Newbie - Canoe Identification (mine)

Hi there everyone!! I am new to the forum but have been surfing on here for years. Just getingt back into canoeing, haven’t done it since I was a kid. I bought a solo canoe yesterday from a outfitter/repair canoe place up on the iron range in Minnesota and was wondering if I could get help identifying it by it’s MIC number. Any help with the condition would also be greatly appreciated. There may be a couple of condition issues, but I am uneducated and don’t know for sure, hoping the boat is in okay condition for what I paid.

The MIC number is: MADJX595G686

The supposed outfitter I got it from was this little hole in the wall place, although their prices seemed decent and they were very nice. The guy who sold me the canoe didn’t know what model or year it was, other than it was a MAD RIVER.

I researched the MIC number(keep in mind I’m a newbie), and my understanding is that this was made by Confluenece Water Sports (later became Mad River)in February of 1986, at least according the the number above. I don’t know how to find out what model I have though. My understanding is the serial numbe would be JX595 and I tried googling this number in conjuction with Mad River or Confluence Water Sports but didn’t get any hits.

I am going to call Mad River later on today, but I was told by them yesterday that they only keep records on serial numbers starting in 2003 on.

I will take some more pictures of the boat later on today once the sun comes up, but for now, I will post the few pictures that the outfitter sent me before I drove up to get the canoe.

Any help would be greatly appreciated as well as if you can identify this boat, where I can go to find more info on this boat. I was told the boat is fiberglass.

I guess I just noticed you can’t post pictures on here, so you will have to go off the MIC number and a vague description. Boat is made of fiberglass and has aluminum black colored gunwhales. The deck is also a made of black aluminum I believe. The outside shell of the boat is an off white color with a dark rusty decal stripe on it that is starting to wear off. There are air pocket chmbers in the front and the back of the boat that have been sealed. Don’t know if these are original or were added at a later date. The inside color of the the boat is a medium gray color and there are no designs on the inside. The cane seat was replaced with a more modern one, so that doesn’t help.

I did look at the Mad River catalog for 1986, but didn’t see anything that directly looked like my boat.


May be a Slipper

– Last Updated: Apr-19-12 8:48 AM EST –

Can you put up some pictures?

Posting info regarding the color, trim, flotation tanks, decals and the like will not help.

If you can't post pictures, measure the length overall (from the tip of one deck plate to the other) and the maximum beam (width at the widest point).

I believe that JX might have been the model code for the Slipper but don't bank on it. The boat is definitely a Mad River built in July of 1986.

You could try contacting Confluence but I rather suspect you won't find much joy there. Rob Sarges of Vermont Canoe is likely to be more helpful if you don't find an answer here.

Do you twitter?!/vermontcanoe

If not send a private message to openboater, if he doesn't see this thread first.

Does the hull look like this:

Having issues posting pictures
I can’t seem to post pictures as I am not a paddling perks member. I don’t do any social media, so no face book, twitter, ect… Any help on posting these pictures would be great because I realize everyone is going to have a hard time helping me without the pictures.

Is there any place online where I could post the pictures and then people can click on link to get to my pictures??

Any help would be great.

Email from Mad River about Canoe ID
I just got an email from Mad River and they had someone there who has been in the compnay forever look at the couple of pictures I sent him yesterday before I bought the boat and I was just told via email that this is an Independence Solo canoe and was made between 1991-1994. Going to call them back as wondering how the serial indicates 1986, but they are saying 91-94".

Again, any help with loading pictures would be great. Thanks!!


There are many

Try flickr, photobucket, snapfish, tinypic, etc.

He’s wrong

– Last Updated: Apr-19-12 9:13 AM EST –

Either he just looked at the pictures and paid no attention to the HIN or he didn't have the HIN, assuming the HIN in your post is correct.

Here is how the HIN works:

There is a picture of an Independence on this page:

If you compare that with the Slipper images you will see that the two are rather similar in many ways. The Independence is a bigger boat, but absolute size is difficult to judge from a photo without some measuring device for scale.

You can put them on web shots, and
then post the site here on P-net.

That is how I do it.

It seems a shame that non perk people can’t post pictures, like on most other forums such as, but then again if there is money to be made !!!

I have tons of good wildlife shots from this past winters Florida Keys, Everglades and Springs trips, but don’t want to take the time to put them on web shots

Jack L

Here are the pictures!!
Sorry, I forgot to mention that I didn’t have the HIN to give to them yesterday as I hadn’t bought the boat yet and the seller told me that they couldn’t find the serial number.

