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Thread: Repairing a wide board and batten canoe

  1. #1
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    Default Repairing a wide board and batten canoe

    This is the start of my repair blog for my wide board and batten canoe, first seen here. It has been waiting patiently for other boats to be repaired for other people, but now has finally been moved into the garage so that work can begin. I think this will be quite a slow process, as Iíve never worked on a boat like this before and there is very little information available. There is a book being written by Mike Elliott at present and if I was to ship my boat back to Canada, I could have it repaired for the cost of the materials as part of research and developing techniques for the book. The type of boat construction is not common and he has been asking for donor boats with that offer for about 6 months now. This post is just an introduction that will be added to as I progress. The boats name is June Ė so that is when I hope to have it finished by.

    Before we begin, a history lesson:


    My canoe was made by the Canadian canoe company in Peterborough, Ontario. The company started in 1892 and the last of this type of construction were commercially built around the mid 30s, so this gives me a starting point for ageing it. It was imported by Salter Bros Ltd of Oxford, so it must be after 1915. Looking at the Salter Bros history, they mention that in 1930, 21 canoes that were out-sourced from Canada; I wonder if mine is one of those?
    It was owned by Lightfoot and Deacon of Bedford where it was in use as a hire boat during WW11. Judging by the state of the varnish it had been stored up in the roof of the workshops for many years Ė probably awaiting repair. It was sold to me by the grandson of the founder who obtained it after the workshops were finally cleared in 2007.

    This type of canoe was the first attempt at building canoes commercially. It seems the first ones in 1857 were built using a dugout canoe as a form, but soon, custom made solid forms were been used. The ribs were oak or rock elm and the planking was usually basswood. These boats were developed before the steel bands were introduced, which means as the planks were nailed to the ribs, the nails also went into the form. The boat had to be prised off the form and the nails were all bent over and the battens fitted at the plank joins between each rib before decks, thwarts and gunnels were fitted. The earliest board and batten canoes had just 2 planks each side. This became 3 then 4 as time passed. Mine has 4 planks so will be a later canoe.
    I have a copy of the C.C.Co 1894 catalogue. I was surprised to find that because three different types of canoes could be built from one form (cedar rib , cedar strip, and wide board and batten) in the catalogue, there are just three canoe models, differentiated only by the length you wanted and the decks. The ĎNassauí has short 2í decks like mine, the ĎChemongí has longer 2í6Ēdecks and a coaming around the cockpit, and the ĎOtonabeí has long 3í decks and 3Ē decks along the sides with a coaming. Each model came in 7 different qualities defined by construction technique. íAí quality were cedar strip using cedar and butternut strips with copper and brass fittings ($48 - prices for 16' boat), ĎBí quality were the cedar rib canoes ($52), ĎCí an ĎDí were strip canoes with single type of wood ($41cedar and $39 basswood) and ĎEí the same as ĎDí but painted and using iron instead of copper and brass fixings ($36) . My boat would have been ĎFí as it has copper and brass fittings ($32) and ĎGí had iron fittings ($25). Having also seen a 1929 catalogue, Wood canoes were by then only available in one model with short decks but still in all the qualities. Now called the ĎCanadianí all wood, the price for the 16 foot model in quality ĎFí has risen to $70. For this size boat only, the model has been re-numbered 16 Ė all dimensions are the same.

    [IMG]

    I think I can confidently say my boat is a Number 16 ĎCanadianí All Wood Canoe in ĎF quality, built probably in the 20s or 30s.


    My boat has had quite a hard life. After initial assessment, and apart from the stripping, sanding and varnishing . . .

    ~[IMG]


    There are repairs to the planking where another piece of basswood has been nailed inside between the ribs and battens to give a double thickness . . .

    ~[IMG]

    A hole in one plank which needs either a patch putting in or a double thickness making . . .

    ~[IMG]

    There is a plate fitted under the gunnel where it has a crack . . .

    ~[IMG]


    The brass stem band is in 5 pieces at one end . . .

    ~[IMG]


    Damage to the stem at the other end . . .

    ~[IMG]


    There is also a piece of planking missing . . .

    ~[IMG]


    Ė and, as if that wasnít enough, the big damage where most of a plank has been removed following some accident which resulted in 10 broken ribs.

    ~[IMG]

    This will take some thinking about and problem solving as the ribs go under the keelson so removal will be difficult. I might just fit in new ribs on the damaged side of the boat that run alongside the existing one. Another slight problem is that the planks are basswood which I can only find in the uk in small pieces from model supplies shops. Basswood is a type of Lime, so I will use that instead and worry about any colour differences later.

    I'll probably spend the first part of this project cleaning and stripping while I work out ways of repair.

    Sam

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    As I said last time we met, I have a "free to a good home" Mirror dinghy in my garage.I has one easy hole to repair, a few bits of inwhale to replace, a small bit of hull to cut out and replace, and stripping and painting. Bar the inwhale, I've done all this more than once to other boats. I think we have had 7 Mirrors to date. However, I'm completely over awed by it. Yet you just keep rolling along with yet more impossible projects.

    Its not only wood working skills, but the mental strength. Good on you !! (I've got to July!!)

    Impcanoe

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    My problem is that I perhaps enjoy these challenges too much: The wheel arches on the van haven't been started yet (MoT in June so plenty of time ), half the house needs redecorating inside and out (although I did manage to undercoat a window frame last summer) and the garden is a mess, but I've repaired / refurbished another boat since we last saw each other.

