The finished product

July 23, 2015 § Leave a comment

Over the weekend I took the latest canoe out for a test paddle and I was reminded how long it has been since I’ve updated the blog. I left off in November in the process of fabricating the inner gunwales. Rather than describe the process of attaching them (which I described for an earlier build), I’d like this post to discuss some of the tricks I employed with this build.

As for many builders, glassing the inside of the hull is a challenge. The fiberglass moves around, pulls this way and that, and generally misbehaves. As a result, the final result often contains those dreaded air bubbles. For the worst of these, I used a small drill bit and (by hand!) drilled an opening into the bubble. Then, with a syringe, I injected epoxy.

Installing the seats is always a nerve wracking process (for me at least). You have to trim the lengths of the main cross pieces and repeatedly test the placement of the seat. In the last builds, this process has scratched the inside of the hull, which at this point will have been varnished. For this build, I used felt pads on the ends of the seat supports (the kind used for furniture) so that I could dry-fit the seats without scratching the hull to bits.

felt pad

Finally, I’ll leave you with a couple of pics of the finished product. I’m especially happy with how the bottom of the hull turned out.



And her’s a side view (with my first ever build in the background).


The next build, which should be starting in September or so, will be a kayak.

Installing the seats

April 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

Today saw one of the last steps in the construction of the canoe — installing the seats. This is definitely one area in which you want to measure twice, cut once and to make plenty of allowance for adjustments. My initial measurements were made as follows:

The cardboard measures 10 inches from the bottom of the canoe while the adjustable cross-piece enables me to measure length. The masking tape on the gunwales marks the location of the front of the seat.

I`d had all kinds of notions of fancy seat hangers. In the end, I opted for simple lengths of ash that I had left over from ripping the gunwales. Because the hangers were pretty narrow, I opted to use stainless screws (rather than carriage bolts) and a dollop of dookie schmutz to fasten the seat to the hangers and the resulting assembly from the gunwales.

The final result appears as follows:

All that’s left now is varnishing. Almost three months to the day from starting this project, the canoe is almost done!

Building canoe seats (part 2)

March 22, 2011 § 2 Comments

I left off part one having built the canoe seat frames. The nylon webbing finally arrived, so I was able to finish the job (hence the part 2 now).

After the joints had cured, I routered the edges off and varnished. The seat frame is now ready for some nylon mesh.

I plotted the location of the strap on the seat frame and then cut the strap to length and stapled one end into place.

nylon mesh canoe seat

Then, using a lever (the use of which is nicely shown in a video here), I added tension to the strap.

A bit of  stapling, weaving, stretching, and more stapling later, I have some nice canoe seats.

nylon mesh canoe seat

Building canoe seats (part 1)

March 1, 2011 § 1 Comment

Because I want to hold off on fiberglassing until the weekend, I have several days on which I can work ahead on a couple of tasks. The first of these tasks is building the canoe seats.

This is one area in which free, how-to information is a little hard to come by on the internet, so I’ll take a little more time on this one in case anyone wants to avoid my mistakes.

The basic dimensions are as follows:

Now, I know what you’re thinking: Thirteen inches wide? Whose butt is thirteen inches wide?

And you’re absolutely right. It could have been wider, but I have faith that no one’s posterior will be too put out by the meager real estate of the seat (least of all my wife, for whom 13 inches will be no doubt spacious).

(Note: in later builds, I’ve used 13″ seats in the stern and 16-18″ seats in the bow.)

Moving on then…

I ripped some pieces of ash to about 1.5″ x 7/8″ and set about aligning the seat. Note the clever use of the table saw as a work surface. I really do need a real shop at some point…

While the whole thing was clamped, I drilled some countersunk holes. I then glued the ends and used some wood screws to keep the frame assembled. I then glued dowels into the holes.

And voila, in short order four seat frames are done. I’ll cover the sanding and webbing in another post.

Why four seats?

Because there will be more canoes. Oh yes, there will be more….

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