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Thread: Not looking good

  1. #1
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    Default Not looking good

    Hi all,
    I started a stitch and glue canoe last year but got the epoxy mix wrong so had to cut panels from more ply to start again. I continued with the build last month using last years cut panels. Over the year they had become slightly warped but not wanting to re-cut more panels I carried on but the more I do the worse it's looking. It seems that the slightly warped panels got more warped as the cable ties pulled the shape together. I was going to give most of the outside a covering of fibreglass but before I carry on I would like a suggestion or two from people who know more than me, which isn't difficult as this is my first build. I have no experience in anything other than inflatables but I am thinking that this warped effect wil give me problems in trying to paddle straight. The bottom is relatively straight apart from a few dips but as I said It's not looking good.

    https://flic.kr/p/YiK5mV


    https://flic.kr/p/Y2aR57


    https://flic.kr/p/Y2aV1o





    Thanks,
    Michael
    Last edited by Drumilly; 1st-September-2017 at 11:24 AM. Reason: Linking photos

  2. #2
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    That is one wonky boat! Did you lay the panels on top of each other to check they are the same? If they are the same, try clamping a piece of 3/4" softwood along the gunnels to see how much wonk you can remove. The top planks look like they might not have been lined up properly before the glue was put on. I think it will be an 'individual, one of a kind' boat but still be paddleable - until you build the next one; canoe building can be addictive, and think of the lessons you've already learnt.

    Sam

  3. #3
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    Default

    Actually I put a line from end to end which lined up pretty well with the line of the bottom, it's just everything in between is all skewwiff

  4. #4
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    Default

    Did you lay the panels on top of each other to check they are the same?

    Yes, I clamped them together then sanded down the edges together

  5. #5

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    I wouldn't be too worried if it was only the top planks which are skewed a bit. When you are making up the gunwhales, they will pull any little warp in the top planks into shape.
    The bottom though looks a bit dodgy. When you were stitching it all together, did the plans say to use temporary bulkheads to help pull everything into the proper shape. If you used them, I'd try to install them back into position and see how it all looks then. I think I had 5 temporary bulkhead that the planks were also edge stitched to, to create the shape.
    Unfortunately. if the bottom planks are out of true now after being epoxied, it might prove difficult to force the temp. bulkheads in to recreate a nice shape you should have , but worth a try.

    When I built my prospector, the plans said to put in a temporary thwart to keep the centre of the boat at the right width while I was putting on the outer gunwhales. You could also try this. I will probably look a whole lot better just by doing that.

    ​PB.

    As I said, if it's just the top planks, I wouldn't be too worried about it.

  6. #6
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    Default

    I'd certainly add the gunwhales inside and outside to see that it looks like then.

  7. #7
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    If as you say the panels are identical shapes then the thing that comes to my mind is the properties of the wood in the layers of the ply.

    I notice that the two panels have different woods on the outside. It could be that the different properties are causing the panels to bend differently.

  8. #8
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    The plans are from a book "How to build a canoe" by Dennis Davis. There is no mention of bulkheads to keep the shape. There is differing colours of ply because I done the marking out on the light side as it was better to see. When half the panels were flipped to create the other side of the canoe the colour changed. I'll finish this boat somehow, maybe using softwood gunwhales and forget about an outer skin of fibreglass. Save the epoxy for another canoe which I am quite looking forward to

    Thanks for the replies,

    Michael

  9. #9
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    Having just finished a stitch and glue canoe with Orca, we had the both the inwale and the outwale in place and screwed through BEFORE we resin/taped the seams inside so I agree that I think the next job would be to get the wales on which will give it shape and a lot more rigidity. You may find that will be enought to correct it.
    Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines!

  10. #10
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    To be brutally honest, I think it's beyond saving.
    Put it down to experience and start over.

    simon.
    Welding and fabrication for forum members.

