Chipping at the Freedom

After I installed the decks, I concentrated on finishing the outwales, seat placement and thwarts. The outwale install was okay but I had a couple of issues. First, I had some gaps between the cedar hull and the ash outwales. This was just cosmetic near the top surface, and I filled them with epoxy + wood flour.

Each end of the outwales was screwed through the hull and into the deck. I used a fostner bit to counterbore the outwale. Using brass screws is tricky because they are soft and need a larger pre-drill so that it doesn’t bind before the threads catch into the deck. I used some birch dowel to fill the counterbores. I would have preferred walnut dowels but I didn’t know where to get any and I didn’t want to make them.

Next I worked on hanging the seats. I simply followed the guide from Canoecraft and didn’t come across anything unusual.

Before finishing the seats I had to replace the hardwood dowels in the corners of the caning with softwood. I shaped a bunch of tapered dowels from cedar using a Japanese rasp.

One big “oops” was when I realized that I had forgotten to remove the masking tape from underneath one of the outwales when I glued it to the hull. That meant that I had to cut and scrape a whole bunch of blue tape that was epoxied to the hull. Yuck.

For painters holes, and for attaching end ropes to the canoe, I decided to use bored dowel. I bought a 1″ birch dowel from Lee Valley. I then used a 1″ spade bit to drill through the hull. The area was wet out with thickened epoxy and the dowel was slid through the hole. Once set, I used a 1/2″ spade drill bit to bore through the dowel. The fit was pretty tight between the hull and the dowel and unfortunately on one side of the hull the fiberglass/wood was stressed and displaced when the dowel was inserted. I’m not sure if there will be any last effects, only time will tell.
painters hole

Finally I varnished all of the thwarts and gunwales. I was really pleased with how the decks and gunwales turned out. The thickened epoxy I used for gap filling between the outwales and hull was a non-issue. The varnish made the wrc turn a very dark brown, which really complements the lighter gunwales that sit on either side of it.

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