Friday, 23 May 2008

Das Boot!

Now the canoe takes on the normal 'rockered' shape and all is right with the world!

Off my rocker!

When the bottom panels and the bilge panels were stitched together I was alarmed to find the boat coming together wit a lot of 'reverse rocker' i.e. the bottom of the boat was concave when it should be convex! It wasn't until the side panels were stitched on and the 3 spreader bars put in place did the canoe take on it's familiar boat shape. I breathed a sigh of relief at this point as I had envisaged starting the whole thing from scratch! Oh the value of patience!

A stitch in time.........

Next job was marking out the stitch holes for the copper wire. Tedious job, but quite easy. The copper wire was simply ring main stripped of its plastic coating and snipped into 4 inch lengths.
The holes were drilled with the trusty cordless drill and a 1m.m. bit and the stitching part of 'stitch and glue' came together.

Butt at last!

After a long, cold, East coast winter when the temperature never even approached double figures it became obvious I would be asking for trouble using epoxy resin in such temperatures. It wasn't until April when the temperature rose sufficiently that I got the credit card out of mothballs and bought epoxy, hardener, fibreglass tape and glueing powder (filleting blend, it was advertised as). This little lot was £88 and the biggest cost to date. Raif was badgering me to get the canoe built in time for the coarse fishing season so I bit the bullet and .............
Using cat food tins and marked sticks for measuring along with some gluing powder soon had the butt joints sorted. I did come a cropper with the side panels though as these joints were not taken from the straight edge of the plywood but were marked and cut by me......Big mistake! Very hard to cut a straight edge with a jigsaw and expect it to join up at the correct angle. Next morning I ended up with the two side panels not matching at all! I spent a couple of hours sawing through the epoxy joint of the worst panel (This stuff sure does stick!) I then re glued it up on top of the 'best' panel as a guide with some plastic between so as not to stick the two together. This worked and next morning all the panels matched (Thank God!)

Saturday, 3 November 2007

Panel sanding

Having cut out all the panels I matched them all up and clamped the same ones together at both ends, put each bundle in turn in the woodworkers vice on the bench and carefully sanded down to the lines with a belt sander. The advantage of using a sander and not a planer was the sander had a more gentle action in removing the waste wood and the panel edges didn't require hand sanding afterwards, so it did two jobs in one. Bloody noisy though! Hence the ear defenders.
Next job is cutting out the butt joints.

My God! I'm going bald!

Is that a bald patch I see beginning or a trick of the light? Cutting out was relatively straightforward, just needed to take my time and not let the saw jam or let the cable get tangled. I avoided the jams by letting the cut end of the panel drop down onto a stool supporting it with my left hand as I cut.

Measure twice, cut once

Having marked out both sheets of ply the cutting out began. I used my trusty 15 year old Black & Decker jigsaw with a laminate cutting blade especially for ply and laminate sheets. I set it to top speed but the lowest pendulum setting for the cleanest cut. I made each cut as close to the pencil line as possible to avoid too much planing/sanding. Using my left thumb to guide the saw along and stop it wandering too close to the line.

Friday, 2 November 2007

Compound curves

The trick with the batten worked well but I needed something more flexible when marking out the tighter curves of the bow panels. I used a length of plastic overflow pipe I had lying about. I hooked a luggage elastic into one end and made a slit for the elastic in the other end. This enabled me to make an adjustable curve simply by pulling the elastic through the slit.

I then had a useful and inexpensive (free!) tool which did the job brilliantly!

Learning curve

Having marked out the plywood with the measurements provided on the plans it was time to join up the dots. I'd seen various methods of doing this but came up with a simpler solution. Using a long thin batten and quick release clamp at one end I bent the batten and clamped the other end while it was still bent. This gave me a gentle curve to play with. It was just a matter pulling the batten into place and joining the dots with a soft pencil. Worked a treat! Bottle of Diet Coke and TV are optional (but necessary!) extras.

Getting the measure of things....

I decided to use what was available locally to keep down costs, and build the canoe as well as I was able. Being a reasonably capable woodworker I think I stand a good chance of building a good boat. By taking my time with the build and looking at all the options and advice on the web I think I may just achieve that.

First job was transfering the measurements from the plans onto the plywood.

Mistake No.1! I should have followed the advice in the instructions and marked out and cut one of each panels, using them as a template for the rest. This would make for greater accuracy, and is the reason the designer puts that info in the instructions in the first place! My measuring was pretty close to the mark though so it was no major problem.

I bought a decent size carpenters square from 'Focus' DIY store for about 4 quid and 'squared off' the sheets of ply into 300mm sections. Then took the measurements from the edge of the panels or the centre line depending on which panel I was marking out.

Monday, 29 October 2007

............Just make a start.

Having cleared the garage and painted the floor the next job was providing a bench to mark out the ply. This was an old school woodwork bench I got from a farm auction 'donkeys' ago. I often thought I would find a use for it. The plywood for the project is WBP exterior ply from the local Jewsons woodyard. Pete, the man in charge was very helpful and also found me some fairly knot free Scandinavian Redwood (Pine to you) and had it cut my specs. The whole lot cost around £56 and was transported home in Sonia's horse trailer.

The big clean up!

Now that the decision had been made to build a 'bathtub', as some wag on the SOTP forum nicknamed the canoe, the next problem was where to build. My workshop floor, walls and ceiling hadn't seen the light of day for 8 years so it was cleared and the floor( well the bit I could get to!) was painted to keep down the concrete dust.


Having decided on a canoe the next hurdle was which one? I'd taken a shine to the Selway Fisher Peterborough/Prospector type as a stable and easily managed craft. The thought of 'stitching' together 5 panels of ply per side did put me off a little. I eventually settled on a design by Michael Storer that Raif posted to me. 'Eureka' was the design and Michael was very quick and helpful in answering my questions.
Plans paid for and downloaded I enlarged them on the works copier to A3 size and laminated them. This made them water proof and protects the plywood from coffee cup rings while building!

Sunday, 21 October 2007

Decisions, decisions

This summer has been a depressing affair. Bad weather, poor fishing, too much DIY and too little time. It looked as though this trend would continue into a dismal winter until I decided I needed a project to keep me sane. I had the bright idea of getting the 'punt' out! The punt being a plywood affair I built 20 years previous to fish the local reservoir for pike when we lived in Chesterfield. It soon dawned on me that although it was still seaworthy it was totally unsuitable for the narrow Lincolnshire waterways.
I fish occasionally with a chap called Raif (Fly Fishers’ Republic)
We've fished together on and off for over 30 years. One of the places we love to return to is the upper reaches of a major midlands river. Raif has many times expressed the wish to canoe up this little river and fish back down it.

Then another bright idea struck me! I would build a canoe! It would fulfill both our dreams and Raif and I could paddle up our little river and I could fish the local drains and rivers. Building the thing was down to me. Raif had just taken possession of a little girl, Katie, and I was the only one with the time and space to construct it.
The saga begins!!.................