    Sam

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    This looks a really interesting boat and project Sam. Thanks for the history. Do I assume that you are keeping it as all wood and do not plan to put canvas on it?
    Best of luck with it.
    Peter

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    Hopefully it will be all as original with the planking on show. If I can't make it water tight my next option would be clear glass and epoxy but I'll avoid that if I can. I imagine I'll probably end up using g-flex in some joints as I can't imagine them all being tight after around 85 years.

    Sam

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    Today I started by getting the remaining varnish from the outside. This was simply a matter of scraping and didnít take too long. It will need sanding and some of the nails will need setting so that I donít damage the heads.

    I decided I should tackle the end with the missing bit of plank and damaged stem next. Thereís a bit of everything involved Ė fitting planking (so Iíll have some idea what Iím up against when I get round to THE BIG ONE), then steam bending a new stem and shaping it, repairing a bit of damage on the deck and splicing on a short piece of gunnel on each side. First job though is take it all apart.

    First take off the stem band which involved drilling a couple of screws out then using a screw extractor. This stem band is flat backed unlike other canoes Iíve worked on which had hollow backs. Removing the damaged stem, by splitting it allowed easy access to the screws. I was surprised to find it was fastened with steel screws. Luckily they were in good shape and came out easily Ė apart from the top one which had all but disappeared. It looks like someone had previously tried to drill it out. Iíll fit the new stem with brass screws. Bending the new stem will bean adventure!

    ~[IMG]

    ~[IMG]

    Next is taking the deck off. This just had screws through the gunnel and planking holding it. It came out easily but does have some damage at the tip of the deck cap which will need looking at and probably replacing.


    While the deck is off is the time to start stripping. It's not too bad using a hot air gun and a shave hook. Iíll need to reshape a scraper to get into the corners and small panels. The longest part of the procedure is getting the gooey varnish remains off the shave hook between scraping each panel. Itís like chewey toffee and sticks to anything when hot, but cools to a rock solid lump. I worked out a system which makes things easier using 3 shave hooks and a tub of water:
    Heat the varnish and get rid of most of the varnish using shave hook #1. Put shave hook in water to cool the goo

    ~[IMG]

    Reheat the varnish and get rid of as much of the rest as possible using shave hook #2. Put shave hook in the water to cool the goo

    [IMG]

    With shave hook #3, go round the ribs and battens, put shave hook in water.
    By now, 1 & 2 have solidified and the old varnish can be easily scraped of when this is done, do #3,

    [IMG]

    then start next panel.


    [IMG]



    Iíll go over each panel twice before deciding (and I probably will) whether to finish with a chemical stripper or not. I really wish there was a simple quick way to do the stripping so I could just concentrate on the fun bits, but (I hope) it won't be too bad if I do a bit each time in between the more rewarding bits.


    With the deck out of the way I could remove the remains of nails from the ribs and battens, where the plank was missing. These are harder to get out than the tacks on a cedar canvas boat as they are through the basswood plank, then into hard wood ribs, before being bent over and flattened. The nails arenít tapered either (apart from the point) and they hold well despite their age. Getting rid of the heads and punching them through to the inside works best.
    I tidied up where the new piece of plank has to start, removing nails and chamfering the edge so that the new nails will go through both the new and existing wood.

    [IMG]

    The new plank is a piece of basswood which I bought from a model shop. Itís way too light in colour and will need taking down to match the rest of the boat. I must remember to do the inside of it before I put the deck back on. I carefully cut the new piece to shape and chamfered its edge to lap over the existing plank.

    [IMG]

    When I was happy with the fit, I drilled pilot holes for the nails (Copper 1Ēx16g) at the join and pushed them in. Next, pushing them firmly from the outside, on the inside I bent the bit sticking through downwards. I wet the outside with hot water so the nails would sink in well without damaging the wood, then holding a hammer head on the bent nail inside, I hammered the outside till the nail was flush with the surface.

    [IMG]

    I repeated this along the top and bottom edge then along the stem with two rows to match it all in. Just then a matter of trimming the end and itís done.

    ~[IMG]

    Sam

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    Iíve done a couple more hours stripping this morning so am now rewarding myself and doing an exciting bit: Starting on the new outer stem
    The original was American white oak. Iíll use English oak. I have enough that is air dried and has lived outside so I should be able to steam bend it without too much trouble. It needs to be 1Ēx 3/4 ď. Iíll put the tapered shape on it when it is in place. Iíve cut it a bit long then soaked it for a few days to get extra moisture in.

    The outer stems were originally bent on the boat so this is what I will do. When steam bending, it is important not to let the outside of the curve stretch, especially on thicker bits. This is accomplished by using a steel strap to constrain it at each end while bending. I use building band for the strap as it has pre drilled holes which will allow me to use screws to hold it in place rather than clamps.

    ~[IMG]


    Iím using the Ďboil in the bagí method as I can then keep the steam on while drilling and screwing Ė it takes the need for speed out of the job. Iíve shaped the end to fit, put it in the plastic tube and held it at the keel end with two screws. These screws also hold the building band at that end. As an precaution Iíve strapped a chunk of ash tightly on top for extra insurance. I donít want to bend the perfect curve and find itís not quite right at that point.


    [IMG]


    At the other end of the band is a timber block, bolted on so that the flat stem piece just fits, this will also act as a handle to give a bit of leverage when bending.



