Started the Seat Caning

I started caning the stern seat last week, and so far it is going fine. I’m using the instructions from Gilpatrick’s book “Building A Strip Canoe,” and his descriptions and photos are very good. So far I’ve finished doing the vertical and horizontal strips, and 1/2 of the first diagonal strips. I’m not entirely clear on how some of the cane pieces are going to be tied off but I suppose it will work out in the end.

sanded and varnished
I sanded the frame to 220 grit and varnished with a MiniWax Spar gloss finish. I tried a few different things to pass through the holes but I didn’t have the patience to coat all the holes with varnish…

1/2 finished the caning
1/2 finished the caning on the stern seat

Inwales Are In

I glued the inwales in a couple of weeks ago. I haven’t updated the blog because I’ve been going full-tilt on the canoe every chance I get, and I’ve been having some family fun camping in BC!

A couple of notes about the inwales:
1. I used my belt sander as a substitute for planing the final shape of the gunwale planks before installing. It was fast and gave a nice flat surface
2. One inwale I forgot to roughen up and sand the epoxy surface to which it was glued. Hopefully it won’t fail…
3. As usual, my craftsmanship in finishing details was not perfect, shaping the inwales as they meet in the stems left some gaps. Overall it wasn’t too bad. At least I didn’t cut an inwale too short and have to start over again.

And now some pictures…

cutting a slot
Another famous sluggo jigging setup. I borrowed a drill press to bore some holes/slots into the gunwales. I added 4 slots near midship instead of scuppering. Drill presses are really handy.

ready for glue
Masked, sanded and ready for glue.

joint
One of my joints at the stem.

One in, one to go.
One inwale in, one glued up.

Some Updated Canoe Photos

The gunwales are a work in progress while I wait to get a hold of a drill press so I can add some decent drain holes/slots. In the meantime, I’ve finished making the seat frames and need to drill some holes and paint the wood with urethane prior to caning.

mortise and tenon

glued

First Seat Frame Is Glued

I managed to get the first seat joined and glued last night. I opted to try and do mortise and tenon joints. I was a bit reluctant to do this because I’m not much of a craftsman but the other options were much more appetizing. I thought a simple lap joint might not be as nice and I didn’t want monkey around with holes and dowels. The dowels would be a good way to go if I had a drill press (mmmm, drill press). Anyways, I sucked it up, bought a 1/4″ chisel, put my dado blade on the table saw and went for it. I sharpened the chisel with my Norton water stones and I must say that I got what I paid for when I bought the $10 chisel from Rona. The blade couldn’t hold a good edge very well at all. No worries though, it still works.

First I practiced and did a test mortise on some scrap wood. Using the width of the chisel as the width of the mortise, I then set the height on the dado blade to make a matching tenon. It only took a few minutes to cut the four tenons. It took around 2 hours to cut all four mortises and epoxy it all together. My work wasn’t perfect but I hope that after sanding the joints will look good. One change for the next seat is that I should put a layer of epoxy on the tenon before coating it with thickened epoxy for gluing (white microfibres as the thickener).

Having never used mortise and tenons before, I’m not sure how “right” my joints were. The tenons slid in easily but I don’t think there was any slop, especially after the seat frame is assembled.

Photos of my finished gunwale scarfs

I finally finished scarfing the gunwales. My second attempt went very well, but one joint got a piece of dirt or debris in it. Using weights and having the planks side by side, it was very difficult to see if the joint was good. The one scarf therefore didn’t have a tight fit and the joint was barely glued. I pulled it apart, sanded the surfaces flat, and glued it again.

Scarfing the Gunwales

This past week’s goal was to scarf the gunwales. I cut the scarfs using a sled based on the one shown here.

Here is a pic of my sled, it is essentially the same as the one in the above link but not as “nice.”

I first tried to epoxy the scarfed pieces together using epoxy thickened with some fine sawdust from my table saw. I placed a brick over the 4 joints and called it a night. The next morning most of the joints and shifted a bit. I decided that 1 brick for all 4 boards at once was not the way to go, and I also decided against using thickened epoxy. Since the scarfs were cut quite accurate, the joints fit together nice and tight and I don’t need any “thickeners” in the joint. I cut through the epoxied joints with a hand saw, trimmed new scarfs with the table saw, and laid everything out again. This time I carefully placed 1 brick per joint. I’m hoping it all works out, I should know by later tonight.

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