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Brian's canoe building log part I
05/28/08 at 01:34:02
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Brian (a friend from work) is building a Cedar strip canoe, and is having open houses for building.  More important he is keeping an online blog of the event checkout the following link:


I've shamelessly stolen what he has so far... but then what are friends for.  Roll Eyes

Unlike myself Brian main hobby is wood working. He has helped fiberglass a couple of canoes, and should do well there.  In short the expectations for the project are set quite high. 

As he is going to post the blog we'll see how he progresses.

Saturday, 19 April 2008

With the ground covered in snow, there was nothing more interesting to do than to start building the canoe. 6 ash and 6 cedar strips were milled to make the stems. Inner stems are 3 1/4 inch plies of cedar (7/8" wide), and outer stems are the same measurements, but in ash for added strength, since they are exposed and vulnerable to impact when the canoe will be used. The ash was locally harvested wood from Drew Beattie, that has been air-drying in the shop for quite a while.

After milling, the strips were steamed for about 20 minutes, in a length of ABS pipe, sitting on a kettle (with automatic shut-off disabled). When ready, they were immediately clamped onto the stem moulds, starting at the bottom point, and working around to the top using about 6 clamps. The strips were left clamped on the moulds overnight, then taken off to dry better, but tied to maintain the shape.

Steam bent stem strips drying.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

On Tuesday the first stem was laminated using epoxy, using #403 filler to thicken the epoxy for better gap-filling. The inner and outer stems were separated by a layer of packing tape, to ensure they do not get bonded together. The form edge was also protected with packing tape to ensure the stems don't get glued onto it. Second stem was laminated on Wednesday.

First set of inner and outer stems laminated and clamped to the form

Sunday, 27 April 2008

After a concerted effort to clean up the shop, including installation of more fluorescent lights, there is now almost enough room to turn around. The space was immediate put to use, and the air filled with cedar dust.
All the cedar was cut into strips. I had 5 lengths of 1x6 - 18' clear cedar. It was purchased at the same time as the wood for the canoe course; special order from Windsor Plywood. To minimize wastage, I used a 7 1/4" very thin kerf Freud Diablo saw blade, and was able to get 18 strips from each 1x6. I have kept all the strips in order, for ease of matching grain patterns later.

Sawing and stacking the cedar strips; then the finished stack.

Saturday and Sunday, 3-4 May 2008

Levelled the strongback, and set up the stem and station-6 moulds. Then cut 1/4" strips of walnut, mahogany, and some very dark cedar to use in feature strips.

Tuesday, 06 May 2008

The first Canoe-building open-shop night was well attended, and good progress was made. All stations were aligned and secured, including reinstallation of the stem and station-6 moulds. The process was aided by inserted Xacto blades in thin cuts on the centre line (top and botttom) of each station, as positive stops for a straightedge. This made aligning the keel end of each form with the taut line strung over very quick and precise. (Thanks for the suggestion, Murray!)
The end result can be seen in the photo below; every station is dead-on the line.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

I cut up all the pieces for the chevron design Feature Strip. Three thin strands of walnut will divide and surround the chevron, made of alternating very dark cedar and lighter mahogany. The chevron design will be at bow and stern ends, about 24" in length, and in the middle, about 15" in length. Between these, the strip will be plain cedar, with the three narrow walnut strips running the full length. The photo shows the glue-up of half the centre chevron pattern.

I spent some very productive time sharpening my block plane, my one good chisel, and the blade of a borrowed spokeshave. These three in combination made shaping the lower 8-9" of the stems quite easy. I will install several strips before continuing the shaping, in order to better secure the stems.

Chevron pieces, and 1st glue-up.                                 Shaped stem.  

Friday - Monday, 16-19 May 2008

The badly needed long weekend respite was spent on strip preparation. The glue-up of the chevron-patterned feature strips was completed, the thin walnut strips for feature were scarfed together (1:12 slope joints), all strips were thicknessed, and bead and cove run on all edges. Thus the installation of strips is ready to start.


Milling the bead and cove, and the finished stack of strips.

