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

I know David Niles but didn't know he moved. He loved wooden canoes and also loved his composite RapidFire.
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.
David carved an Aleut double blade for me some years ago. It is a wickedly powerful paddle.
 
Dacron does not rip easily

I should hope not. Also called ceconite, it's been used since the 1950's to build airplanes. In a nutshell, for airplanes:

"It's stronger than Grade A cotton or linen
It's far more durable than either
It weathers better and longer than either
It's easier to use and repair
Shrinking is predictable and repeatable."

For rib & plank canoes, it soaks up and retains hardly any water—unlike canvas, which can gain several pounds of water on a wet trip.

Nonetheless, most owners of Loon Works canoes I know use them primarily as lightweight day paddling canoes, not as remote wilderness tripping canoes. Perhaps that's because, as YC says, the woodwork is usually relatively thin to achieve the important goal of light weight. I've never had the pleasure of actually seeing one of Pam Wedd's canoes.

I believe my Morris could take really some really hard bottom knocks with its half ribs and oak keel. Not that I'm planning on that. My hard place tripping days are over.
 
Here’s a post on the WCHA.org website I found in response to a member asking if he should use Dacron on his older wood canvas canoe. At the time, I was considering Dacron but I choose to stick with canvas for a few reasons, one was my skill level, but I was mostly suspect of the durability of Dacron in the end. I’m still not convinced it’s as durable as canvas or is suitable for a tripping canoe as a stand alone canoe covering.

Todd Bradshaw said,
“Whether working inspecting and repairing hot air balloons or making sails, I've probably used more Dacron (polyester) over the years than just about anybody here. Though there are certainly differences in the types and to some extent the properties of various Dacron fabrics, there are also some aspects that fairly similar versions all share. Despite what you seem to have heard, Dacron is not a super tough, super high tensile strength fabric, and very often has really poor resistance to tearing.

Much of this is due to the limited amount of stretch that the fiber has (compared to most other synthetics, like nylon). This is good for canoes and fixed wing aircraft, as it resists "bagging out" with age pretty well, but bad as it isn't really thick enough to resist abrasion very well and those styles of Dacron tend to be subject to what is called "explosive tearing". This is when a small cut or defect suddenly and quickly expands big time. On a Dacron balloon envelope or a sail, this can mean that within a few seconds, a small tear can expand from 2" long to seventy feet long if there isn't some reinforcement to stop it.

The key issue, nutshell version, is that the stretch-resistant yarns of the Dacron fabric don't help each other out very much. The first yarn tries to take all the strain and then breaks, then the second yarn tries the same thing with the same result, followed by the next, and next, and next. Fibers with more give (like nylon) stretch when strained and the stress is spread over many at once, giving the finished cloth better tear resistance. Nylon has some drawbacks of its own, so there is no way I'd personally put either one on a canoe. They also really do show every tiny irregularity in the planking, which often looks awful on old canoes which aren't quite as smooth as they once may have been. In general, for good looks and actual, real-life durability, I think you'll find canvas very hard to beat.”
 
Here’s a post on the WCHA.org website I found in response to a member asking if he should use Dacron on his older wood canvas canoe. At the time, I was considering Dacron but I choose to stick with canvas for a few reasons, one was my skill level, but I was mostly suspect of the durability of Dacron in the end. I’m still not convinced it’s as durable as canvas or is suitable for a tripping canoe as a stand alone canoe covering.

Todd Bradshaw said,
“Whether working inspecting and repairing hot air balloons or making sails, I've probably used more Dacron (polyester) over the years than just about anybody here. Though there are certainly differences in the types and to some extent the properties of various Dacron fabrics, there are also some aspects that fairly similar versions all share. Despite what you seem to have heard, Dacron is not a super tough, super high tensile strength fabric, and very often has really poor resistance to tearing.

Much of this is due to the limited amount of stretch that the fiber has (compared to most other synthetics, like nylon). This is good for canoes and fixed wing aircraft, as it resists "bagging out" with age pretty well, but bad as it isn't really thick enough to resist abrasion very well and those styles of Dacron tend to be subject to what is called "explosive tearing". This is when a small cut or defect suddenly and quickly expands big time. On a Dacron balloon envelope or a sail, this can mean that within a few seconds, a small tear can expand from 2" long to seventy feet long if there isn't some reinforcement to stop it.

The key issue, nutshell version, is that the stretch-resistant yarns of the Dacron fabric don't help each other out very much. The first yarn tries to take all the strain and then breaks, then the second yarn tries the same thing with the same result, followed by the next, and next, and next. Fibers with more give (like nylon) stretch when strained and the stress is spread over many at once, giving the finished cloth better tear resistance. Nylon has some drawbacks of its own, so there is no way I'd personally put either one on a canoe. They also really do show every tiny irregularity in the planking, which often looks awful on old canoes which aren't quite as smooth as they once may have been. In general, for good looks and actual, real-life durability, I think you'll find canvas very hard to beat.”
It sounds like you would need to take more duct tape.
 
