As usual, click any photo to bring up a larger version.
Beginning in January of 2014, I was part of a group build of a Cedar Strip Canoe. This is Part Four of a photo album documenting that process.Click here for all the Canoe building Articles. Canoe Build Index »
PLEASE NOTE: To respect people's privacy, I have blurred the faces in most of these photos. The exception is people I know who have given permission.
Tonight, we glassed the inside of the canoe!
First we had to clean up the insides of the ends. We used a paint scraper there, to get any glue drips out of there and try and smooth things. A paint scraper is nice and slender, which is exactly what you need to get into those tight quarters. There was a LOT of scraping to be done.
(Unfortunately, this was when my camera decided to go nuts. This is my second "older" camera that I had been using -- I'm reluctant to bring a really new/nice camera into the harsh and dusty conditions of a woodshop. Apparently something died on the image sensor, based on the strange lines through the photos. Fortunately, Albert had a pretty new smart phone with a good quality built in camera which we used for more photos. But there still are a few lousy ones I have to include here. )
There was lots of fiddling and spreading as we get close to the ends. We have to be careful to NOT pull on the cloth, or it might lift out of the resin. We need the cloth to be fully embedded in the resin and bonded to the cedar.
In the background of this picture you can see us trying to work into the end.
It's tricky to fit the cloth in the end. Here it needs to fit over the stem, which sticks inside the canoe at the end. We nicked the cloth there with the knife to open up a half-inch gap so it would lay down in front of the stem.
The goal is to have the cloth meet right at the stem, all nice and neat. (Ha!)
The we just left it as slightly ugly. It's hidden away in there. The strength is more important than beauty at this point.
Tonight it was just myself and my two sons. Another guy dropped by for a brief while also. So there was not a huge amount of progress made.
We're now at the trimming out stage. So I read the Ted Moores book section about fitting the inwales and worked on getting one fitted.
First, I took a few posed shots, just to show how far we were. Here it is inside just after we arrived. Then we trimmed off all the extra fibreglass and moved it out for more space and better light. (Next two photos.) It looks much better with that all gone!
First, we measured and marked the centre of the boat. I mean centre as measured from front to back, not the side-to-side centre. Then we measured and marked the centre of one of the inwales and clamped it in place along the inside.
You can't quite see it in the photo, but the ends of the inwale are set on the OTHER side of the stem for measuring. The stems still stick up a bit, so they help holding the inwale in place.
We clamped it as far as we could until it would not flex into position any more. Then we measured along the side of the CANOE to see how far it was from the end (about 26" in my case), and made a mark on the inwale. Then we measured forward along the INWALE from that mark 26". That SHOULD be the point at which we want to cut the inwale so that it will fit in place, snug up to the inside of the stem.
Yeah, this is hard to explain, I should have taken photos of each step.
SIDE NOTE: This was a MISTAKE, by the way. I should NOT have tapered the inwale as much as I did, as it made fitting the deck a nightmare, as will be explained later on. In future I would only taper the inwale along the part where the two overlap.
Yes I'm lying.
I needed to dismount it twice more until I was happy. But better it is too long than too short! Here it is clamped (just clamped!) into position.
Another Wednesday evening in the shop. Tonight we worked on fitting and attaching the inwales.
First, a minor aside... This has gone on much longer than we ever anticipated! For that reason, as well as a few other reasons, I stopped by a canoe vendor on the weekend and bought a pair of seats as well as a deep-dish yoke. We could have made seats, but this will save us several days of work! We could also have made a regular thwart or flat yoke, but a deep dish yoke is quite a challenging project, and also not really suited for a group project. So we took this shortcut.
Here we are testing to see how the seats look, and marking their rough positions on the hull.
We just used screws. We could have used epoxy, but this is quicker and still strong. Also, should the boat ever be damaged, this will make it slightly easier to fix. But that might not actually be true, as the outwales WILL be glued on.
Tonight I worked in my shop building two decks for the canoe. To be completely honest, though, I began this a long time ago. Way back in April I worked on some test pieces to make a deck for the end of the canoe. I did this to test the procedure, and to have fun. I did not want just a simple board, but rather a "fancy" deck, with alternating strips of different colour/species of hardwood. This is roughly outlined in the Ted Moores book, and some of the procedure is much like I use when making side-grain cutting boards.
