Hull Construction (May-June 2001)
Click on photos to enlarge.
Laminated inner and outer stems after steam bending. It took 3 tries out of the kettle-and-tube steamer before I got quick enough to bend the stem pieces all the way around the form.
Installing the inner stem on the mold. Stems were held in place with large elastics made from truck tire innertubes. Next time I would be more careful about where I place the bolts through the form because two got in the way when I was stripping. The same goes for the cleats on either side of the bottom of the stem mold. They extended too far out and had to be carefully chiseled away to make room for the short strips near the tip.
Grouping cedar strips according to colours. Next time I will remove ALL the strips from the tube and sort them. I sorted each bundle of 20 as I worked. I would have had more options had I taken the time to sort through all of them at the beginning.
First strip. Next time I would make sure the 'L' shaped brackets are more secure. They became looser as the project progressed. It probably didn't change anything once a number of strips were in place but better to be safe.
Four strips. Next time do not put the rubber bands (cut inner tubes) on so tight. There was too much pressure on the strips forcing them to 'zig-zag' one over the other. They need to be firmly held together for glueing, not tightly clamped.
Pegboard hooks to hold rubber bands made from truck inner tubes. Next time I would use the same system. The pegs could be easily moved around the molds to achieve the correct positioning and tension for the rubber bands. I first envisioned using long bolts but that would have been tiresome moving them around or require many more.
Cut the centreline.
Installing the outer stem. Next time I would glue up the outer stems the same way. The rubber bands worked very well for this part.
Scraped and sanded silky smooth. Next time I would be less meticulous on the sanding job. It doesn't need to be perfectly smooth. The fibreglass/epoxy covers up quite a few imperfections. The same goes for small gaps between strips. I spent hours trying to fill every little gap but discovered after fibreglassing that the epoxy flows between and they are virtually undetectable.
Outside fibreglassed. Thanks go to Ross for being my mixer on the wet-out coat. I really did NOT enjoy the fibreglassing part of the project. Next time take more time to be more meticulous about the entire application process, and squeegee sooner rather than later.
Harness for holding hull upright. Next time put a little more effort into it. It was tight and ended up leaving small indentations on the side of the hull. Other than that it worked well. The boat could be tilted to a 45 degree angle making it easier to work on the inside.
My first good look on the inside revealed lots of glue to be scraped, especially where the molds meet the hull.
Inside fibreglassing was a nightmare! I did a poor job and ended up with numerous large and small air bubbles and creases. I used a syringe from a nearby vet to inject epoxy into the smaller air bubbles. Where there were larger air bubbles I sanded the glass down to the wood and reapplied cloth and epoxy. Next time more patience, mix smaller epoxy batches and consider vacuum bagging?
One inch hole drilled into hull for painter hole. Next time be more careful with the drill. Also, use a bit that is slightly smaller than the size of hole desired. Then hand sand to fit the plugs. The lower the painter hole the more stable the canoe when lining. So I installed the painter hole just above the waterline to maximize stability but not interfere with the hydrodynamic integrity.
Studs drilled out for painter holes, as descibed by John Michne.
Drilled studs installed as painter holes (but not yet cut flush with the hull). Next time take more care to ensure the grain on the plugs is running parallel to the strips. Not a major problem but it would have looked nicer had I done so.
In order to further reduce the total weight of the canoe I decided to use a single gunwhale made of Sitka Spruce. A 1/4+ inch groove was cut down the centre of the 3/4 inch side of the gunwhale using a router. I got the idea for this gunwhale system from Jay Morrison, who used it on his Bob's Special. Next time I would probably do the same again, though only time will tell if this system is sufficiently strong. I don't know if it would work with hardwood. Next time I wouldn't bother using a table saw for the initial groove cut. I was concerned the router would be too 'wild' and hack up the wood. So I used a table saw first. It was a waste of time because the router worked fine with the jig on it.
The one-piece gunwhale was then fitted on top of the sheerline strips and epoxied in place and held firmly with duct tape until dry. Next time don't be in such a hurry and be more careful with the dry-fitting - I cracked one of the gunnels when removing it. This should really be done with two people.
Both gunwhales installed. The bottom of the gunwhale, on the inside only, has a fillet joint of epoxy/sawdust for extra strength. Next time get the fillet nice and smooth the first time. They get pretty hard to sand so a nice neat application would make things easier.
Rough cutouts of Sitka Spruce decks.