  11. #11
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    What I'm going to do is start a new canoe. I will attempt to finish the wonky first build later but for now I want to have something that will paddle well and looks well too. I have bought 5kg of epoxy and want to make something worthwhile. If there's any left I'll have a go at wonky boat but it's only 4mm ply and if I try to flex it theres a lot of creaking going on. Shoving in temp bulkheads will surely result in a few big cracks. You're right PB in saying that with the bottom being epoxied the shape isn't going to change.

    Could anyone point me to a good free plan, I don't fancy putting down more money. I'm looking for a two seater that can also be paddled solo.

    Thanks all,

    Michael

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Graywolf View Post
    Having just finished a stitch and glue canoe with Orca, we had the both the inwale and the outwale in place and screwed through BEFORE we resin/taped the seams inside so I agree that I think the next job would be to get the wales on which will give it shape and a lot more rigidity. You may find that will be enought to correct it.
    Yup and time spent fiddling with the ties to make sure everything was in the right place before sticking it together.

  13. #13
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    Default

    Michael, I think I have the plans for a Selway Fisher Prospector at the yard.
    i will have a look and send them to you if I can locate them.

    Simon
    Welding and fabrication for forum members.

  14. Default

    Michael. If you are going to start a new canoe, which means spending more money, then I'd definitely recommend buying a set of plans. I used Selway Fisher plans for my 15 foot Prospector and he gives good advice and excellent drawings. There are other plans for sale out there of course.

    You will spend a lot more money on epoxy, filler, glass-fibre tape, wood sanding blocks/paper, etc and personal safety equipment like gloves, masks etc to do the job right and a little extra on a decent set of plans is not money wasted. Especially for a 1st build where you're not that sure about how things should be done. Plus all the build blogs including my own really help. Read lots of them.

    What you've learned from the 1st attempt will help a lot with your 2nd and hopefully more successful build. And the 1st one may not be a complete write-off yet.

    Cheers, Dave.

  15. #15
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    Or go on the Orca Adventures course and build a Mayfly or Lakelander, sure it costs a bit more than just the plywood and epoxy but you will learn the ins and outs of stitch and glue.

  16. #16
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    dtalbot, I haven't seen any boat building courses over here in NI. Thanks Simon, the Prospector looks a nice canoe. I might try and push in bulkheads to see if it makes an improvement and if it helps epoxy them in.

  17. #17
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    Ahh ok, would be a nice weekend in the English Lake District.

  18. Default

    Michael.

    The bulkheads I talked about were only temporary bulkheads which helped to create the shape when stitching the planks together. The bulkheads were stitched to the planks as well and helped define and hold the shape until the epoxy and filler were applied to the seams between the planks. When the resin had set, the bulkheads could be removed as at that point the cured epoxy should hold the whole shebang rigid enough to remove the bulkheads.

    What the bulkheads also did was help set the curve of the gunwhales as they were placed at measured points along the length of the canoe. You probably won't be able to force any bulkheads down into the bottom of the canoe, but what might work is to put temporary thwarts at top of the top plank in the middle (the suggested width of the canoe) and 2 more on either side of the central thwart (5 in total) but further forward in the canoe to help create a more uniform curve from centre to bow and stern. How wide should the temporary be? Try to make a nice even curve from centre to end or maybe have it slightly wider toward the front. Experiment with inexpensive bits of wood to get the shape you like.

    The upper ply plank will bend no problem and that would help in creating a stable base to put your gunwhales onto. When the gunwhales are fitted, the warped panel will look an awful lot better.

    It might not be worth the effort and maybe you should just abandon it and go onto a new build, but if the bottom is straight as you said, it will paddle ok, just not look that pretty.

    I think though that I'd try using the temporary wooden thwarts to pull the top into some sort of shape, maybe screw on a couple of softwood outer gunwhales but without glueing anything (dryfit) and see how it all looks and if you can't live with the looks/warpage, start again from scratch and take it as a learning experience.