    [IMG]

    Final job on the strap is to mark on every 6th hole so I can space the holes evenly and not worry about counting out as I try to hold the bent stem and drill a pilot hole at the same time.

    [IMG]


    Iíll hold the strap out of the way while I start steaming then insert the steam tube at the bottom so that the steam can travel the length of the stem. The oak is ĺĒ so on the 1inch per hour rule, Iíll let it steam for 45 minutes and see how it is before I start to bend it.

    ~[IMG]


    Two people are ideal for bending Ė one to do the bend and holding, the other to drill and screw. Because I can continue steaming throughout, I maybe can do it by myself so long as I have drills set up and everything within reach.
    But thatís enough for today. The wood is still in a plastic bag so wonít dry out overnight. Iíll do the steaming tomorrow, and while it steams, and while it dries I can do more stripping: Canít wait!

    Sam

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    Steam on and all ready to go. Iíve got drill, driver and screws ready. For now Iíll use steel 1 Ĺ x8 pozis as I can put them in fast. Theyíll later be replaced but will hold everything ok until the wood has had a couple of days getting used to its new shape.

    [IMG]


    ĺ of an hour later and a slow but firm pull shows that everything is ready to bend. No pictures of the next bit as I only have two hands. Itís a matter of bend with the left hand and guide with the right. As I see the stem is against the boat at each marked hole, I drill and screw with my right hand and then repeat until all the screws are in. The timber block is strapped back to the workmate to ensure there is no straightening happening at the end. One important thing I havenít mentioned is the H&S aspect: Steam is hot and I had two pairs of long gloves on my right hand and three on my leftĖ and it still felt warm.

    [IMG]

    I just need to cut off the plastic where I can, so the stem can start to dry and I can remove the strap one screw at a time.


    [IMG]

    Lookiní good!!!!

    Iíll leave that now probably until over the weekend when Iíll disassemble it all, fix with brass screws and taper it to its final shape.

    I can turn it back the other way up now and do some more stripping Ė yippee!

    Sam

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    Stripping is boring.

    There are 242 panels

    Each panel needs 3 clean shave hooks = 726 cleanings needed

    Each panel needs about 5cm of #80 sand paper = +12M

    Each panel takes about 10 minutes to do completely = 2420minutes = 40hrs and 20 minutes. And then I have to do the outside.

    Luckily because of all the damage Iíll only have to strip 221 panels Ė so nowhere near as bad as it could be!
    But I am about a third of the way through it.

    [IMG]

    Stripping needs to be mixed in with more interesting things if it is to be endured. So far I have also replaced the first bit of planking, made a new outer stem . . . . . . . . .

    ~[IMG]


    . . . . . .and worked out how I think Iím going to tackle the first part of THE BIG ONE: If this was a cedar canvas boat with damaged ribs, Iíd take just them out and replace them. With a boat like this, you canít do that without taking the whole thing apart. When being made, the keelson inside the boat is fitted first. The ribs are bent over this and nailed to it and the nails clenched over. On top of these are the planks, again nailed and clenched, and finally the keel and keel strip is put on (at least this is screwed); so, unless you want to remove all that lot, you canít take a rib out and replace it. You can see some of the clenched nails in the photo.

    ~[IMG]

    The drawing shows how it all fits. To take it apart you have to start at the keel strip and work up.

    ~[IMG]


    What I plan to do is bend new half ribs for the damaged side and nail them in place alongside the existing ones. I should then be able to fix the missing plank to the new ribs. There will be no way I can begin to pretend that the boat is anything but repaired and un-original, but I will have saved an old boat for the future (and enjoyed the challenge).
    When I have a rib bent up ready, Iíll need to decide whether I cut the battens on the joints it crosses, or remove the battens and fix new ones.
    As I continue stripping, Iíll be experimenting to see what works best. I think Iíll be stripping the areas near the damaged bits first!

    Sam

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    Hi Sam,

    deeply impressed by your progress!

    Regarding the ribs, could you perhaps grind down the ribs in the region of the fractures from the inside of the boat to maybe half / one third thickness, remove the nails from the outside, then bond on new rib material with Epoxy (sorry :-( ) and re-nail through the existing holes into the repaired piece of rib?

    Or am I missing something?

    P
    G

    'Adventure is relative. My adventure is another's commonplace.'

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grizzle View Post
    Hi Sam,

    deeply impressed by your progress!

    Regarding the ribs, could you perhaps grind down the ribs in the region of the fractures from the inside of the boat to maybe half / one third thickness, remove the nails from the outside, then bond on new rib material with Epoxy (sorry :-( ) and re-nail through the existing holes into the repaired piece of rib?

    Or am I missing something?

    P
    Hi Peter
    That's something I thought about but discounted because I think the whole boat could do with a bit of extra reinforcement which would be given by running ribs along side. Many of them have had a tough life and so will get the same treatment to fill and repair as Blott used on the gunnel on his Peterborough rib canoe. To epoxy bits in, I reckon I'd have to steam bend the inserts anyway to get the curve, and also the cut outs would have a curved face. The ideal solution would be replacing complete ribs, but I might as well start from scratch as do that. If it was just 1 or 2 maybe, but I reckon I have 10 to do as a minimum.

