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Thread: Orange Otca

  1. #1
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    Default Orange Otca




    According to the records, the Old Town canoe with serial number 106703 is an 18 foot long, AA (or top) grade, Otca model with red Western cedar planking open mahogany gunwales, a keel, and a floor rack. It was built between June, 1930 and January, 1931. The original exterior paint color was Princeton orange with the name "Kelek" painted on. It shipped on January 17th, 1931 to Duntons Boathouse at Weybridge, Surrey, England. It has been patiently waiting its turn in my garden while I sorted out another couple of boats.



    Kelek is a Turkish word with different meanings:
    Adjective

    1. fickle
    2. stupid
    3. partly bald

    Noun

    1. (botany) crude cantaloup
    2. A kind of raft used on rivers


    I think this Kelek is named for use on rivers! When I remove the canvas I might find traces of the name under the different coats of orange paint the boat has had over the years.

    Initial inspection shows 4 broken ribs with associated plank damage,





    a bit of rot on the keel,



    and new canvas



    is all that's needed as well as stripping and re-varnishing all the woodwork. David, the owner, has already removed and re-caned the seats and is sorting the repairs on the floor rack.

    The boat has a lovely Thames licence plate dated 1937 which will be going back on.



    First job is to remove the various bits that might get in the way or be damaged by paint stripper, then to do a couple of tests to see which stripper works best. In the past I have found some strippers work better than others on different varnishes: Cheap stuff worked a treat on my little chestnut, but as expected the more expensive stripper works best here - this boat has been well looked after so there are multiple coats of varnish to get through. I'll leave the canvas on until after the stripping as it will prevent any chemical leaking through the planks and damaging my (not) beautifully manicured lawn! I've worked out the best system is to use a hot air gun to get rid of most of the varnish on the ribs, and bubble the varnish on the planks between. This is followed by about 3 coats of stripper then scrapinig. Follow this up with a concentrated sugar soap with a scrubbing brush and it looks mostly good, although I'll need to go over some areas with more stripper and a scotch pad.

    I wonder about my approach to stripping: I do the main part of the boat first and the awkward ends last. My thoughts being that the ends are so fiddly that I might give up half way through the first one, but with doing the large main bit first, I think I have only got a bit to do until finished.

    So far during stripping I have found a quantity of filler on the bow stem tip and outwales (this will need further investigation when the outwales are removed - it will likely need a new stem tip splicing on) and can now see the extent of the damage to planking when it received damage to two of the ribs.



    More to follow when the stripping is finished . . . .

    Sam

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    Excellent another Sam build blog....
    '...you can led a horse to water but a pencil must be lead...' Stan Laurel

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    Quote Originally Posted by flat cap Andy View Post
    Excellent another Sam build blog....
    This is David Millward's canoe which Sam is bring back to life for him.

    David has the huge Red and white Stephenson's Rib canoe, a Lakefield and now this orange whopper. I need to persuade David that a smaller solo canoe might be easier to paddle and handle at 76 !
    Get Paddling!

    Blott

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    The first pass at stripping is now complete. It's an unpleasant job but quite rewarding. There is more to do - bits in corners and the like, but these will wait until just before I'm ready to sand the insides after fixing new ribs and planking.

    Next job is remove the outwales and then the canvas. The outwales will each need the end splicing at the stern where the damaged tip is.




    Once the canvas has gone you can see the amount of damage to the planking.









    It needs cutting out. A stanley knife works a treat to cut the ends, then because those bits will be replaced you can split the plank to remove it and so get at the tacks easily. On the rest of the ribs that will be replaced, Iíll have to carefully remove each tack without damaging theplank.



    The rotten stem needs rebuilding. 1st job is to take it all apart; remove planking, remove nails holding ribs to inwales, remove decks and cut away the rotten tip.









    Thatís the easy bit. Putting it all back together with new wood in place takes a little longer as nothing is square, with the inwales tapered and curved, the stem curved and the deck tapered and curved.





    Pretty pleased with the result though!





    Next up - rib replacing . . . .