The resulting test deck was way too big, but it taught me that the procedure was actually quite quick and manageable, and I refined how to get my measurements to work out.
Here are three deck "blanks" being glued up. The one on the right is two blanks; they are separated by packing tape, so that I can just clamp both at once.
The way to make a deck is to take this rectangular piece, draw a diagonal, cut out the diagonal, and then flip and re-glue the halves together. So... how to measure that? I know the length I need, 12", and the width, 3" (half of the 6" width I want). But that is one measurement short of what I need to figure it out with geometry. At least, I couldn’t do it. I ended up measuring on the board and figuring things out from there.
Take a look at this picture: I need a piece where a line drawn 90-degrees from that tape measure is 3" long where it hits the corner. How wide a board is that? I just figured it out by measuring the piece and trimmed the blanks to match.
Note that since the blanks are being glued back together they need to be symmetrical. They can't be cherry-ash-cherry-ash for instance, they need to be cherry-ash-cherry-ash-cherry. Otherwise they don't match up when re-joined. The pictures will make that clear!
As an aside I am mixing photos from back in April when I first experimented with this procedure, with photos from June 6 when I built the actual decks we used. So the pieces might look somewhat different in different shots. I did this to give the best step-by-step photos of the process.
Ideally, You should either use plywood, or a spline where the grain is oriented at 90-degrees to the joint, for maximum strength. I goofed here and ran the grain lengthwise along the joint, which is not as strong.
I am sure that some of you are wondering about that red stripe of padauk down the centre. I did that on the test piece to HIDE the joint, as I was pretty sure I would NOT get a clean joint where the two pieces met. It turned out that I COULD get a nice clean and tight joint, and so I skipped it on the real decks. It does look nice though!
Just two of us today, my friend and myself. He brought his own canoe which he'd built about eight years ago. It was built off the same forms as this one, so it is basically a twin of this one. He brought it so that we could take the measurements off of it for the seat placement; it is easier to just copy an identical canoe than figure things out from the book.
He just quickly dismounted his seats and used them as templates to cut our seats.
Note that you don't HAVE to have decks, you could just cap the ends with something on TOP of the gunnels, or something similar. But, we just wanted decks.
I took the spare deck and traced out the lines, and cut them out on the bandsaw. I wanted to test everything here before doing anything to the real decks. This was a wise move! The results were horrible, as you can see in this photo. First, the bandsaw in the shop is really not well tuned. But even so, to fit to the inwales I needed to cut this weird curve on the deck, and getting everything to fit was not going to be easy. I was in despair for a time.
So it turned out to be a very good thing we had not glued the inwales in place, and just screwed them. Actually even more than that, as we later looked and realized that the inwale curve was just not right in a few places and we need to adjust them up or down and re-set a few screws to do so. Partly that was our own inexperience, and partly that was the fact that the ash inwale just wanted to curve it's own way.
One thing that I did NOT get on a photo... With the yoke in place, the top of the canoe pulled IN a bit. We now have some tumblehome! Took me ages to grasp the meaning of that term. It means that the canoe actually bulges outward a bit below the gunnels. I'm not going to even try to explain more than that!
Nearly done, and a minor disaster...
I had meetings tonight, so I couldn't be at the shop until at the very end of the time. But, I dropped off my two sons, who assisted my friend Albert with working on the canoe. They got the seats fitted and installed (temporarily) and fitted and glued one of the outwales. The other outwale... well that was the disaster. The grain in that piece of ash took a bit of a turn near the end, so when they bent it up at the stern to follow the curve of the canoe, it snapped.
That is a bit of a minor setback, but we are still getting very near finished. One more gunnel needs to be installed. I also am going to fabricate some handles, as the decks we put in are a bit too small for integral handles. Then it is sanding and varnishing and launch ime. The end is in sight!
First, they finally cut off the excess sticking up at the ends:
It will look better once it is sanded down and has some finish on it!
And in the next two photos they are fitting the bow seat.
The broken outwale sits there on the right side. We'll have to make a new one for there.
Thanks for reading!