Friday, December 27, 2013

Prep, Set Up, Stripping.........

Ok, like I said, I had prepared the strips earlier in the fall while the weather was still warm.  The next step was to prepare the station molds.  I could have lofted the measurements from the CanoeCraft by Ted Moorse but decided to purchase the plans from Bear Mountain Boats.  This way the lines would be professionally faired.  By the way, Canoecraft is the main reference source that I am using along with the forum on Bear MountainBoats and the builders notes on Green valley boat works website.  

The prospector style boat has a symmetrical hull meaning forward and after of the centre line are identical.  For this reason I was able to make two stations at once rather than one at a time.  To make the stations I screwed two sheets of 5/8” plywood together, trace the station outlines onto the wood, then cut it out with the band saw, and faired the edges on the belt sander.  Then unscrewed them.  

There are definate steps to building a canoe.  Preparing the materials, setting up, stripping, sanding.........  The more time you spend in prepping the parts and setting up, the better each step will go along the line.  As part of the preparation step, after the stations are made, the inner and outer stems have to be made.  This involves steaming, and bending 6, 1/4 inch strips for each stem.  The strips are steamed to make them pliable then bent and clamped in place on the stem stations that were prepared along with the rest of the stations.  After letting them dry for a week the strips were laminated together in groups of three to produce the inner and outer stems.


On to the set up.  Each station as well as the stem stations are now screwed to the strong back with 12” spacing.  This step in the process will make or break the whole project.  All stations must be aligned carefully to ensure the boat will have fair curves to the hull.  If even one station is out of alignment the the boat will have a funky shape and it won’t perform properly.  Now is the time to slow down and take your time.  After spending hours staring at imaginary lines, taking careful measurements and attaching temporary strips to get a feel for the shape and curve of the craft, it is time to start stripping.

This is the stem station screwed to a set of saw horses.  The inner and outer stems are made of walnut and are parepared longer than needed.  They'll be cut to length later.  The white duct tape helps keep the stems from sticking to the station if any glue runs down.  I used a sacrificial strip of pine to protect the walnut from being damaged by the clamps.

The strong back is basically a 15 foot long saw horse that the stations are attached to.  The stations are typically set 12" apart.  

Temporary strips are attached in key locations.  Sighting along these strips will quickly reveal any stations that are out of alignment.  

This photo shows the string line along what will be the bottom of the boat.  This is used to centre everything.  Here I'm sighting along what will become the sheer line.  This is the most important line on the boat.  If this first strip isn't right then every one after will be wrong.  It also defines the look of the canoe.  At this point I  spent hours staring at the imaginary boat.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Maskwa Paddle Co. Chestnut Canoe Build

Earlier this fall I began another boat build.  This time I decided to make a cedar strip chestnut prospector 16.  This is the same style of boat that Canada’s canoeing guru, Bill Mason, paddled.  Only his was a wood canvas.  Actually the dimensions for this boat were taken by Bill Mason from his own canoe.  I purchased the station plans from Bear Mountain Boats.

Here are a few specs:

·         Length 16'
·         Maximum beam 35"
·         Beam waterline 33.25"
·         Bow height 19.25"
·         Centre depth 13.25"
·         Displacement 420 lbs
·         Draft 4"
·         Wetted surface 27.2 sq.ft.
·         Prismatic coefficient 0.510

Like I said, I began this build earlier in the fall.  I wanted to mill the strips before the snow fell.  The strips are 17 feet long so I would need at least that much space on either side of my table saw.  My shop is only 24 feet long so that meant I would have to feed the lumber in through the overhead door.  I had purchased around 60 board feet of 4/4 clear rough cut cedar from a local lumber yard.  Milled it to the required ¾” with a thickness planner.  After setting up the table saw and router table with a 16 foot out feed table I got to work ripping and milling strips.  The strips are ¾” wide by ¼” thick, 17 feet long, with a bead milled on one edge and a cove on the other.  It took me a couple of full afternoons to mill 1700 feet of strips.  Once finished I bundled and stored them on a temporary shelf until it was time to begin building.

Ripping 1/4" inch strips is a dusty job.

In order to have enough length in the shop for the 16 foot out feed table I had to move the table saw close to the over head door.  An old pallet with a roller worked well to support the portion of the board that extended into the alley.  I actually had to temporarily block off the alley so that vehicles passing by wouldn't hit the end of the board.

Milling the bead and cove.  Here's the temporary router table with 16 foot out feed table attached.  Feather boards help guide the strip into the cutter.  Produces a more uniform strip.

video