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

The first two strips were installed, one on either side of the canoe, after critical assessment of the line of curvature. This first strip is located at the sheer line along the middle of the canoe, but the sheer rises more quickly at the bow and stern. A graceful even curve was achieved by following the sheer line from the middle to stations 4, and with slight downwards pressure bringing the strip a bit lower on the stem. Where the strips follow the sheer line they are nailed, as the gunwales will cover that part. Simple clamping sticks, with sandpaper glued onto the surface, are screwed onto stations 6 and 7 to hold the strip with no marking. They are also glued directly to the side of the shaped inner stems.

Handling the strips is a looming issue. Mixing strips from the different planks will minimize variations between large areas by scattering the variations more evenly. To do this requires being able to pick strips from any of the different planks at any time. I need to set up some storage rack to do this, with the 18’ long strips. Also, I need jigs to hold strips while putting glue into the cove. Time spent now setting up an efficient system will pay dividends later.

First two strips on the form.


Sunday to Monday, 16-19 May 2008

I made a simple strip rack, using, of course, all scrap material. There are 3 supports screwed to the trusses, and each has 5 shelves cantilevered out to support the strips. I tilted the rack at enough angle that the strips won't tend to fall off the front, but not so much that the flip onto their flat side. It seems to work quite well. The other pieces were the L-shaped clamping brackets, and lots of wedges. Plain wedges are used to hold the strips to the form, and wedges with beads are used to wedge down the strips that have the cove up. Of course, the orientation of the strips will change at mid-feature strip to be cove down. (Think about that ... changing directions saved difficult calculations on the width of the middle chevron piece. If you cut the cove on the wide side on one, and bead on the wide side of the other, the second must start off longer because the exposed edge moves inward. Look at the photos below.) Finally, three scraps of OSB serve as holders for strips for applying glue. They have 3 slots, just wide and deep enough for the strip to sit comfortably in.

On Monday night, with Chris's help, the second and third strips were installed (glued and wedged tight). Cleanup was done by scraping the glue after it had started to skim over, and then trying to wipe with a damp cloth. The latter didn't accomplish much. reducing the amount of glue will be the best solution.

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Two more strips were installed, making a total of 3 on each side. I am getting too much squeeze out, and need to better control the amount of glue.

The feature strips are next, but I have decided to assemble them into full length pieces; just need to glue solid cedar pieces the run between the segments of chevron design. If all 8 are cut to the same length, the patterns will align easily. Measuring is the critical part. I intend to simply mark a full length strip, and use the chevron pieces to mark off how much of the cedar strip is needed. Then if they are all cut to identical lengths, it will all work like a charm ... provided I confirm with a dry fit first.

The use of monofilament line to hold strips in place was considered and abandoned (see current issue of Wooden Boat Magazine). Instead, I will construct an outer frame, and wedge or clamp the strips tight to the form.

Clamped and wedged, two more strips on the form.

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Brian's canoe building log part II
Reply #1 - 06/10/08 at 06:02:53
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Saturday and Sunday, 31 May - 01 June 2008

After cutting the normal coloured cedar parts for the feature (8 pieces of identical lengths) I was able to glue up the full length of the half chevron part of the feature. Installation of 3 pieces: 2 thin walnut strips, and the half chevron in between, proved challenging. The walnut is too thin to be the last piece. It is too flexible to only wedge down every 12". Lots of additional clamping was needed to get the strips sitting well.

For the remaining features, I have glued the narrow walnut strip to the half chevron pattern strips. The addition of less than 1/4" extra width should not be a problem for the hull curvature, as on this line of the canoe, the side is still very close to vertical. Stretchy packing film provided the clamping pressure along the entire length. I expect to complete installing one side tonight.

First part of feature installed; other segments in glue-up.

Tuesday, 03 June 2008

The 3 lengths comprising the other feature strip were installed; with 10 hands on while it was wedged into place. Working with full length pieces was an advantage, although one broke prior to and again during installation.

Two problems have materialized. First, the thin walnut strips preglued to the strips with chevrons twisted somewhat. I need to plane these off flush on the outside and reshape the bead so the next strips will not be forced outwards. Second, the curve of the strips meant the second strip with chevrons should have been about 1/4" longer than the first one, so the chevrons would align at each end. Careful dry fitting should have been done. Oops. But it really doesn't show all that much to the casual eye. Having the walnut strip separating the chevrons makes the alignment a little less critical, as intended.