Thanks for the tips on uploading pictures. I don’t know when I got so technologically outdated, but I guess I need to catch up on the social media stuff and posting sites.

Anyway, registered with flickr and the pictures are up there now. Here is the link…sorry, don’t remember how to make an active link…

I hope it’s okay to post links on this forum. Someone let me know if it’s not, because I know forum rules can vary from site to site.



Retard can’t create a link - bear w me!!
Sorry guys, it didn’t make a complete link. Copy and paste it into your browser and it should take you to the page.

I need to update my computer skills!!


Looks like a Slipper to me

– Last Updated: Apr-19-12 9:46 AM EST –

A photo taken directly from the beam perpendicular to the keel line of the canoe would have been more helpful, but that boat appears to have the rather "skegged" stems of the Slipper as you see here:

The stems of the Independence were somewhat more rounded with a touch of rocker near the ends of the keel line as shown here:

Do you have a flexible steel measuring tape? Just measure the length and beam of the boat. Have someone hold the end of the tape right at the tip of the deck plate (or tape it in place if you don't have help). Pull the tape straight and measure the length at the opposite deck plate tip. If the length is 14' 8" (give or take a half inch or so) it is a Slipper.

The width across the gunwales at the center should be about 27" but this measurement sometimes varies a little from published specs and some makers measured from the outside of one gunwale to the outside of the other, and some just the width of the actual hull at the gunwale line.

I noticed that boat has only the seat and 2 short carry thwarts near the stems. Is there any indication (such as holes in the gunwales) that there might at one time have been a couple of thwarts that someone removed from the boat? A boat more than 14 1/2' in length with no center support except for a suspended seat might be kind of "floppy".

The flotation tanks, by the way, are integral to the canoe. Fiberglass, aluminum, epoxy, and gel coat are all heavier than water. Without those air spaces, the boat would go to the bottom if completely flooded.

length ?
Independence is 15’8"

Slipper is 14’7"

Will go measure…
I will run out in a few minutes or so and measure everything that was suggested. Also, emailed back the guy at Mad River and got on the phone with him. He confirmed that someon there had just given an educated guess on the model. I gave them the HIN number and am going to take more pictures and send it to them. I did mention that the inside is all gray colored and has a texture to it; kinda reminds me of one of those big square tightly woven gauze bandages that you see at the ER hospital, except this is greay colored. He told me he thought this boat might be a fiberglass Kevlar mix, or maybe just all Kevlar. That got me a little excited, but I’ll have to wait and see… I do know that I can pick this boat up and but it over my head no problem; mainly just need to get used to the center balance point on the boat.

That stinks that there aren’t any thwarts on the boat. I’m so stupid, I didn’t even notice that. I will look for existing holes in the boat. This might sound like a dumb question, but can you ad thwarts to the boat and is it complicted?? I know what they are and I would imagine you could buy replacements from Mad River or on the secondary market, but would it make it more complicated if there weren’t already holes in the gunwhale from existing thwarts??

I will take more detailed pictures here in a couple of minutes and post them so everyone can see what we are working with. Will also get the measurements on length and width of hull…

Stay tuned…


Creating a working photo link
It’s not your fault that the link doesn’t show up “all blue” and functional. It has something to do with how things work on Flickr. Taking the link to a site like tinyurl and converting it into a new link is one way of dealing with this, but in this case, having people copy and paste the full link is as good as anything.

yes you can add thwarts

– Last Updated: Apr-19-12 11:12 AM EST –

The potential problem that arises from having a suspended center seat and no thwarts is that your body weight suspended from the gunwales tends to pull the sides of the boat inward and stress and distort the hull.

I am dubious that Mad River outfitted the boat that way stock. If there were thwarts the would almost certainly have been aluminum ones anodized black like the gunwales and the short carry thwarts. The might have attached to the sides of the boat just below the inside part of the gunwale through a pair of holes in the portion of the gunwale that attaches to the hull, and have been pop riveted in place. It is possible that someone could have removed the thwarts by drilling out the pop rivets and putting new pop rivets through the holes. If so, you should see some evidence of it, such as marks on the undersides of the inner gunwales.

Adding a pair of thwarts would not be difficult. The aluminum thwarts typically are manufactured to length and the ends of the tube are crimped flat and bent at a 90 degree angle to provide an attachment surface for the thwart. You can look at the short carry thwarts on your boat. If the canoe originally had longer thwarts they were probably made and attached in the same manner.

