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Thread: wood for wren gunwales

  1. #1

    Default wood for wren gunwales

    Hi All,
    Thanks for the help so far. I'm about to order the wood for the gunwales for my self build Wren. Any wood/size recomendations? I'm a little concerned about bending them into shape?

    Any help would be great.

    Cheers

    ADAM

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Johnstone
    Posts
    293

    Default

    Adam
    I cant give you much advice on bending gunwales as I had nothing but hassle with mine.
    trying to get anything for as cheap as possible I ended up being given a load of Iroko ( which I believe to be a form of teak ) I managed to bend the first three ends , but that last end .
    Needless to say I cant talk about it
    Harry
    p s Any wood as long as it's not to hard
    Guy Fawkes
    The only man to enter parliament with honest intentions

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Scotland
    Posts
    273

    Default

    Hi mate,

    I recently built a Raven (similar to the Wren). I spoke to the guy in the timber yard and he recommended what I think he called 'red' pine. It wasn't too expensive and is effectively knot free. Try to avoid anything with knots as these are natural weak points and could snap under the high stresses involved when bending the gunwales into shape.
    In terms of technique: I started by attching the gunwale at the centre with g-clamps and putting a couple of small brass screws in to hold it in place. I then worked outwards with the g-clamps, drilling and screwing as I went. Once I'd got it all fitted I took it off and repeated the manouver with the epoxy glue.
    It took a LOT of pressure (and about 8 g-clamps) to get the ends in place and in the end I used a combination of brute force and cunning use of planks and g-clamps to get them to fit. This is why I reckon it's best to avoid wood with knots.
    I left the g-clamps in place till I was sure the epoxy had set. Obviously I just left the brass screws in. It's a bit fiddly but if you do use this technique put something like a piece of scrap ply between your gunwale and the g-clamp or you'll end up with little circular dents in your gunwale!

    Some people steam their gunwales to fit but I couldn't be bothered making a steamer and the above technique worked OK with the careful application of prescision swearing.

    Matt

    PS- My plans said either pine or spruce is good.

  4. #4

    Default Gunwales

    Thanks both,
    What size wood did you use? I'm thinking of using 1" * 3/4". with the 1" side against the ply side. I will use the wrapping in a towel & boiling water technique to help with the bending, this and plenty of G clamps.

    Cheers

    ADAM

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Scotland
    Posts
    273

    Default

    Hi,

    From memory I used 35mm x 15mm for my inwale and 15mm x 15mm for my outwale.

    Matt

  6. #6

    Default

    Hi Adam,
    Funny you should ask that. I have just glued my outer rails on today. I was thinking of using a hardwood but was concerned about where the wood was sourced so went for pine.

    Don't go to one of the 'sheds'. It's all horrible stuff with knots every 6" to 12". I went to my local Travis Perkins (which used to be a local independent timber merchant) and told the nice man in the wood yard that I needed 15" of clear (ie no knots) pine strip 1 1/4" by 3/4". After some going through the racks we found two strips just as I needed.

    I would find a decent timber yard and tell them what you need.
    Cheers,
    Steve

  7. #7

    Default Photos of the gunwhales gluing

    OK second post with pics to show my outer gunwhales being glued into place.

    Lots of clamps! I just started in the middle and worked fore and aft a bit at a time.
    I have been using epoxy exclusively so far but after No1Birdman's discussions about the advantages of using polyeurethane glue I bought a 12 bottle of 'Gorilla Glue'. I lightly misted the surface of the ply and then used a paintbrush to spread a thin-ish layer onto the rail (used about 1//3 of the bottle). It has foamed out of the joint which I will have to clear up in the morning but I applied gentle pressure down on the ribs with a size 10 boot while pulling up on the rail and it seems to have followed the right line.

    At the ends the rail needs to twist more to fit the lines of the sides and I resorted to putting a bolt through the ends (which I had left over-length anyway).

    The bolt is near to the bottom of the rail and turned the ends under to match the stem.
    Cheers,
    Steve

  8. #8

    Default chines

    Hi, i see i have converted u to poly glue, much easier to use. New idea for making frames like yours, use a sheet of 3/4 ply say your canoe 24in bottom 30in top with 12in sides, draw out on ply measure 1 to 2 in in for thickness of frame and cut out, therefore leaving another piece ready to do the sme for the next frame, i have never sean a frame built of ply but i am using it on my latest boat a 10ft rower. Has for bending timber i usually soak wood support each end and weight in middle leave overnight, only use cheap wood from anywhere as long as not to many knots. Never used gorilla glue i use lumberjack but they are all the same.

  9. #9

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by adam View Post
    Hi All,
    Thanks for the help so far. I'm about to order the wood for the gunwales for my self build Wren. Any wood/size recomendations? I'm a little concerned about bending them into shape?

    Any help would be great.

    Cheers

    ADAM
    Well really I'd only ever choose ash or cherry, they're tough, easily workable and bend if you organise the soaking and steaming right. Most tropical woods look grand, but get stringy where they're paddle worn. Remember that fine gunwales really set a boat off (just check out the picture on the front of Stelmok and Thurlow's cedar/canvas canoe book), both in form and function. The effort will be worth it. ...and don't forget the future need for a little cleaning and oiling from time to time, to.

    CM

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    ashprington totnes
    Posts
    22

    Post timber for trim

    most builders yards have no idea about timber quality,knots are not a problem in the average stud wall.
    your best bet is a proper timber yard or a friendly(or grumpy) local boat boat builder.
    timbers to use areouglas fir
    Red pine
    Ash (probably the toughest with good flexability)
    Mahogany type:sapele,khya ,utile or true mahogany.
    Iroko (grain direction varies so it can break when bending but is the best bet for long term durability if you can find a good peice.
    Teak(even better for durability but your boat builder will need softening up with several pints not to mention dosh!

    Bending Soaking is a good alternative to steaming.What works well is wraping in old rags and polythene then applying tension to the ends to give strakes pre bend(don't over do it all in one go ,come back later and add more bend)You can leave this several days so you end up with 17ft long bow!
    Alternativly soak at least overnight then clamp to hull taking your time(the wood fibers need to relax into the new shape)Try to do boath sides of the hull in the same sesion otherwise you will distort the hull symatry.If you can It's best to let the timber dry and relax into it's new shape while you go out and scrounge more clamps(I know you never had enough).
    Glues Pu glues such as Balcotan , Easybond,are great for jobs like this as they are moisture curing and therefore tolerent to damp and cold workshops they do also tolerate small gaps.
    (tipnce you have used the glue bottle try to squash it forcing out any air then put the cap back on leaving it scrunched up.This will prevent a solid layer forming on the surface.)

    hope all this helps GRUMPY(Sometimes)BOATBUILDER.

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