On scarfing

February 7, 2011 § 2 Comments

As I mentioned earlier, I don’t have the facilities to deal with 16′ strips, so I have to make them out of shorter strips. Enter the scarf joint.

This is the preferred joining method. Our friends at Wikipedia have this picture:

I’ve used a block plane to scarf the strips in the past, but then discovered the following method (which combines scarfing with the possibility of a manicure). I usually use two hands, but one is holding the camera.

canoe building: belt sander

I have a little mark on the base of the belt sander to indicate the length and a block to achieve the desired angle. In this way, all of my scarfs are exactly the same. Because I’ve been so picky about keeping the strips together, I end up scarfing the same end of neighboring strips, and this ensures that the grain and color will be more or less the same and will make the joint less evident.

When I’ve scarfed two cedar strips, I glue and clamp the scarfed ends using little clamps that I thought were pretty useless before I realized that they could be used for scarfing. I now know what with canoe building, there’s no such thing as a useless clamp.

canoe building: scarf joints

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§ 2 Responses to On scarfing

  • Miguel Tobias says:

    On scarfing. Would love to have much more detail. What are your markings on your sander? Measurements, angle? The joint will not come apart when the wooden strip goes through the router?

    • rstruck says:

      The length the scarf (the sanded portion of the strip) is about 2 inches. You’ll have to experiment with your particular configuration. I router the strips before scarfing (which is a function of how much room I have to work with). If you router before scarfing, just be sure you clean up any thin curls of wood on the bead and cove before gluing. Otherwise, the strips won’t seat properly against each other. Hope this helps.

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