Getting a pair of replacement aluminum thwarts might be tricky. You would have to know the exact length. You do have some latitude in placing the thwarts. If there is evidence that the boat had thwarts originally it would probably be best to put them in the same place, but they could be moved toward the center or toward the stems a few inches. You want to leave enough free room in front of the seat for your legs.

You might be able to procure a pair of replacement aluminum thwarts from Wenonah Canoe. You would have to call their support number to check once you knew the length required. They might have a canoe model that uses thwarts of about the same length as what you need and, if so, would probably be willing to sell you a pair. If they weren't exactly the right length you would have to shift the thwart positions forward and aft, or towards the center a bit.

You could also buy a pair of ash thwarts which can be cut to length. Essex Industries sells fairly inexpensive ones and I the 36 inch length would certainly be plenty long:

You would also need to buy mounting brackets for these. Wenonah sells a kit like this:

You need one kit for each thwart and you would need a drill, bits, and a pop riveter (or a friend with same). The flat part of the bracket with the holes slides up between the hull and the inner part of the gunwale strip and you drill holes to insert the pair of pop rivets. The thwart then sits of the thick, horizontal part of the bracket and is secured to it with one or two machine screws through a hole or holes drilled through the thwart and bracket.

There is also a bracket like this sold by Western Canoeing and Kayaking which is a Canadian manufacturer in British Columbia:

With this type the lips of the aluminum bracket fit around the upper and lower surface of the thwart end and sits inside the hull just beneath the gunwale. You still need to drill two holes through the boat and gunwale strip and into the thwart ends to insert the stainless steel screws. You have to aim carefully when drilling the holes so that you don't drill through the upper or lower surface of your thwart, but you don't need a pop riveter.

If you do put thwarts in the boat you need to determine the proper length. Figure out what model boat you have and make sure that your canoe matches the manufacturer's listed gunwale width for that model. You may have to take something like a piece of old broom stick or furring strip and cut it to the proper length to jack the sides of your hull out to match that specified gunwale width. Once you have done so use a capenter's folding rule or measuring tape to measure from the inside of the hull on one side straight across to the inside of the hull on the other side at your chosen thwart location.

Here are pictures and measurements
Okay… I got the pictures post online on flicker… again, here is the link. Copy and past it into your browser

I measured the distance at the approximate widest point going across from inner gunwhale to inner gunwhale and the measurement is 28 1/2 inches. Measurements from outer gunwhale to out gunwhale is 30 1/2 inches.

Measurement from very tip on bow of boat to very tip of stern on beat stretched taut is approx. 14.6 3/4 feet. Decks measure 7 3/4 inches each.

Later on I can get on a scale and see approximately how much the boat weighs.

I’m worried about there not being any thwarts on the boat,… I honestly didn’t know enough to check for that and I was totally exhausted yesterday when I went to go get the boat… I did look along the inner thwart carefully up and down both ends and didn’t see any extra open holes that might explain where the thwarts had been. Could the gunwhales have been replaced and that’s why the holes aren’t there?? Or did this boat never come with thwarts?? Also, can thwarts be added??

Let me know what everyone thinks from the pictures and dimensions… also wondering if this only fiberglass or something else as well…


Not An Independence
Just picked up one for a friend a few weeks ago and it is definitely a bit longer and sleeker looking. Maybe a Liberty? I’m thinking that the original gunwales and seat(probably wood) were replaced and thwarts not added to save weight? As Pete mentioned, get some thwarts in that boat! All the Mad River boats that I’ve seen that were 'glass had that gray color on the inside. The old MRC’s made of 'glass were VERY well made. With a little work, I think you’ll have a nice boat.

Link doesn’t work
It has to be a Slipper. MRC lists the length as 14’ 7" in some of their catalogs and 14’ 8" in others. The Slipper is the only solo canoe MRC made in 1986 that was close to that length and looked anything like that.

Yanoer has or had a Slipper, with aluminum trim, I believe. Perhaps he can tell you what thwarts it has or had. He might become confused because he has so many boats, however. Send him a PM.

I agree w/ wildernesswebb.

– Last Updated: Apr-19-12 12:14 PM EST –

pblanc knows his stuff, too.

Either a Slipper or Liberty that's seen a lot of work. Either way, it looks like a good boat with plenty of life left in her.

You could try contacting Rob @ Vermont Canoe (openboater here).

He could probably tell you as much as anyone about your new boat and advise as to repair, restoration or modifications.

It could be
a Mad River Fingerling model. I had a Fingerling in the late '80s. It was a fiberglass solo with wood gunwales and I loved it. Lost it in a fire in '91. I don’t recall the dimensions.

I’ve never even heard of it, but you’ve gotta love that name!