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  • Spare time = more boat building

    So I finally have an extended period of free time...last few years have been hectic-10 houses, most with major rehabs, in addition to a more than full time career.
    But now, nothing urgent for the next year or so.
    So far, I have:
    1. Bought, repaired and retitled (almost) a totaled Jeep Wrangler.
    2. Started the long delayed suspension and drive train mods on my 1977 Jeep CJ5.
    3. Cleaned the boat shop...
    Which leads to??
    Yup, time to build another strip canoe.
    I'm going to build a 17 ft tandem, same design as the one Neil borrowed.
    What the heck, I have so much time, maybe I'll build two!!
    This particular hull is my favorite tandem, fast, yet seaworthy, goes straight when you want, and pretty lightweight. An easy build, especially after that DY and its crazy tumblehome. After all, the old boat is 25 years old and really starting to suffer.
    If anyone is interested, I can run another step by step thread. Maybe some folks that are dreaming of their own stripper will stop by and see the process first hand...
    I also just gave a talk about boat building at a ski/hike/bike club I belong to.
    Pretty good turn out and lots of the same questions...
    Anyway, if anyone here is still trying if they could build their own strip canoe, soon would be the time to stop by and observe.

  • #2
    "Yes" to a step-by-step thread!
    "Yes" to letting me know when to visit!
    It will be fun to watch your progress.
    A boat builder with free time is a good thing!
    "We still do not know one thousandth of one percent of what nature has revealed to us." Albert Einstein
    "Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father." Matthew 10:29 "But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows."
    Luke 12:7

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    • #3
      dang... too far to visit. i'm planning on something this fall, when it cools down. either a Bob's Special or the Ranger, both Bear Mountain Boatworks plans.

      Anyone know which one more correctly mirrors a 1944 Old Town Common Sense 15' model?

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      • #4
        Nice!
        I'll stop in Mike!
        Just let me know when.
        Congrats on your extended period of free time !

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        • #5
          OK, guys...I'll run a step by step again. And if you live anywhere not too far, don't be shy about stopping in, but you may be forced to help!!
          I already have the forms left over from long back...they have been kicking around the house for over 25 years, still very usable!
          Once again, the boat is 17 ft OAL, 28.5 wide at the 4 inch water line, 15 bow ht, 12 midship ht, 13 stern ht, 1 inch rocker with a slightly uplifted bow, very mild tumblehome. This is a very comfortable, speedy hull that can handle big and little water, yet can carry adequate amounts of people and gear. This is my own design. The materials will be Western Red Cedar, 4 ounce fiberglass inside and out, epoxy resin, mahogany trim. Probably around 40 lb finish weight.
          So far, I have cleaned up the boat shop, and layed out the strongback for the form spacing (12.75 inches form to form). The strongbak is borrowed from one of my business partners, it's chock full of holes from multiple uses. No pictures yet, but here is a view of the hull sections.
          Attached Files

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          • #6
            Originally posted by stripperguy View Post
            If you live anywhere not too far, don't be shy about stopping in, but you may be forced to help!!
            When's a good time to stop in and help out?

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            • #7
              Justin et al,
              Just pm me and we'll arrange a work schedule!!
              Here is a link to the build photos:
              http://picasaweb.google.com/tomaszew.../NEW17FTCANOE#
              Not much going on just yet, but it will be taking shape real soon.
              Here's one photo of the swiss cheesed strongback, you can see the old forms on the floor to the left of the strongback.
              Attached Files

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              • #8
                Pretty expensive build so far...Had my Nikon D80 precariously perched on the strongback and in the battle between gravity and friction, my camera accelerated toward the concrete from 3 feet up. Damn gravity! The body is OK, but the lens, not so much. So I'll need to play catch up with the photos as soon as I can borrow my daughter's wide lens. I wanted to get that Nikon 18-200 VR lens, now I have an excuse!

                But the good news is I have all the forms reattached to the strongback and aligned!! Just need some masking tape and I'm ready to start stripping.

                For those of you that aren't familiar with the process and terms:
                The strongback is a temporary spine that holds the temporary forms that shape the canoe. The form edges are covered with masking tape so the edge glued wood strips only stick to each other...it would be bad juju if the strips became stuck to the forms! The wood strips are temporarily stapled to the forms and to each other to force the wood to conform to the correct shape. Later, the staples are removed and the wood sanded to be smooth and pretty. Add some fiberglass and epoxy resin, and voila!!, you have a canoe.

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                • #9
                  Update:
                  So far I have broken my camera lens, made and installed new form mounting blocks, mounted all the forms, aligned the forms and purchased the Western Red Cedar.

