It has been a little while since my last post, but that doesn't mean I haven't gotten anything done. My time has been taken up by a few other things in the last months, but most weekends in April I have been able to get out to the garage to do some stripping. I have had a lot of good comments from people passing by too. I've found its a very good way to meet people in the neighbourhood!
I'm still talking about building my canoe of course. The first thing I have done since my last post was to start shaping the stems. I worked on the bottom half of the bow and stern stems for almost a whole weekend it seems, shaving down the corners with spokeshave and sanding stick so that I will have a rolling bevel on both sides from the gunnels down to the bottom of the hull. The bevel provides a flat area to glue the strips to at each end of the boat and gives the bow and stern a pointed aerodynamic end. Sitting at my desk on the Monday after I realised that my arms were quite tired from all of the sanding. I think when I am more experienced I will be able to do it a lot faster. To begin with I was too nervous about taking off too much wood with with the spokeshave.
With the stems shaped about half way up, I was ready to put on the sheerline strips. (Those are the two along the edges of the hull) I found out immediately that simply stapling the strips on to the forms was not going to work as the strip kept springing back and the staples were popping out of the forms. I solved this problem by cutting out several L-shaped brackets to clamp the strips to the forms. Then I could not decide if I wanted to use staples at all or if I wanted to try the "stapless" method of just using clamps. I ended up cutting out just about all of the brackets that I would need before finally deciding that I would be better off using the staples for my first boat at least. Anyhow, my bracket-cutting efforts would not be wasted as I used them to clamp the sheer strips firmly to the stations before stapling them in place. I will leave the sheer strips clamped this way to keep them secure until the boat is ready to be fibreglassed. Also, I will have some brackets available to clamp the strips as I make the turn around the bilge, where there is a lot of twist in the strips and the staples alone will probably not be able to hold them.
After getting the two sheer strips on, I was able to get a couple more strips on on each side. Once I got the hang of it it went pretty smoothly, laying down a bead of Elmers wood glue in the upward facing cove edge of the strip below and pressing the next strip down firmly while putting in the staples. It was close to 30 degC out today and it started to pretty warm in the garage. When it comes time to fibreglass I'm going to have to start early in the morning or else the epoxy will cure in a few minutes I think.
As always there were lots of people asking me what I was doing while I worked. Most people call the project "ambitious". I met one fellow from Minnesota today who says he has a carbon-fibre canoe but he hasn't found many places to use it since moving to California. hmm. Another elderly lady said to me that I better work faster because summer is almost here!