Dacron would be my choice. I treat mine just like my composite boats and it’s never needed a repair. The same boat in canvas could be as much as 20 lbs heavier. I carry the same roll of duct tape no matter what boat I’m bringing.

Barry
 
Bert Morris c. 1910 at age 44.

Bert Morris c. 1910 at 44.jpg

Brother Charles A. Morris in 1927 at age 67.

Charles A. Morris at 67 in 1927.jpg

Morris Canoe factory, Veazie, Maine, probably in the early 1900's. Arson burned the building on December 15, 1919, putting 75 employees out of work. Some ended up at Old Town Canoe Company, teaching their trade there. The factory was never rebuilt.

Morris Canoe Factory, Veazie, ME.jpg

Morris Canoe logo. Is that Bert paddling stern?

Morris Canoe Logo (Bert in back).jpg

Morris Canoe poster.

Morris Canoe Poster.jpg

Possible company poster if Bert's grandfather hadn't changed the family name.

Bert grandpa changed family name.jpg
 
Below are six self-explanatory pages from a 1908 Morris Canoe catalog. Morris claimed in his catalog that his crafts "were the first canvas-covered canoes ever advertised, advertisement first appearing in the magazine Field and Stream in the year 1887."

Morris Catalogue Page 32.jpg

Morris Catalogue Page 28.jpg

Morris Catalogue Page 29.jpg

Morris Catalogue Page 27.jpg

Morris Catalogue Page 30.jpg

Morris Catalogue Page 31.jpg

These Morris catalog pages and many others were first posted on this site by @Mihun09 in this thread:

 
Interesting 3-finger racks.

One of the local machine shops still has the overhead shafts that use belts to drive massive drill presses and lathes. Pretty cool.
 
The saga of my Morris canoe continues in this thread:

 
Arson burned the building on December 15, 1919

The arson story has been repeated frequently as indicated at https://www.wcha.org/forums/index.php?threads/8101/ but the newspaper articles from that period make no mention of it. See https://www.google.com/books/edition/The_Standard/AWHnAAAAMAAJ and below for an article about this on page 631 of the December 20th, 1919 issue of an insurance newspaper know as The Standard. This reports "It is thought that the fire was caused by an overheated chimney." The front administrative building didn't burn and is the office for the Stucco Lodge today as shown at https://goo.gl/maps/SxFEgnX6nwfHFoss6 in Google maps.

Benson


Morris-insurance.jpg
 
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Wow. What canoeist would not want to jump on that boat?
I have been selling canoes lately, but that would be hard to resist.
 
The arson story has been repeated frequently as indicated at https://www.wcha.org/forums/index.php?threads/8101/ but the newspaper articles from that period make no mention of it. See https://www.google.com/books/edition/The_Standard/AWHnAAAAMAAJ and below for an article about this on page 631 of the December 20th, 1919 issue of an insurance newspaper know as The Standard. This reports "It is thought that the fire was caused by an overheated chimney." The front administrative building didn't burn and is the office for the Stucco Lodge today as shown at https://goo.gl/maps/SxFEgnX6nwfHFoss6 in Google maps.

Benson, I assume you are questioning only whether the cause of the fire was arson, not the fact of the fire or the date. I don't recall where I picked up the arson allegation, but maybe it was from Klos, who cites beliefs from the within the Morris family. That kind of source has some credibility to me.

The quote from The Standard that "it is thought that the fire was caused by an overheated chimney" is not particularly convincing to me because: (1) it was written on the same day as the fire and there likely would have been no opportunity yet for investigators to find evidence of arson, much less prove it, which can be very difficult; (2) it is written in an ambiguous passive voice indicating no source ("it is thought"); and (3) a fire in a chimney is not inconsistent with arson.

I'm missing the relevance of the link to Google books. Maybe you could explain that more. I don't see any local newspaper reports there.

On The Wooden Canoe Museum's Morris page, it says as to local newspapers:

"A fire, described in the Bangor Daily News as “… very spectacular, lighting up the country for miles around”, destroyed the B.N. Morris factory in Veazie, Maine, the evening of Monday, December 15, 1919. Articles from the Bangor Daily News and the Bangor Daily Commercial contain interesting accounts of the fire. The articles contradict each other in regard to the possible location of the fire’s start and the extent of loss."

In summary, I take it that arson was perhaps suspected within the Morris family, but that no one was ever arrested or convicted of arson.
 
I take it that arson was perhaps suspected within the Morris family, but that no one was ever arrested or convicted of arson.

Correct, I don't believe that anyone has found a period record of a person who was ever accused, arrested, or convicted of arson related to this fire. The 1919 article below says "The fire, in the opinion of Chief Mason started above the boiler room" which is probably why it was generally attributed to a chimney issue. There is no question that most of the factory burned in the evening of December 15th, 1919.

Benson



morrisBDC.jpg
 
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