                  The forms are 26 years old and the old mounting blocks were made from scrap 2 x 4's. I replaced these beat up old blocks with newer 2 x 6 blocks. I planed the bottom surface and 1 edge of these 2 x 6's, then screwed the forms to the freshly planed 2 x 6 edge. The other freshly planed surface of the 2 x 6 then mates with the top of the strongback. This way, the forms sit perpendicular to the strongback and don't require any shimming. Then the forms are held securely with carriage bolts.
                  All of the forms have a centerline drawn on them. This centerline is aligned with a centerline on the strongback. I used a chalk line to create a straight centerline on the strongback.
                  As a final check, I run a chalk line from stem form to stem form, and make sure that the form centers are all in line with each other at the keel line. Once I verify that everything is aligned, I carefully tighten the carriage bolts.
                  The next step is to apply a couple layers of masking tape to the forms, so the strips don't end up stuck to the forms.

                  I bought 5 pieces of Western Red Cedar, 1 x 6 x 14 ft from Curtis Lumber in Ballston Spa, NY. This should be enough to give me about 100 strips. I don't bother with lumber longer than 14 ft, I usually butt splice the strips anyway, and:
                  1. Full length (over 18 ft) lumber is hard to find.
                  2. I've found that 14 ft is about the longest that I can handle by myself.
                  Anyway, I scrounged through the pile at Curtis and found some Cedar with really nice grain and coloration.
                  So that's the next step, cut the wood into strips 7/32 inch thick...
                  Here's a couple photos showing the forms and how they are attached. In the background is the wood for the future strips as well as some strips leftover from the last build.
                  All the photos are here, not too many yet:
                  http://picasaweb.google.com/tomaszew.../NEW17FTCANOE#
                  Attached Files

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                  • #10
                    Do you profile the strips with a cove and bead? Thoughts? Adhesive? Any thoughts on using something like polyurethane Gorilla Glue vs PVA?

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                    • #11
                      Mr. Paradox,
                      No, I don't cove and bead my strips. I have helped out on a cove and beaded build, though. The process of cutting the cove and beads adds way too many hours for my level of patience. And the cove cuts leave a fragile, feather edge that is easily damage during handling. While the cove and beads lock together and give a very straight hull (less sanding), the damaged cove edges require more sanding to remove. The only advantage that I admit to is that there are no gaps. Although, I generally don't have any gaps between my strips anyway.
                      I also helped on a build where many of the strips were painstakingly beveled...again, not worth the effort, IMHO.
                      As for the glue, any common PVA is just fine, I've used Elmers, Titebond and Weldwood, never tried a polyurethane. Those polyurethanes expand, and are waterproof, right? I'd be concerned about an expanding adhesive putting load on my strips, enough load and you could lose shape.
                      Besides, the glue need not be waterproof, it only has to be strong enough to survive sanding, and last long enough to get the glass on. But if you want gap filling, well, see above.

                      Are you building now? Or getting ready?

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                      • #12
                        Just thinking my way thru the process at this point, but was really drooling watching your last one! Showed the last thread to my daughter's boyfriend and he was ready to clean out my garage for me. On thinking it thru, I agree on the urethane, I used some on another project where I wanted waterproof and was surprised by the amount of squeeze-out and how it foamed up. The joints were gap free, but they had been clamped, which really isn't practical here. Good point on the coves, too. I guess the cedar is malleable enough and where or if you needed a better fit on a tight bend it would be easy enough to ease the inside edge a few thousandths by sanding. I guess, ultimately, the resin fills everything. - Denis

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                        • #13
                          You ought to give the bead and cove a try. It's worth the extra hour or so it adds to the process. Set up is the time sink, once you've got that down it's very fast. I've done both and the bead and cove definitely comes out better with less fairing afterwards.

                          Dick

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                          • #14
                            I've posted a close up photo of the worst gaps that I have, that DY Special had an extremely radical tumblehome and maybe a 3" radius at the tightest...but even those tight curves were no problem. there is a slight gap near the outer skin, but that was filled with glue...if you look through the hull, there is no light visible through the joints. This new 17 ft hull, and most canoes, have mostly gentle curves. Ultimately, I only build these boats to be practical, (fast, seaworthy, lightweight) if they happen to be easy on the eyes, that's just a bonus. If they have their flaws, at least they're cheap to build!!

                            A note on economics:
                            The cedar was $200 with tax.
                            4 ounce fiberglass cloth will be $115 (20yd @ $5.75/yd) plus shipping, no tax.
                            3 gallons of epoxy resin will be $156 plus shipping, no tax.
                            Throw in another $100 or so for Mahogany trim (including seat frames), sanding disks, varnish.
                            Total = $571 in materials, or so. More than it used to cost, but still a good deal.
                            Attached Files

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                            • #15
                              Very interesting Stripperguy. We are enjoying seeing the progress. What is the estimated total weight of the finished product?

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