    Sam

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    Removing the old ribs takes a bit of care. You donít want to damage the planking, so carefully prising up the tacks using tack lifter and then pincers hopefully gets rid of them all. The end of the ribs, where they are fixed to the inwales with corrugated nails, need either a bit of digging or the rib top sawing off then splitting.



    I canít replace all the ribs at once as there is a danger that Iíll lose some shape on the boat. The ribs to be replaced are two lots of two ribs next to each other, so I need to do one of each pair first then go back and do the other one when the first rib is fastened. The ribs for this boat were imported by the owner. They are the proper stuff Ė white cedar Ė almost impossibleto get hold of in the UK. They need to be bent over the outside of the hull at a point just narrower then where they came from Ė usually over the top of the next rib towards the end. Because one of the ribs is in the centre where there is not much difference in shape, Iíll bend it a couple of ribs down.
    I set up a block on the centre line to position the rib then start the steam. . . .



    20 minutes and a cup of tea later it looks like this . .



    The bent ribs are clamped and left to dry for a couple of days before being fitted. Previously Iíve made ribs from red cedar (easy to get) and yellow cedar (much more difficult but I know of two places) and never had too much problem. I wondered what all the fuss about bending white cedar was about but now I know: You get quite a long working time and it bends so easily.

    Battens clamped across the existing ribs make sure that everything is kept in line while fixing with tacks driven from the outside and clenched on the inside


    To do the tacks in the middle you have to either have arms like a gorilla or wait for help: I need to wait for help!

    The first one done.




    Because the weather is so bad at present, this is taking far longer than it should. I should have had all four ribs done by now; Iíd like to move the boat into the garage then I could happily continue in the wind and rain but at present the garage is being used for painting another project.Hopefully by the end of next week, that one will be out of the way.

    Sam

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    The ribs are all fitted so planking is next.

    Although white cedar is recognised as the best all round timber for canoe building, even as long ago as the Ď30s when this boat was built, obtaining it in the necessary quantities and lengths was not always easy. The Old Town Company have been using red cedar for planking since the Ď20s as it was far easier to obtain and cheaper. I can buy red cedar locally and so as to match the existing planking Iíve bought a similar grained piece. As I only need about 10 feet of planking, I bought a short length of shiplap board that I could split into 3 to give 10í x 3Ē x 4mm (or 3.048M x 76.2mm x 5/32Ē for those who prefer)

    To get the planks to conform to the curves, they are soaked and then fitted as tight as I can. If I leave things too lose, the joints will open up too much as the wood dries. The planks are fixed with 15mm clenched copper tacks as brass tacks (as used originally) need to be imported at quite a high cost.







    To drive the tacks I have a hammer with a large, slightly domed head which doesnít leave marks and then on the inside, to clench the tacks, I have an old sledge hammer head that I hammer on to. This does mark the wood a bit sometimes, but I donít mind that as I donít want the replaced ribs to look brand new; a bit of character helps disguise them. At the end where I repaired the stem, I canít get my hammer head inside the tight space, so have to use something else. Iíve tried all sorts of things to clench the nails, the best being the side of my axe or a brick hammer.



    When the planks are fitted, the outside of the boat is sanded so as to blend the new planks into the old so they shouldn't show at all from the outside when all is finished. It doesnít need anything smoother than 40 grit as it will all be covered.



    Next job will be to finish off cleaning up the insides and starting the sanding ready for varnishing.

    Sam

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    inspiring stuff.
    Propper writing in English. How do you do that? with dyslexia, bad hand eye coordination, ect. and in a foreign language.
    Sorry for all the mistakes.

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    I can't wait to see the next bit, it looks brilliant so far. Bet they measure the quantity of tacks for one of these by the lb.
    "I'd far rather be happy than right any day"..........Slartibartfast

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    inspiring stuff.
    Thanks Lennart

    Bet they measure the quantity of tacks for one of these by the lb.
    60 ribs x 10 planks (more in the middle) x 4 tacks in each (at least) means 2400 as a minimum.