Wetted feature strip, shows the colours.

Wednesday to Monday, 04-09 June 2008

Steady though slow progress, installing two strips at a time. I am carefully mixing strips from all 5 original planks as I go, and matching the selections on each side. While not critical on the sides, it will be important for the strips on the bottom of the canoe.

Interrupted the work on my canoe on Friday to assist Murray with the fibreglass and first coat of epoxy. It turned out very well, and Murray continued afterwards with his other coats, some sanding, and has removed it from the forms, a real milestone.

Meanwhile, I got up to 11 strips on each side, of a total of about 43 per side at the centre station. The shape of the hull is gradually becoming visible. So far, the wedging has not produced any problems, but the curved at the chine is the critical area, where most encouragement to stay to the form is needed. I also glued a piece of walnut to build up the twisted piece that I had planed down a bit too enthusiastically. It wouldn't have mattered, except it was at the end of the strip by the stem that was the worst, and would be very visible against the finished stem.

11 strips on starboard side.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

A total of 4 strips went on tonight, in two successive operations. Strips are now reaching the curved chine, and tend to pull away from the forms more noticeably. So far, my clamping/wedging L-brackets have had enough reach to place a wedge on the previously glued strip, so all the strips stay against the form. Past this point, however, more measures will be needed to keep the rest of the sides tight to the form.

I have pulled out the remaining ash, to see how much material I have for seats, thwart, and yoke. I will need some additional clear ash for gunwales (inwale and outwale), and have started enquiring.

Strips 14 and 15 wedged on the port side.

Wednesday to Sunday, 11-15 June 2008

The strips have rounded the curve of the chine. Today, strips 39 and 40 were installed, out of an estimated 86 total. These strips twist and curve much more than the previous ones, and it takes a bit of effort to get them into position initially. But the curve and twist are an integral part of the curvaceous shape that is becoming steadily more apparent and more appealing.

This twist and curve is also the source of some difficulty. The hull does not stay tight to the forms in several places, particularly where the curve reverses (from convex to concave). So some additional bracing has been rigged, as seen in the photo below.

Srips rounding the chine; added bracing needed.

Saturday to Monday, 21-23 June 2008

Being away from Calgary for the week interrupted progress, as did the all-day SAWS AGM on Saturday. As of Sunday night, I had 48 strips installed. They are getting progressively more difficult to install. The amount of twist increases with each strip, and there is less form accessible for clamping and wedging the strips, especially clamping tightly to the stems. Two more strips on one side (and four on the other) will complete covering the inner stems.

The next decision is whether or not to install a secondary feature strip. The one on the course canoe did add a visual punch to the finished canoe. I am thinking of doing something quite simple, such as two thin walnut strips. I have scrounged some more offcuts for the purpose … the walnut looks good, but the purpleheart would be too much!

Monday night I was able to rip the walnut offcut pieces into 1/8" wide strips, then ripped 4 full length cedar strips, with the intent of replacing the sawcut with the walnut. Two strips together make the feature: 2 thin walnut lines, 5/8" on centre.

48 Strips on the canoe.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Installed two strips, so the total is now 50. We spent a bit of time describing the process to a few first timers. Murray talked about his next canoe. Lastly, for a change of pace, worked on machining a teak mast step for a sailboat.

Wednesday to Monday, 25-30 June 2008

The secondary feature strips (two thin walnut lines, 5/8" on centre), like the main feature strips, took a bit of care in glue up. I did two strips at a time. On the first two, I tried clamping them between a series of boards. It went too slowly, the glue started setting, and the thin pieces did not keep in good alignment. However, I planed off the proud side of the walnut, and think it will sand down well enough. FOr the next two, with some help, I used the stretch packing film, pressed the pieces level just ahead of the film, and inserted the walnut with glue applied as we progressed (instead of all at once). These turned out much better.

After installing both pairs of feature strips (bringing the stip count to 54) the inner stems are almost entirely covered. From here on, I worked only on the starboard side, installing strips to ensure they filled all the space up to the centre line. As of tonight, the starboard side is complete.

