TRI to keep it WILD - Raising funds for Nature Conservancy of Canada

Sunday, October 19, 2008

From boards to a boat

I've been working on building this canoe for almost 10 months and up until now I feel like I have just been putting the pieces together in the shape of a boat. In the last two weekends though I have started to turn the collection of wood strips into a real craft with flowing lines that will actually someday grace the water. Last weekend I shaped the rough-cut outer stems into the aerodynamic leading and trailing edges of the canoe. It was some of the hardest work so far as it was a lot harder to use the spokeshave on the cherry hardwood than it was for the softer cypress and I had to be careful as I blended the stems into the hull not to damage to the edges of the cedar strips. Then, this weekend I completed the tedious, but gratifying task of pulling all of the staples - about 700 of them. I was just slightly worried that this step would result in the boat springing apart, but that did not happen. With that done I pulled out the block plane and shaved off all of the rough corners on the canoe where the edges of each strip come together with it's neighbours. It left a mountain of cedar shavings on the floor. While the hull is still rough it looks better already with the rounded edges. Next step will be to fill in the narrow gaps between some of the strips with colour-matched epoxy. The strips come together pretty tightly over much of the hull but there are some fair-sized gaps that need to be filled where the strips turn around the bilge amidship. I tested out the random orbit sander with 80-grit paper on the first two stations on one side to collect some cedar dust to mix with the epoxy.

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