    Sam

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    After stripping and the necessary repairs the insides need a good clean with sugar soap and a brush to get rid of any stripper residue and the dreaded sanding - which in some ways is even less fun then stripping the varnish as it has to be done slowly and carefully.
    The ribs are big enough to just sand in the right direction (along the grain) with 80 then 120 grit paper on a block, but the planks between canít be done like that. The proper direction for sanding is in line with the planks and the gaps are only an inch and a half to two inches. On the planks that have little staining, you can just use 240 paper across the grain as the scratches made with such fine paper wonít be seen, but if you need to get rid of any staining you have to use small bits of paper along the grain which is terrible on the finger tips. If it was a new boat, all the inside of the planking would have been sanded before being fixed so this stage would not be necessary.
    After all the sanding, I vacuum out all the dust and then start on varnish. I thin the first coat so it soaks in well. The varnish makes a big difference to the colour of the wood Ė and the new ribs really stand out




    The first coat took about ĺ of a tin and an hour and a half to complete. At this time of year, cold can be a problem so after each coat, the boat gets turned upside down, sheets are spread over it for a bit of insulation, and a couple of light bulbs are placed inside the hull. This keeps the temperature up enough to dry the varnish over night. I was really pleased when I discovered LED bulbs didnít break Ė it makes them so much more user friendly in the workshop, but they donít give out heat so I had to really hunt to find two 100W bulbs for this. Iíll have to treat them very gently so that they last!



    Subsequent coats should use less varnish and are quicker as the varnish flows better on the previously coated surface. You can see that the staining is now getting somewhere near.



    I put on three coats then sand all over with 240 paper. One more coat for now will do. Iím not varnishing the decks or gunnels yet, as they will all need sanding and levelling when I put the outwales on. Iíll do the thwarts and another full coat then too.

    Iím now quite confident with canvassing: This is the 8th boat Iíve done so I know the tools and techniques I use and all goes smoothly.



    I remember taking ages preparing the first time but this took about 4 hours from deciding that today was a good day to do it, and getting it back inside and everything put away.



    Next up Ė filling and undercoat.

    Sam

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    Amazing work yet again Sam.
    I really do enjoy your build and restore blogs so thanks for taking the time to post them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by samB View Post
    I was really pleased when I discovered LED bulbs didn’t break – it makes them so much more user friendly in the workshop, but they don’t give out heat so I had to really hunt to find two 100W bulbs for this. I’ll have to treat them very gently so that they last!
    Don't panic. You can still buy 100w filament bulbs.

    They can still supply them for "special" applications. If you search for them online as "100W heavy duty" or "100W rough use" you'll come up with loads of hits.
    "I'm not getting in a boat which is DESIGNED to go upside down."

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    Quote Originally Posted by stinkwheel View Post
    Don't panic. You can still buy 100w filament bulbs.

    They can still supply them for "special" applications. If you search for them online as "100W heavy duty" or "100W rough use" you'll come up with loads of hits.
    That's useful to know. Thanks.
    I should probably invest in some.

    Sam

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    @sam Can you clear your message box i want to send something.
    or can you mail me at
    lennart dot bal at g post = mail dot com
    Propper writing in English. How do you do that? with dyslexia, bad hand eye coordination, ect. and in a foreign language.
    Sorry for all the mistakes.

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    Message box empty

    Sam

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    The filler I use is really designed for sealing basements against water seepage. Traditional filler takes a couple of months to be ready for painting, the basement paint I use is ready in two weeks. It has now been a week since I painted on the second coat, and the boat has been outside drying.

    While waiting, I have been working on repairs to the outwales and keel. The keel is made of oak and had damage at one end. I have cut off a section about 1M long and scarfed a new piece of oak on in its place. Although the English oak Iíve used is much lighter than the original, it will all be painted so no one will see.



    The outwales had three areas of damage:



    One end had rotted and broken off. Iíve scarfed a new piece on there . . .




    . . . there was a section where the top edge had broken off which has been repaired . . .



    . . . and an end where the tip had broken off.



    This was repaired using old wood from the rotted end.







    The other repairs will need staining. All these parts will have their inside faces varnished with a couple of coats before fitting.

    Over the next week, Iíll fit the outwales and work on the finishing of the gunnels and decks while the filler on the hull continues drying.