Next task is cutting the keel line. After that, every strip on the port side must be fitted precisely to the cut keel line. It may be only possible to install and wedge one strip at a time.

Tuesday, 01 July 2008

Canada Day celebrations were marked by cutting the keel line!

All the strips on one side were installed, covering the bottom beyond the keel line. A straight line is cut, using markings from the stations as well as a line snapped from the centre line of the stems. Due to the hull rocker (curved front to back) the line was held above the hull, and a small credit card size level used to transfer it to the hull. A rough line, about 1/2" over, was cut with a hand saw, then it was pared close to the line with a sharp chisel. A rabbeting plane completed the work of taking it to the line. It looks pretty straight in the photo.

One side completed, cut to the keel line.

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Re: Brian's canoe building log part III
Reply #2 - 07/11/08 at 05:27:51
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Wednesday to Sunday, 02-06 July 2008

After cutting the keel line last Tuesday, work on the remaining side has progressed carefully. Every strip had to be fitted for the correct angle and bevel at each end, to mate with the straight cut keel line, as well as being cut accurately to length. This involves lots of careful fitting and hand planing, but generally the result looks good. The worst part is that dry fitting and handling of the strips is very hard on the thin edge of the coves.

I have completed 10 of the 14 strips remaining to close the bottom. 11 strips are fitted normally, then the final 3 are treated a bit specially. Because of the tight fit you try to achieve, you cannot slip the final strips into position with the bead and cove in place. To allow fitting them, the bead is cut off the 3rd last strip, and the final two strips are glued together into the curved shape they will need to be in, after removing the cove from the 2nd last strip. These last two strips are then shaped to fit precisely the remaining opening in the hull.

I also finished filling in strips to the sheer line at both the bow and stern ends, on both sides of the canoe. Shaping the stems to mate to the outer stem moulds has begun as well. This Tuesday will be completing the stripping of the hull.

78 Strips on the canoe; only 4 to go!              Looking straight on the stem.

Tuesday, 08 July 2008

The final two strips, assembled together as a plug, were fitted and installed. This is a major milestone, and it now really looks like a canoe, and feels really far along. But to quote Ted Moores, from Canoecraft, referring to completion of the stripping:
You are now about a third of the way through the whole project—a perfect time to sit back in your moaning chair, congratulate yourself and dream about someday paddling this craft down a mist-shrouded lake.
So much for feeling like I'm nearly finished

The completly stripped hull

Tuesday to Sunday, 15-20 July 2008

Outer stems are simply glued (with epoxy) to the cut ends of the strips and the 1/8” visible edge of the inner stem, at least along the prow. As the stem curves around to meet the keel line, an opening down to the inner stem must be carved and fitted to the shape of the stem. The outer stem is tapered to 3/8” width at the keel line end, and is cut one inch shorter than the inner stem. This ensures there is enough of the inner stem to back and adhere to the cedar strips. Before gluing, the end grain of the strips is saturated with unthickened epoxy, so the glue joint does not get starved due to absorption. The epoxy for bonding the stem is thickened to provide a gap filling capability, with some cedar sanding dust added to provide a better colour match. Screws, first coated with wax to prevent being a permanent part of the canoe, and clamps when needed, hold the stem in place overnight to let the epoxy set.

Endgrain soaked with epoxy       Stem held with screws while it sets.

Rather than waste time waiting for epoxy to set, I set about fairing the hull, using a block plane to remove the high edges of the strip joins, as well as some other bumps in the shape. Then I started the first sanding of the hull with #80 grit on the random orbital sander. Using the shop vac to pick up the dust kept the shop from getting any more noticeably dirty. There was not even a detectable aroma of cedar dust.

I spent most of my free time on two days shaping the outer stems, and they are not finished yet. The ash stems have very wild grain that changes in as little as 3”. Avoiding tearout demands paying close attention to grain direction with both plane and spokeshave.

First the outer curve of the stem is faired down to the keel line. Next, a 3/8” strip is marked down the centre of the stem, for fitting the brass stem strip. Then the sides of the stem are shaped to blend into the lines of the hull. I soon discovered that maintaining a 3/8” wide nose and fairing to the hull require trimming the stem down much more than my initial attempt, in fact it needs to be trimmed down right around the curve to the lower prow. Otherwise, the nose gets much too narrow.