    Sam

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    Looking at the deck in more detail, and giving it a good poking, I see the wood has gone soft at the tip so needs repair. The deck is made in two pieces so I will repair it the same way. Itís a matter of cutting out the old wood and scarfing new pieces on. Because the deck cap will cover most of the repair I wonít worry too much about matching the grain. On this deck the cap is broken; on the other deck the coaming is missing, so Iíll eventually remake two caps and two coamings so that everything matches and youíll hardly see the new wood. That's another job to fit in between stripping.




    Because the boat has had broken ribs for so long, it needs a bit of reshaping before I can bend up and fix the new ones. Straps around the boat with a couple of lengths of timber to push in the right places helps to reshape.

    [IMG]

    Iíll bend the new ribs inside, on top of the old and then any spring back should hopefully give them the right size and curve. The bottom of the rib is wedged in place from a timber running between thwarts; at the other end, a g-clamp. The missing plank is great as I can use a couple of spring clamps to hold it there in the middle. Iím just bending two ribs at the moment to make sure it all works.

    [IMG]

    [IMG]



    Iím going to try cutting the battens first as it has to be easier than removing them then cutting and fitting new ones. With around 10 bent over nails in each it would be impossible to remove them in one piece, and they do have to fit exactly. Iíve got an inlay saw to use Ė its curved blade should allow me to remove the bit of batten with a bit less chance of damaging the planks.

    [IMG]

    We'll see tomorrow

    Sam


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    The battens are carefully marked and cut. I have to make sure the plank is clean where the new rib will go. I clamp the rib in position making sure of a good fit with the keelson and old rib.

    [IMG]


    When the rib is in place, I drill a pilot hole down through the rib and plank at the centre of each rib, push a nail in from the outside. Nails get bent down towards the keelson and hammered down to clench properly. I can then pilot and fix all the other nails then cut the top to match the existing ribs.

    [IMG]


    At the gap, where the old broken ribs cross, l cut them off in line with the battens and trim the end when they are finally fitted as was done with the originals.

    [IMG]

    ~[IMG]


    Both the ribs that I bent up are now fitted. Iím pleased with how it went and will use the same method to reinforce the other 8 broken ribs. Iíll need to bend up and fix alternate ribs and Iíll probably clamp on some long battens outside the boat to help keep all the lines are fair.

    This boat needs to move back outside for a week or so now, while I finish work on the ĎOrange Otcaí ready for its launch mid February. Hopefully Iíll have space to machine the new ribs I need Ė and Iíll do a few spares just in case.

    Sam

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    Nice job Sam and well thought out, looks a great match.
    Terry

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    Cheers Terry.

    I do wish I had a heated workspace - I have to work fast to keep warm!

    Sam

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    Now Iíve got the boat back inside I can continue: The ribs are all machined and now need fitting. I have done extra because already I can see there are ones where the grain runs out. This is the sort of thing that causes the wood to split when bending. I can continue with the stripping as I fit the ribs, as I need to do the ribs a couple at a time to make sure I keep the shape fair. Iíll do the ribs half way between good ones each time so that no bulges or dips appear. Each rib is done over two days; soaked overnight then one day bend the rib and clamp it in its new shape and the second to nail it in place.
    Before I can start on the hole opposite the missing plank, I need to strip the surrounds of varnish so I can see the damage and work out the best way to proceed. Using my brain, I only strip the panels that are good.

    [IMG]

    I can see I need to replace a length of planking that is 6 panels long. You can see where the damp has got into the plank and warped it away from the ribs.

    [IMG]

    While doing the stripping Iíve discovered the boat isnít planked all in Basswood as Iíd expected. The catalogues Iíve seen said it would be Basswood but Iím told some board and batten canoes were made from Spanish Cedar. (Which isnít cedar at all, but a type of mahogany.) On my boat, planks 1, 2 and 4 are Spanish Cedar and plank 3, the one with most bend in it Ė and most damage, is Basswood. It looks to me as this is how it was made because the basswood planks fit so well and all the nails match perfectly right along the length. Whether this was a special order or what I donít know. Spanish Cedar is harder wearing, more durable and more expensive than Basswood. I donít know how easy it is to bend but donít have to worry as the damage is to the same plank on each side.

    This mend will be practice for the Big One. Because of what Iíve done already, Iím confident about the nailing procedure but now I have to learn to fit the plank, dealing with the fact that it has to bend in two directions. At new, the planks would have been cut from patterns but these are obviously not available to me. When the flat shape had been cut originally, the outside of the plank was soaked with boiling water poured over it, which swells the grain causing it to cup until the correct curve was reached when it was nailed down. My initial thoughts are to cut the plank oversize, hold it in place with a strap at each rib, then pour water onto cause it to bend. As it bends, I should be able to tighten the straps and then hold it in the correct shape while it sets. I should then be able to mark on the outline I need for it to fit in the gap and work from there. Luckily, I have enough Lime to practice on the smaller plank to see how it goes, but before that, removing the damage and repairing any ribs that are needed.

    Sam

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    Iíve removed the damaged planking from the 6 panels where the hole is. It felt wrong to be deliberately splitting and breaking the plank. I can see Iíll need to replace 3 of the ribs on this side too. I donít think I have cut enough! Iíll need to try bending some with dodgy grain and see if I can get away without machining more. A couple of days soaking first before a good steaming should help.

    When removing the damage, I need to be careful not to damage anything as the integrity of the boat is down to good fitting wood to wood butt joints. This shows how the nails are bent over to hold everything tight.

