dacron Loon Works canoes…However, after hearing her story of one of her Loon Works falling off a moving vehicle and tumbling on the road with no more than mere surface scratches (she can fill in missing details), I was determined to put my Loon Works Mistral (built as an intended solo wood and Dacron 15’ tripping canoe) to the test on a 3 day trip in the St. Regis area of Long Pond last week. This wasn’t a serious wilderness expedition, but I did bump into various rocks, pulled into a handful of different campsites and brought my boat up on various ledges where there were plenty of roots and branches and rocks to interact with. I let go of my worry about preserving the paint job and revarnishing it just had and relaxed into the amazing experience there…
When I brought it home and washed it down, there was one small scratch on the hull that could use a little touch up paint over it, and a few scratches on the wood gunwales, but the Dacron is well intact and strong. As a material made for aircraft I would imagine it has to have some more strength to it than some others may think…
However I have given thought to maybe adding the graphite epoxy coating to the bottom as Alex Comb offers on some of his Stewart River canoes…in my mind that would be ideal insurance protection…
 
Last edited:

Glenn MacGrady

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Oct 24, 2012
Messages
3,254
Reaction score
1,448
Location
Connecticut
Do people really do canoe trips with Dacron covered canoes?

As Lowangle Al has mentioned, Waterdog has posted extensively about his whitewater and Adirondack trips in his wood-Dacron Stewart River Prospector, which has an epoxy-graphite bottom treatment as discussed in detail in this thread:


I was determined to put my Loon Works Mistral (built as an intended solo wood and Dacron 15’ tripping canoe) to the test on a 3 day trip in the St. Regis area of Long Lake last week.

Brightraven, are you sure your Tom MacKenzie Mistral is Dacron? If you bought the Mistral owned by John Kidd on the WCHA classifieds, here is what he emailed me about his Mistral on January 6, 2021:

Hi Glenn,
Tom asked if I wanted canvas or dacron during the build; as I recall , dacron was relatively new and unproven and we chose the traditional canvas. I believe the weight is in the 40 lb range, I don’t recall the exact figure.
Regards,
John Kidd
 
Joined
Sep 25, 2021
Messages
47
Reaction score
29
Location
Newtown, Connecticut
As Lowangle Al has mentioned, Waterdog has posted extensively about his whitewater and Adirondack trips in his wood-Dacron Stewart River Prospector, which has an epoxy-graphite bottom treatment as discussed in detail in this thread:




Brightraven, are you sure your Tom MacKenzie Mistral is Dacron? If you bought the Mistral owned by John Kidd on the WCHA classifieds, here is what he emailed me about his Mistral on January 6, 2021:

Hi Glenn,
Tom asked if I wanted canvas or dacron during the build; as I recall , dacron was relatively new and unproven and we chose the traditional canvas. I believe the weight is in the 40 lb range, I don’t recall the exact figure.
Regards,
John Kidd
Hi Glenn,
I purchased the Loon Works Mistral from Jerry Williams in San Antonio, and am quite sure it is Dacron. He was the second owner of it and I believe it was built in ‘92. At 43 pounds, it has the lightness and feel of Dacron which is very different from the feel of my canvas-built Island Falls… I don’t intend to disagree with the other Mistral owner about his boat, but I am curious how a 15’ wood-canvas hull could weigh around 40lbs…that seems a bit light to me…?
 

Glenn MacGrady

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Oct 24, 2012
Messages
3,254
Reaction score
1,448
Location
Connecticut
Hi Glenn,
I purchased the Loon Works Mistral from Jerry Williams in San Antonio, and am quite sure it is Dacron. He was the second owner of it and I believe it was built in ‘92. At 43 pounds, it has the lightness and feel of Dacron which is very different from the feel of my canvas-built Island Falls… I don’t intend to disagree with the other Mistral owner about his boat, but I am curious how a 15’ wood-canvas hull could weigh around 40lbs…that seems a bit light to me…?

Looking back at my emails and saved ads, I now realize there were two different Mistrals from Texas listed on the WCHA classifieds over the past two years, one by John Kidd and the one you bought from Williams. I have a copy of the WCHA ad of the light blue Mistral you bought, and indeed it says Dacron and second owner. (Jerry Williams emailed me that his Mistral was "around 35 pounds.") I also have a copy of the FB ad for your Nakoma (I think) when Charlie Wilson was selling it for Jackie Pepe.

I'd say it's highly unlikely that a wood-canvas canoe could be lighter than the same canoe in wood-Dacron, unless there was some huge difference in the wood weights. I recall losing interest in the Kidd Mistral when he said it was canvas and being a bit suspicious about his ambiguous response about weight.

Alex Comb of Stewart River has told me he is now moving away from Dacron and using a poly/cotton blend fabric that is heavier than Dacron but lighter than #10 canvas.
 
Joined
Sep 2, 2011
Messages
7,001
Reaction score
986
Location
Raymond, ME
Do people really do canoe trips with Dacron covered canoes? I can’t picture one being dragged over a beaver dam or hitting submerged rocks when loaded during a canoe trip.
I’d like to see a trip report with pics of one being put threw the paces on a real canoe trip.
You might correspond with Pam Wedd of Bearwood Canoes just outside of Parry Sound ON. Her worksmanship allows the use of Dacron ( requires exquisite fairing of the hull to avoid telegraphing of wood seams). She builds with thicker planks and ribs: her customers are trippers. Dacron does not rip easily ( I have a little experience with this trying to trim it with scissors)and resists abrasion ( another experience this time involving stupidly forgetting to tie down the canoe and launching it onto NY State Routs 86 at 40 mph.) Fragility depends on the thickness of the wood underlayment though I would think canvas would provide a cushion that Dacron does not.
Tom built for the folks needing a lighter canoe; mostly day trippers. Of course there were trade offs but the covering material was not the determining factor in trade offs. His planking and ribs were thinner.
It really is worthwhile having a chat with Pam.. She is one of the unsung traditional canoe builders embracing new materials where appropriate, without sacrificing the durability needed for the situations you describe.
 
Top