My plan is to complete the outer hull preparation this week, and fibreglass the outside this coming weekend


Monday to Friday, 21-31 July 2008
In total, 5 days and evenings were spent shaping the outer stems. I mixed in gluing fillers in the larger gaps between the planking. The next stage of sanding improved the curvature of the hull, making the curve consistently smooth. The random orbit sander, run in vertical strokes around the hull, achieved a good result.

Next, the hull was wetted down to raise the grain, and identify any problem spots where glue or epoxy was on the hull. The water made any glue showing in gaps in the planking stand out like a sore thumb. I tried to scrape out any visible glue, hoping the epoxy would fill any gap without making it excessively visible. A little more filling of gaps, and a final sanding with 120 grit on the RO sander, and it was declared ready.

Rough sanding completed.             Hull wetted down for inspection.

Fibreglass application started at 7:30 am Sunday morning. The fabric drapes very well, and a clean brush moves out any wrinkles so it clings to the hull. The fabric hugs the stem for the first 8-12", then pulls away. The excess fabric at the stems is cut off an inch or so past, so the weight of it doesn't interfere.

Three coats of epoxy were applied in one day, at 6 hours between start times. The first coat is floated on with a brush (black, so any bristles that come out are readily spotted) so it soaks into the fabric and the wood. After about 20 minutes, a squeegie is used to remove excess epoxy, while forcing the fabric tight against the wood. The second coat is applied when the first coat is no longer tacky, though it isn't fully cured (that takes over a week), By applying successive layers within a short time (8 hours is the upper limit) a chemical bond between coats is achieved. After 8 hours, the previous layer must be sanded as it will only bond mechanically. The excess fabric is trimmed to the stem, and rough edges sanded. Note that the fabric hanging below the sheer line is left in place, to absorb some of the runoff.

The second coat is again floated on with a brush, and squeegied after 20 minutes. This coat fills the weave of the fabric.The final coat comletely buries the fabric, so that it can be sanded for varnish without exposing the glass fibres. The crucial balance is getting enough epoxy on to bury the fabric, but not so much that you get runs down the vertical sides of the canoe. This is extremely tricky, and inevitably a few runs will occur. This coat does not get squeegied. Before applying, I very quickly hit the myriad of small air bubbles that had formed with sandpaper, then vacuumed the dust. The photo below was at 10:00 pm Sunday night, upon completion of the third coat.

Finished three coats of epoxy on the outside hull.

Inspection the following day showed a number of runs, but also some areas, particularly around the stems, where the fabric was not adequately covered. These areas were marked off and sanded, with full breathing mask protection. Moores book warns of risks of uncured epoxy dust, so precautions were in order. These areas had an additional coat of epoxy. Of course, lots of runs occured, and an evening was consumed scraping these off.

This weekend should see the canoe off the forms, onto carpet lined cradles that will be mounted on the strongback. Then the dreary scraping and sanding of the inside commences!

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Re: Brian's canoe building log part IV
Reply #3 - 09/01/08 at 21:19:54
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Update of 01 September 2008

The end of August provided strong motivation to progress on the canoe; so much so that I took a couple of vacation days, that allowed me to keep up with or even surpass my planned construction schedule.

The inwales and outwales were scarfed together, with cuts made on the compound sliding mitre saw. I joined them before dressing down to final dimensions so the alignment was less critical. Tapering the long pieces, for about the last 30", was made quite simple with a jig, using a couple of hold-down clamps I bought earlier, with purpose unknown at the time. The subtle angle between the straight and the taper was smoothed over with a hand plane, and the end brought down to the correct final width.

I machined scuppers into the inwales with a 1/2" router bit. Cutting into the wood, where at least 1/4 of the bit circumference is touching wood, seems to cause a lot of burning, which is very visible on the ash. I spent a lot of time with a 1/2" dowel and sandpaper to clean it up, and ease the edges. I applied two coats of epoxy, knowing it was much easier to apply to the inside of the scuppers before installation. The surfaces to be bonded, to the hull and to the decks, were left uncoated.