    [IMG]


    Itís good to be working on both sides of the boat at the same time as it means I canít run out of jobs; these ribs will get sorted in between doing the ones on the other side and carrying on stripping.

    Iíve had a reply from the WCHA forum re-assuring me that my thinking for bending and shaping planks is on the right track which is good. I donít know if Iíll be able to find enough straps though for one at each rib on the big one.

    Sam

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    Really enjoying this rebuild Sam. Can only marvel at the commitment you have to this old boat!
    "I'd far rather be happy than right any day"..........Slartibartfast

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    Thanks Mark.

    Its more of a repair than a rebuild. To get it to anywhere near restored, I'd have to strip it down to individual parts and start from scratch, in fact I'd need to renew most parts!
    Luckily my love of canoes and paddling is easily matched by my love of fixing things and problem solving, so old boats are definitely the way to go.

    Sam

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    [IMG]

    The ribs are done on the first side so I cut the plank to just over the length and width I needed.

    I had read that basswood bends really easily when hot water is applied to one side: I can now tell you that lime wood is the same. To make spacers, I cut strips and poured water from the kettle over (after pouring boiling water on a teabag - it would be wrong not to!). They bent into a suitable curve with very little pressure. Iíve taped the spacers on the outside of each rib so that the planking and spacers are level for me to bend the new plank over.

    ~[IMG]


    I have chamfered the edges of the old plank so that when I fit the new, I can just have one line of nails going through both.

    ~[IMG]


    IĎve decided my best bet will be to put battens along the length of the plank so that when I tighten the straps, they hold the plank firmly against the hull along the whole length. I decided to use steam from the wallpaper stripper rather than pour on water.

    ~[IMG]

    Two people would have made things easier, but after holding the stripper in place for a minute or so, then moving it along the plank and holding it with my knee I was able to pull the straps progressively tighter. I worked my way up and down the plank until it was tight against the hull along its length. At both ends I added a couple of wedges to hold the curve and at one end I added a ratchet strap so I could get it really tightened down.

    ~[IMG]

    About 15 minutes from start to finish - it'll take longer than that to put all the straps away! Iíll leave this for a couple of days now before starting to mark, then cut the plank to shape.

    Sam

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    When things had dried and set I took all the straps off so as I could start to fit the plank.
    The first job was to make a plank gauge; this allows you to mark the size you want even though you canít see because the plank covers the gap. The ĎLí shape slides behind the plank and slides along the edge of the gap while a pencil sits in the notch and draws a line. If I had taken all the battens off, I could have just drawn round the gap from the inside of the boat, but it would have taken a long time to get them off without causing damage, and even longer to cut new ones that fit so well and nail them back on.

    [IMG]


    When I had marked out the shape I wanted, I planed down to just outside of the line then test fitted / planed / test fitted / planed until I had it just right. The inside edges at the ends were chamfered to match the existing planks. It probably took about 2hrs before I was happy with it.

    [IMG]


    I removed it and spread a generous coat of varnish along the backs of the battens before strapping the plank in place for the final time.The varnish will help seal the gap, a bit like glue, but much more flexible so that it will stretch and contract as the wood moves as it gains and looses moisture. It is also much easier to undo if needs be in the future.
    I marked where the ribs were so I could drill from the outside and put straps and blocks just to the sides of the ribs so that I could get the nails in without worrying about the straps being in the way.

    [IMG]


    I first nailed the ribs, 5 in each, and with a double row on the ends, then along the top and bottom edges into the battens Ė about 90 nails in all, drilled, pushed through, bent over then hammered flat.

    [IMG]

    ~[IMG]


    I have to say Iím very pleased with the result. The biggest gap is just less than 1mm. That will close as the moisture content rises and also will get some saw dust thickened varnish in it when I come the finishing the outside.

    Just another rib to fix on the other side then I'll tackle the Big One. - I just hope it goes as well as this did.

    Sam

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    Nice one Sam, excellent workmanship.

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    Iíve got the rib done, collected all mine, and all my sons roof straps Ė just enough with a couple of spares! Iíve chamfered the ends of the existing planks.

    ~[IMG]


    Made curved spacers and taped them to the ribs.

    ~[IMG]

    [IMG]



    I found some battens long enough to run the length of the new plank, filled the steamer and set to boil, then got the new plank in position while not getting tangled in 20 straps; ratchet straps at the ends.

    ~[IMG]

    Steam and tighten, followed by steam and tighten

    ~[IMG]

    Then check itís all tight and firmly held with no gaps showing, then leave it for a couple of days.

    Sam

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    I bow down to you Sam, this blog is truly inspirational!

    I'm still working very slowly on my Strickland (heavily constrained by a 2 year old and 2 week old...), but i'm getting there. In fact its blogs like yours, Blott's and Alick's that provide invaluable tips and information.

    In repairing my Strickland, I have a plank that has come away from some of the ribs... so this will need re-nailing. Can I ask though, where do you source your copper nails? I'll be paying particular attention to your entry on wetting with hot water etc.

    I'll look forward to seeing the end result for your beautiful canoe.

    Matt

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    Hi Matt - with a 2 yr old and a 2 weeker, I'm surprised you have the energy to even think about your boat! In about 20 years, you'll have much more time (and much less money)
    I got my copper nails from here but if you tell me how many you need I have plenty of the 16g in all sizes.
    Alick did some re-nailing on his but I think he used tacks rather than nails. Have a look to see what's there already.