    Sam

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    Hi Sam, I'm going to intrude if I may. I have just obtained a free to me abandoned Mirror Dinghy (Heresy, heresy) with a hole and some decayed inner gunwhale. As you know, I'm not really a boat builder, more of a bodger, but I know how to repair the hole. I don't want to replace the whole gunwhale, but let in some smaller pieces. I see from your blog that you scarf your joints. As part of mine will be insitue, this may be beyond me. Will but joints do??
    I post this here rather than PM so that others can gain from your advice.

    Peter

    Impcanoe

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    MMmmmmmmm . . . . . . . it depends!

    Scarf joints are so much better because of the massively increased surface area for the glue to act on. End grain does not glue well at all with any glue. By cutting a scarf, you expose some of the side grain to help the glue and increase the glue area by a large factor (obviously 1:10 scarf is better than 1:4 scarf = bigger area)
    If the gunwhale is not primarily for strengthening purposes or rigidity then a butt joint would be fine. You should though (but I can't see your boat) be able to cut the scarf in situ fairly accurately then fix them with glue to the hull and existing inwhale, and screws through the scarves to the outwhales . . . . . perhaps.
    So much depends on things like how structural they are, whether looks are important etc. You might be ok to butt joint and then glue a reinforcing strip to bridge the old and new wood either underneath or on the surface.

    So many options - no clear reply!!
    Hope this helps

    Sam
    Sam

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    Yep Sam. It confirms my worst thoughts. I'm about to jet wash the hull, and then I'll know a bit more. I can buy spares, but the attraction of a freeby is to keep it as cheap as possible. I might pm you some photos.

    Seasonal greetings

    Peter

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    I trimmed the edge of the canvas, varnished any bits of the inside of the inwales that Iíd missed then refitted the outwales. Iím using all the original bronze screws so they all needed a quick clean on the brass wire brush. The new ends to the outwales had to be trimmed to match and the replacement ribs needed to be cut down so that the whole lot could be sanded level.











    A bit of stain where needed then multiple coats of varnish, not forgetting to varnish the thwarts at the same time. Thwarts now fitted with original diamond head bolts . . .




    . . . and the colour of the mahogany is really beginning to show.

    One of the coamings needed replacing, so I cut two pieces so I had a spare and steamed the first successfully. A gas canister was the nearest curve I had.




    I let the piece dry to set its shape before cutting to size and fitting.







    Then a bit of staining to match the old wood....



    followed by varnish and it's done.



    A week off for Christmas, by which time the varnish will be hard enough to turn the boat upside down to work on the hull.

    So all we need now is fix the keel and seal it, then undercoat Ė sand - undercoat Ė sand Ė fit stem bands - colour Ė colour Ė sand - colour Ė clean stem bands Ė replace painter rings and licence plate . Or something like that.

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    Nice job on the repairs Sam, the mahogany adds a nice rich look and those diamond headed bolts set it off a treat.
    What colour does the owner want on the hull?
    Atb Terry

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    Thanks Terry
    Quote Originally Posted by terry. young View Post
    What colour does the owner want on the hull?
    Atb Terry
    I was saving that as a surprise - but it probably won't be an Orange Otca!

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    No disrespect to anyone who has an orange boat but I
    Don't think the orange colour would do that boat justice.
    Looking forward to seeing the surprise colour.
    Terry

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    That's a shame.
    I thought it looked great in orange, and slightly different to the norm as well.

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    The keel is fitted with new brass screws and screw cups. Because the keel is (mostly) original, it isnít too tricky to fix by myself as itís just a matter of making sure itís the right way round and then lining up screw holes. Once two screws are in the rest is easy. The first job feels bad,- putting a couple of holes through the newly filled canvas. When that is done, I line up the keel and screw it down at those two holes. I can then go along and fit all the other screws into the old part of the keel. With the new end, I have to make sure the keel is dead straight, then drill pilot holes from inside the boat before fitting the screws.



    When all is done, I draw a pencil line around the keel then loosen off all the screws so I can lift it up about Ĺ inch. I run a bead of frame sealant down each side of the screws just inside the pencil line then screw things up tight. The keel Ė hull joint is finished with a damp finger to give a smooth curve



    A few light bulbs give out a bit of heat and help me see where the screws need to be.