Before attaching the inwales, the epoxy on the hull must be sanded where the inwales are to be bonded. I chose to sand the entire inside of the hull, thinking it would be easier without the inwales in the way. Most of it was done with a random orbit sander, making good use of the flexible pad to reach all of the surface. The ends had to be done by hand of course, with liberal use of paint scrapers to clean off the lumps.

Gluing the inwales was not as difficult as I anticipated. An extra set of hands helped, to place and tighten clamps while the inwale was held in position often with quite a bit of force. The tapered ends made curving the sheer line up to the stem a bit easier. Screws hold it except at the ends where the inwale thins. By the time the second inwale was installed, the clamps removed, and the hull trimmed flush, I measured the width at the midpoint, and discovered the sides needed to be pulled out over 4". A temporary thwart is clamped in place to hold the overall shape while measuring the deck openings.

Machining the inwales.                   2nd inwale clamped and screwed on                         Temporary thwart clamped on

I dithered about the design and material for the decks. I want the decks to extend as far as the chevron design at the ends: approximately 25". The curve of the sheer line is about 5/8" away from a straight line in the centre, so 3/4" stock will not be thick enough. I went through all my offcut collection of hardwoods, and soon realized I would have to actually buy some additional wood. I wanted something that would come close in colour to the dark parts of the chevron design, and eventually found a hardwood with very similar colour before coating with epoxy. I doubt it will reach as dark a shade as it is hardwood, while the chevron used a softwood. (Not mentioning species deliberately ... there will be a species itentification test!) I cut tapered lengths of this wood, mahogany from old door styles, and a bit of walnut. The blanks were epoxied together last night, and I will begin the shaping and fitting today. It should be on the water by about mid September!

Update of 07 September 2008

The decks are now completely shaped, but I have had a lot of trouble with cracks in some of the wood. I pried open and reglued everywhere I could, but as I cut deeper into the wood as I shaped it, more cracks kept appearing. I decided to fibreglass the underside of the deck, where most cracks are, to ensure it holds together. The photo shows them with the first coat of epoxy on the cloth. I will go out in about half an hour to apply the second coat. It is cold enough tonight that I had to turn on the workshop furnace so the consistency of the epoxy was suitable for spreading, and so that it would cure reasonably well.
The decks combine the same woods (or colours) as the feature strip, as you can see below.

Underside of decks

I also cut mortises and tenons in the parts for the seat frames, glued them up, rounded over the edges, and have put on one coat of epoxy on them also.

Seat Frames: 1st coat of epoxy for sealing

Update of 14 September 2008

The decks are installed and the outside of the hull has had its first sanding with #80 grit. I cut the bevel on the outwales, and they are ready to be sanded to take out the saw marks.
Last Tuesday had a great turnout, but the shop was obviously very tight with more than 2 people at a time. So I did some cleaning and rearranging of the shop, not only to get the BMW motorcycle out where I can work on it!

Decks installed, and both inside and outside of hull sanded

Update of 28 September 2008

I have become resigned to missing my target of launching in September. There is still much to do, primarily sanding and varnishing. At one coat per night, I expect to spend over a week applying varnish.

Meanwhile, the final glued on parts of the canoe, the outwales, were installed last week, relying only on clamps and glues. I was prepared to use screws at the deck area, where clamping across the taper can be difficult. However, wedges with sandpaper glued to one face proved very handy, and clamping went smoothly.

After applying more epoxy to the spots where the fabric was exposed, I sanded and exposed the fabric again. So I added a much thicker layer over these spots, and over a larger area … hence the patchy appearance below.

taken 28 September 2008

Update of 05 October 2008

Scraping and sanding is tedious. I cleaned up the gunwales and decks, scraping and sanding to get them ready for the usual three coats of epoxy. I should mention that I am trying the approach to brightwork put forward by West System Epoxy. Rather than merely applying endless (17?) coats of varnish to wood parts that aren’t submerged, I am sealing them first with three coats of epoxy. Afterwards, I plan 4 coats of Zspar Flagship varnish on everything. The varnish and epoxy combined should provide lots of depth to the finish. In the photo, two coats of epoxy have been applied to the gunwales and decks.