    Sam

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    Hi Matt and Sam Icame across this site on the net http://www.crown-nail.co.uk/prod02.htm don't know if they are still going
    but the tacks look like the same shape as the brass tacks I got from the US.
    Terry


    ps sorry just realised that copper nails are more suited in this type of construction. Still hopefully
    a handy link for anyone doing a wood/canvas build.
    Last edited by terry. young; 17th-February-2017 at 05:00 PM.

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    Cheers Terry - that's been saved in favourites.

    Sam

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    Time to see how itís turned out!
    Before I remove any straps, I clamp some blocks under the plank and at the ends so that I can put it back in exactly the same place. I can now remove all the straps and start on fitting.. The bent plank looks a right mess Ė if you were offered a piece like that youíd run a mile, but just a couple of days ago it was perfectly flat.

    ~[IMG]



    I first roughly marked the waste along the top edge and used a jigsaw to get rid. Next it was careful marking with the plank gauge, then plane and try, and plane then try till it fits just right. When thatís done, I remove the spacers, then mark and cut the bottom edge. The masking tape on the hull in the picture has got measurements written on so that I could quickly measure and mark the waste.

    [IMG]


    I then cut the chamfers on the ends with a spokeshave before a final fit.

    [IMG]


    Then itís get all the straps and battens back on again, checking all the time that there are no tight spots, then turn it the other way up and start nailing: Easy!

    [IMG]

    [IMG]


    Itís great how once you have done a job, you wonder what all the fuss was about. I suppose at any time I could have pulled a strap too tight and split the plank, I could have planed too much off and left a gap, or I could have split the plank or a rib when nailing. If I had done, I have another plank waiting in reserve which may well never get used now. (If you need a plank for your board and batten canoe just let me know)
    So now Iíve no excuse for not completing the stripping so that I can start on the finishing inside. Iíll have to stain the new planks to match the old before putting on many coats of varnish. - but this is a boring bit so don't expect too many updates for a little while.

    Sam

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    Really impressed with this Sam - top repair work!

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    Thanks

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    Superb planning and execution is how it all looks so easy. This was firewood for most people and now she is a few more hours from resurrection. I hope I get the chance to see her on the water sometime, Sam.
    "I'd far rather be happy than right any day"..........Slartibartfast

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    Thanks Mark

    Quote Originally Posted by MultiMark View Post
    This was firewood for most people and now she is a few more hours from resurrection.
    If anyone has any similar firewood, I'd be delighted to take it off their hands.



    Sam

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    While continuing to strip old varnish I have discovered a serial number:

    ~[IMG]


    27380 stamped nice and big, then, just in front and smaller (you have to look carefully)

    ~[IMG]


    11534 with a 4 underneath. It doesnít tell me much though, as no-one knows how to interpret the numbers from the Canadian Canoe Company as all records have been lost.

    ~[IMG]


    Iíve now finished stripping the inside. It's still a bit wet from a good washing in the photo so before anything else it needs to dry out thoroughly. Next I'll be using epoxy to reinforce a few areas that have suffered over the years.

    Sam

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    Hmm, clutching at straws - 11534 could be 5th November 1934, or 15 January 1934, not too many years younger than you were thinking?

    If someone can't tell the difference between 15'6" and 16' maybe the 4 means it is a No. 4, even though you have determined it is a No. 16?

    How hard can it be?

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    Could be that Jim - the year would be about right, but we'll never know for sure.

    Sam

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    Itís now the turn of the outside of the boat. During its years of neglect, the boat must have been stored in a way which meant that one side of the boat has ended up with a gummy / gloopy varnish and the other has little or no varnish. The gloopy varnish has come off ok with heat and a shave hook and the other side just needed a quick going over with a scraper. Iíve spent a lot of time re- clinching any nails which were high enough to be sandpapered but now I think all the stripping is done. The outside of the boat wonít look as neat as the inside as there is much bruising, discolouration and scratches in the wood. I canít sand these out as the planks would end up too thin so the outside will have a definite used look.

    I gave the boat a good wash with Tsp and water which should get rid of any varnish residue as well as lift lots of dirt out of the wood.

    [IMG]


    There are a few cracks in the planks which will be filled with epoxy. I like the way the nails show up. Where cracks had been repaired by putting patches on the inside they really stand out.

    [IMG]


    So next itís giving it plenty of time to dry out, then I think, a sanding by hand with 120 grit before starting on the first coat of varnish. I could do with temperatures being higher as things take a long time to dry when it's so cold.

    Sam

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    At each end I have varnished the bits which are covered by the decks. Being neat in such a confined space is difficult; it isnít helped by the fact that it was impossible to get all the old varnish from out there, but hopefully it wonít look too bad as it will be well in shadow.

    [IMG]


    Two coats of varnish, sanded down and then a third. Iím using satin finish varnish as I reckon that all the reflections from gloss would look odd and Iím not pretending the boat is new. The main part of the insides will probably get 4 coats (Iíll be making floor boards so the actual hull shouldnít get much wear), and the outsides 5 or 6. Now these bits are done, I can re-fit the decks properly and make the new deck plates and coamings. Iíve quickly stripped the old varnish off the decks. I wonít sand them properly until they are fitted so I can make sure the deck, plank tops and gunnels are all level.

    [IMG]



    The deck plates need fitting next. Iím using Sapele for these as I have some, but Iíll stain them darker to give a contrast against the Oak decks. The originals were some sort of dark mahogany colour so Iíll maybe try to match that. It's just a matter of machining the wood, cutting to shape then screwing in position.

