Strongback for the Freedom

Holy moly batman, I haven’t updated my blog with canoe stuff for a long long time. Where to begin… Well, I should say something about the strongback. I first started with a 6×5 boxbeam setup that is typical for kayak building whereas canoe builders often go a bit bigger. I created two 8′ long sections and a 4′ long section. Hot glue was used to hold the plywood boards in place while everything was nailed together (brad nailer). I then added a few screws to help secure everything. The 4′ section sits inside the the ends of the 8′ sections, joining everything together. As I had anticipated, this nesting of beams wasn’t super easy. Well, it was sort of easy but that is because I was a bit sloppy.

I then mounted the boxbeams on some stands that I had made, and leveled the stands. When this was done I realized two things. First, not everything was level. Secondly, the box beam was way too high.


After a bit of thinking I decided to re-do the stands. This time I did them exactly as described in CanoeCraft. I made the legs and cut out sections in the box beam to accept the legs. Because my legs were wider than the boxbeam (since my boxbeam was narrower than specified in Canoecraft), I was able to cut slots in the legs and slide the legs into the boxbeam that way.

strongback from underneath

Prior to mounting the boxbeam on the legs, I reassembled the beams on the floor making sure everything was straight and level. While still on the floor I screwed the sections together. Once the boxbeam was lifted onto the legs, it was easy to level the legs and bingo! everything was golden.

strongback is fixed

With the strongback assembled, adding the forms was dead easy. I just took my time with the spacing and working the for/aft level. Since the strongback was dead straight, the forms were extremely easy to align.

aligning forms

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