taken 05 October 2008

After cutting the lines of the thwart roughly on the bandsaw last week, I started carving the finished shape with a spokeshave. Once again, the grain in the ash I was using, while attractive, changed direction frequently, and became very difficult to shape. I reverted to using a RO sander to finish rounding the curves without risking any more chipout. The results aren’t bad.

taken 05 October 2008

There is a lot of sanding in the next while, getting the gloss off the epoxy so the varnish will have a good bond. The varnish also needs sanding between coats. Tuesday night I hope to cut the groove for the caning, and start on installing the sheet cane on the seat frames.

Update of 13 October 2008

Scraping and sanding is becoming even more tedious. The last preparation getting the gunwales ready for epoxy led to too many runs to count, and a lot of work to get rid of them. I am not yet finished that. Worse still, the scraping has exposed more glass cloth, particularly just below the gunwale, that will need to be touched up again. Starting to feel like a circle: scrape and sand à apply epoxy à epoxy runs à scrape and sand … what this needs is a good, predictable, reliable, exit criteria from the loop.

The seats have both been fitted, and spacers cut and drilled to hang from the inwales. After some discussion, I went with a wider piece instead of a dowel, to give a little more resistance to the seat being able to sway back and forth. But because the seat rail is offset a bit from the solid part between scuppers, I chose to cant the spacers. The bolt holes and inner faces of the spacers are still plumb, so that should I choose in future to raise the seats higher, all that will be needed is to cut the spacers down in length. Turns out that 6” bolts are needed for all the seats. Longest I found in stainless steel in Calgary are 5”. Seems I need to place another mail order (Edmonton carries 6”).

Following a suggestion from Murray, I tried suspending the canoe from the rafters, so I could work comfortably on the underside of the decks and gunwales (with head sticking into the canoe, á la Mr. Canoe Head). It did make working more comfortable (than hanging upside down into the canoe) and had the

taken 13 October 2008   taken 13 October 2008

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Brian's canoe building log part V
Reply #4 - 11/02/08 at 19:11:26
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Update of 26 October 2008

A concerted effort on varnishing the canoe is on track for completion. Eight consecutive nightss of sanding, vacuuming, wiping down with tack cloth, and applying another coat wrap up with the final coat on the outer hull later today. The varnish will have most of the following week to cure, as I am out of town on business.

The varnish is Z-spar Flagship, reputedly the best on the market for the application. It applies well, levels, and aside from a few bubbles and drips on the vertical surfaces, has been nice to work with. It had to be ordered from Boatcraft in Edmonton.

taken 25 October 2008

Two coats on the outer hull, and four on the inner, gunwales, and decks.

I will be trying to install caning on the seats today as well. I routed the grooves for this installation yesterday, and unfortunately, the depth stop on the plunge router moved, and I cut about ¼” too deep on half of one seat. As a result, I glued in wooded fillers on the straight parts, and filled the rounded corners with epoxy. I will recut that part today, to the proper 5/16” depth for the spline I am using. As I said above, I will be out of town next week, so there is no Tuesday session. I expect to install the seats, thwart, and stem strips next weekend, and if weather permits, launch the canoe on Sunday (02 Nov)!

Update of 19 October 2008

There comes a time when you have to say you have done all you can, and it is time to move to the next step. That occurred this weekend. The epoxy is declared done, and it is time to move on to the final finish. It is, after all, a canoe first and foremost. I will live with a few marks and flaws.
I started with varnish on the inside of the canoe, as well as gunwales and decks. The colour has returned, as the photo shows.

taken 19 October 2008

I have two coats of varnish on the seat frames, the seat hanger pieces, and the thwart. The heat is turned on in the shop to keep the temperature up for the varnish to dry and cure. With four coats minimum called for, and maximum one coat per day (minimum 12 hours recoat time), the daily pattern will be: sand the last coat, clean up the dust, wipe with tack cloth, and apply another coat.

Update of 02 November 2008

Paddling on Glenmore Reservoir; 17.5 C.

« Last Edit: 11/10/08 at 03:12:09 by Administrator »  

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