    [IMG]


    ~[IMG]

    The machined Sapele is thin enough not to need steaming. Itís screwed down and looking good. The coamings will need a soaking and steaming to get the necessary curve. Iíll bend and fix them, then leave them to dry before taking them and the deck plates off to stain.

    Sam

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    Quote Originally Posted by samB View Post
    Hi Matt - with a 2 yr old and a 2 weeker, I'm surprised you have the energy to even think about your boat! In about 20 years, you'll have much more time (and much less money)
    I got my copper nails from here but if you tell me how many you need I have plenty of the 16g in all sizes.
    Alick did some re-nailing on his but I think he used tacks rather than nails. Have a look to see what's there already.

    Sam
    Sam (and Terry), thanks for the information on the nails. I have just had a look at Alick's website (another fountain of knowledge) and suspect that tacks are what I need, not nailsÖ Many thanks for the offer of some nails, though I think i'll have a go at teasing an existing tack out (the last one snapped in half) to get the right size and place an order on one of the web links you suggest.

    PS. I feel your pain trying to clean out the extreme bow and stern sections - I'm going through similar pains stripping paint from these parts on my boat. The varnish on your canoe is looking really good though!

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    I feel your pain trying to clean out the extreme bow and stern sections - I'm going through similar pains stripping paint from these parts on my boat. The varnish on your canoe is looking really good though!
    It must be worse for you in some ways as with blue paint, you can't pretend its wear and tear or anything except blue paint. Right from the start I've kept in mind that this was a hire boat. It's had hard use and probably only survived because it got quite damaged - but at the time was worth fixing. It didn't get done immediately and there must have come a time when it wasn't worth it. Because it had been put safe while waiting for repair and wasn't easy to get at, it sat safe for years; wooden hire canoes were no longer in use or demand and it's fellow hire canoes were probably sold on or scrapped. You can see bits of wear where peoples heels rested against the planks and grinded against the ribs. Unlike the cedar canvas canoes it will never look anything other than used and worn and I'm happy with that.

    Do have a look at your fastenings. From my understanding of the way they were built, I think they would have used nails. - but check!

    Sam

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    Yes that blue paint is a real pain in the back-side! Hey ho, most of it will be gone by the time i've finished, though i'm not so sure that blue will still be my favourite colour after all this...

    I think you're spot on with accepting a certain degree of wear. In my opinion its nice to see that a canoe has been used - I hate to use this phrase, but it 'adds character'. I'm sure that in my case, i'll be adding more 'character' to the canoe i'm currently custodian to.

    Thanks for the caution on the fastenings. I'll have a good check when I manage to extract the problem plank.

    Matt

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    The coamings were soaked overnight then steamed for 15 minutes. I initially just clamped them in their approximate position before cutting the ends to the correct angle when they held themselves to the correct curve.





    When they had set their shape I removed them and rough shaped them on the bandsaw. Then it was a matter of screwing them in place and giving them their final shape.

    ~[IMG]

    Not sure now that I'll stain the coamings and deck caps as I think they look good like this.

    Sam

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    Quote Originally Posted by samB View Post
    The coamings were soaked overnight then steamed for 15 minutes. I initially just clamped them in their approximate position before cutting the ends to the correct angle when they held themselves to the correct curve.





    When they had set their shape I removed them and rough shaped them on the bandsaw. Then it was a matter of screwing them in place and giving them their final shape.

    ~[IMG]

    Not sure now that I'll stain the coamings and deck caps as I think they look good like this.

    Sam
    I think you're right, they do look good and will be better still when coated.
    "I'd far rather be happy than right any day"..........Slartibartfast

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    Although Iíve never given any of my canoes names, this one had one from the start. You could just make out the remains of ĎJuneí.

    [IMG]

    While sanding I have been careful not to lose this by drawing over the name in pencil to leave an outline. I also discovered under all the dirt and old varnish that it had the name at the bow on the other side too.

    I got an early coat of vanish on the area where the name was as I didnít want to paint directly onto the wood in case I made a mistake. (With varnish under, I can easily scrape the whole lot off.) I spent a bit of time doodling with different colours and styles before I was happy with the colours and style.

    A bit of white . . .

    [IMG]



    A bit of blue . . . .

    [IMG]


    And to top it all off, a bit of gold . . . .

    ~[IMG]


    Pretty pleased with that! Ė It will now all be varnished over when I do the rest of the hull and Iíll have to remember to go gentle on the sanding in that area!

    Sam

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    First canoe I've ever known called "Tune". Suppose it will make you breathe far easier!
    Get Paddling!

    Blott

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blott View Post
    First canoe I've ever known called "Tune". Suppose it will make you breathe far easier!
    You know I like to hum while I paddle!

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    Thats looking really nice now Sam. Great job as usual.

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    It's a bit like a stopped watch, it'll be right for one twelth of the year
    "I'd far rather be happy than right any day"..........Slartibartfast

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    Sneak preview

    ~[IMG]

    Sam

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    There are quite a few cracks in the planks which need dealing with Ė some go right through and others donít. They all need dealing with. First I use the corner of a chisel to widen the crack to a V shaped groove.

    ~[IMG]

    I then put masking tape either side of the groove to keep things neat then fill the groove with epoxy.

    [IMG]

    When it starts to go off, I can move the tape.