    The weather over the last couple of days has been far too cold for undercoating, but the forecast suggests it will be warmer next week so Iíll have to wait.

    Happy C'new year to all my readers.

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    Today was much warmer so the first undercoat has gone on. It takes quite a while to do and probably on Tuesday, I'll end up sanding most of it off!



    Sam

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    After all the effort of putting the undercoat on, the only way to get a good finish is to sand most of it off. 80 grit by hand or 50 grit on a small sander soon has it done. . . .

    ~[IMG]

    . . . . .and then it's time to start again. White this time. 1st job it to use a small brush to paint the join between the canvas and the outwale. This needs to be sealed so that water on the boat (upside down on land) will not run in and get trapped to go on to cause rot.

    [IMG]

    ~[IMG]

    The main area is covered using a foam roller.


    ~[IMG]

    This coat will also be sanded before the colour starts to go on, hopefully by the end of the week.

    Sam

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    This coat got a good sanding so that now we are ready to start getting some colour on

    ~[IMG]

    Then worked out I'd need grey undercoat . . . .

    So a thin coat of that . . . .

    ~[IMG]


    Then the first coat of colour (in black and white!)

    ~[IMG]

    The first coat always looks patchy and this is no exception. It will get another coat tomorrow, if I find time. After that, I'll need a hand getting it outside and 280 wet and dry will leave it ready for the final coat. While it's outside, I'll give the garage a good cleaning to try to minimise the inevitable dust.

    Sam

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    black and white picture, love it. Nothing like keeping us in suspense.
    i'm guessing red due to the undercoat,

    Terry

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    no comment!

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    Almost there.

    ~[IMG]

    Sam

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    Same colour as the garage door?
    '...you can led a horse to water but a pencil must be lead...' Stan Laurel

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    No, not rust and flaky

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    Since painting, the boat has been outside while the paint cures.
    Itís put up with fog . . .

    [IMG]

    Rain . . . .

    [IMG]


    Ice . . . .

    [IMG]

    And the odd bit of good weather too.

    [IMG]


    While it was dry 24hrs after painting, it takes weeks to fully harden, but now itís ok to be turned the right way up to finish the final bits.
    I need to carefully re-sand the gunnels, decks and thwarts with 240 paper and give them a final 2 coats of gloss varnish, then fix the stem bands to the deck, add the painter rings, and remount its original 1937 registration plate. It will have to stay put for at least 5 days after varnishing to make sure itís dry enough before turning it upside down without making marks on the gunnels.
    Unfortunately, the launch has had to postponed, so once the boat is back outside I might give you a colour picture just to complete this blog. Wouldn't it be funny if the boat was dark grey?

    Sam

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    dark grey ,mahogany and brass, is splendid.
    Propper writing in English. How do you do that? with dyslexia, bad hand eye coordination, ect. and in a foreign language.
    Sorry for all the mistakes.

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    Well it might be, but you'll just have to wait and see.

    Sam

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    Today the Ex - orange otca was launched. I only have a couple of photos, but Blott has more which I'm sure he'll post in time.

    So here it is, in colour:

    ~[IMG]

    Thanks for watching!

    Sam

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    Here we go from the re-launch at Houghton Mill today. One happy customer with his OT OCAT back on the water. Well done Sam!





    and they are off!!











    Get Paddling!

    Blott

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    Stunning!

    The colour really suits that canoe.
    Covering as many malmiles as possible before being distracted by the pub!

    Paddle Points - where to paddle

  40. #40

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    great stuff, look forward to the next rebuild.
    Propper writing in English. How do you do that? with dyslexia, bad hand eye coordination, ect. and in a foreign language.
    Sorry for all the mistakes.

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    Thank you kind people. You really do need to get yourselves a wooden boat!

    Sam

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    have one as you can se in the profile pic, not a price of atr at all, but wood and floating
    Propper writing in English. How do you do that? with dyslexia, bad hand eye coordination, ect. and in a foreign language.
    Sorry for all the mistakes.

  43. #43
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    Floating is good!

  44. #44
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    Brilliant

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    Beautiful, great job, no wonder the owner is smiling. Those big canoes look amazing on the water.

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