    ~[IMG]

    When it is fully cured I use a cabinet scraper to level the surface leaving just a dark line on the plank. I canít do them all at once or the epoxy will run; I have to turn the boat so that the surface to be filled is near level.

    The damaged gunnel gets the damaged wood cut out and then is filled with ĎRepair-Careí epoxy. Itís a suitable colour and doesnít sag while it dries which makes it easy to fill awkward shapes and profiles.
    Faults and big dints in the planking get treatment with the relevant coloured filler.


    Then itís on with varnishing. The good thing is I can do the inside, turn it over (it dries much quicker that way) and do the outside; if it was warm enough I could get an inside and outside done each day. When Iíve built up enough coats (or got fed up), I have some blunt needles to inject varnish along the joints between planks to help keep the water out. Then Iíll just need to do the top edge of the gunnels and leave it a few weeks. While I wait I can fit the Ďflagpole holeí and some rings for painters then itís just a matter of getting it wet and looking for leaks at which point the sealant will come out!

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    Looks like another project will soon be on the water. Whats next?
    Terry

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    Quote Originally Posted by terry. young View Post
    Looks like another project will soon be on the water. Whats next?
    Terry
    Won't be that soon - lots more varnish (and associated drying time) as well as stem band replacements and new floorboards. Certainly done before June though.
    Your posts indicate that you've been busy with epoxy and varnish recently - have you anything to show for it?

    Sam

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    While the varnishing continues (3 coats inside and out so far), Iíve bought some new pieces of stem band to replace the damaged bits from the ends.
    First job is to shape the end which will be on show on the deck.

    [IMG]


    I then anneal the brass at the point where it will have the sharp bend: Heat it up to dull red then air cool. This softens the metal allowing it to bend without cracking.

    [IMG]


    Bending the brass re-hardens it so, I anneal it again as it will get a final bending as I fit it.
    Iíve left the length a bit long so I can cut it exact as itís fitted.
    Next is working out where to drill. I want screws about every 4 -5 inches but I donít want to be trying to screw into existing screws underneath. Marked with a centre punch then a countersunk 4mm hole is good for #6 screws. I get the first screws in at the top of the stem.

    [IMG]


    When a few are in place I use a hide mallet to shape the end tight to the deck. At this point, without the final annealing, the metal would be much less cooperative and might crack as I tried to get the tight angle rather than a curve.

    I then put a screw in the deck before continuing along the stem to the bottom of the boat.

    [IMG]



    At the join with the old strip it is cut to length before being screwed down.

    [IMG]

    One step nearer the end now.

    Sam

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    Quote Originally Posted by samB View Post
    Won't be that soon - lots more varnish (and associated drying time) as well as stem band replacements and new floorboards. Certainly done before June though.
    Your posts indicate that you've been busy with epoxy and varnish recently - have you anything to show for it?

    Sam
    Hopefully will have something ready for the water in a couple or three months. Finally used up my cedar strips I've had
    in my shed for 5/6 years or more [all reclaimed wood]. First go at a strip build.
    Atb Terry

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    There is no sign of this boat ever having had floorboards, but you can see where the heels of many paddlers have been and the damage they have caused to plank and rib. Floorboards also help by distributing the load across a broad area so there will be much less strain on individual ribs and planks, and they obviously give a much smoother floor area for sitting /kneeling.
    I had thought about using lime for floorboards but the piece I had wasnít long enough. Instead Iím using 6mm ply. Iíve scarfed 4 pieces together to give the 2 x 11í lengths I need and these are then shaped to follow the curve of the boat.




    [IMG]

    Iíve bent up some brass fastening clips to keepeverything in place.

    [IMG]

    Something else to add to my varnishing routine!

    [IMG]

    Before the final fitting of the floorboards Iíll float the boat to see how much water leaks in. All wood boats rely on the wood swelling when wet to keep the water out so I need to check there are no major leaks which a bit of swelling wonít cure. This doesnít count as launching though.Youíll know how successful it was by the length of pause between this and the official launch post!

    Sam

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    I gave it a float this morning: I’ve a few places wherewater seeped in which don’t really bother me as the wood will swell with moretime in the water, and one place where water was coming in which I’llneed to tackle. The problem I have is, all the ribs and battens inside the boatare potential channels for water to flow along. It is quite likely that wherethe water gets in is not opposite where it emerges!

  56. #56

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    It is quite likely that where the water gets in is not opposite where it emerges!
    I'd turn the boat over and pour it in where it emerged, and see where it goes.

    Actually, being more of a Philistine, I'd pour gently warmed epoxy in!

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    That's certainly one possibility. For starters I have used a flexible marine grade sealant in the seams between planks. It is very flexible so unlike epoxy will easily put up with the swelling and shrinking of the timbers. Unlike on a stripper, because my boat has only 4 planks instead of many, the movement at each seam is far greater and even g-flex might not cope with that.

    Sam

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    So thatís it done and finished. An 80+ year old boat which probably only survived because it was damaged and put away somewhere safe until it could be repaired. If it had been easy to access it would probably have been thrown away long ago.

    [IMG]

    ~[IMG]

    ~[IMG]



    Keep your eyes open for the launch blog.

    . . . . . . . . . . . Now whatís my next project?

    Sam

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    Well done Sam, thats a stunning boat!
    I'm looking forward to seeing an 'on-the-water' photo as well
    Matt

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    Nice one Sam, yet another added to your fleet.
    Terry

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