    PS: Remember to mark the centre of each thwart and run a line from bow to stern to see how straight the top of the canoe. You may have to force the upper planks a bit to one side somehow to get everything as straight as you can.
    Last edited by ProspectorBuilder; 13th-May-2017 at 09:01 AM. Reason: adding text

  19. #19
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    Thanks PS for taking the time to reply. I'll use this advice when I get a chance

  20. #20
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    Another thing you could try is cutting out some outer stations/forms, drilling some holes and pulling the planks out to them. The epoxy/glass will peel off easily enough if necessarywith application of heat from a heat gun and use of an appropriate scraper (putty knife works well) and you could cut any of the more deformed joints loose with a stanley knife following heat. Then once it's all pulled more back into shape, have another crack at it.

    I reckon even three forms (middle and halfway out to the ends) would hold it in shape. Taking the tape off and springing the seams wouldn't take as long as you'd expect with use of a heat gun and you don't need to fully remove all the epoxy because it's set properly, more can be put over the top.

    Here's my peterborough on the external forms:



    Here's me stripping a heap of improperly mixed fibreglass/epoxy off with a heat gun, scraper and acetone. In fairness, it only took about an hour to get the glass off, a bit longer sanding down and wiping to remove the last remnants of the epoxy, which you wouldn't need to do.:

    "I'm not getting in a boat which is DESIGNED to go upside down."

  21. #21
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    I've just been thinking back last summer when I bought the ply, I got them from 2 different building suppliers. I asked both at the time if they were for use outdoors and both said yes. Both types have been in the same place all year. One supplier's ply, the one where I got the epoxy mix wrong, is still nice and straight and the other supplier's, the one that I'm making the canoe with is slightly twisted. It could be that I'm making a canoe from ply which glue is not waterproof. If this is the case I think I'd need to scrap the lot and start again.

  22. #22
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    * Both types have been stored in the same place all year.

  23. #23
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    Though if you can get it straight paint the whole lot with epoxy or glass it and you have taken care of waterproofing everything.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by stinkwheel View Post
    Another thing you could try is cutting out some outer stations/forms, drilling some holes and pulling the planks out to them. The epoxy/glass will peel off easily enough if necessarywith application of heat from a heat gun and use of an appropriate scraper (putty knife works well) and you could cut any of the more deformed joints loose with a stanley knife following heat. Then once it's all pulled more back into shape, have another crack at it.

    I reckon even three forms (middle and halfway out to the ends) would hold it in shape. Taking the tape off and springing the seams wouldn't take as long as you'd expect with use of a heat gun and you don't need to fully remove all the epoxy because it's set properly, more can be put over the top.

    Here's my peterborough on the external forms:



    Here's me stripping a heap of improperly mixed fibreglass/epoxy off with a heat gun, scraper and acetone. In fairness, it only took about an hour to get the glass off, a bit longer sanding down and wiping to remove the last remnants of the epoxy, which you wouldn't need to do.:


    I'll give the heat gun trick a go to see if I can get a better shape and I have a few sheets of MDF to make forms with. Do the forms need to be joined together like the stripped built canoe method?

  25. #25
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    The forms for mine were cut to suit the boat at a particular point from the centre (the details of the cross section were part of the plans) but were simply clamped to the table top/sawhorse the correct distance apart. Note the parcel tape on the inside edge of them, this is to stop you epoxying them to the boat. The planks were stitched together in the normal way but also drilled and stitched to the form at strategic points to hold it all in the correct place. You'd need to make sure any holes you drill to attach the planks to the form are on a vertical line.

    I'd suggest for yours if you used the "good" side as a template, you could produce your own forms using that as half of a mirror image quite simply.

    I should stress I've not actually done this to a warped canoe shell, it's just how I think I'd approach the problem from looking at your pictures.

    Don't be afraid of big gaps between planks, wood-flour thickened epoxy will fill a fair old void and for bigger bits, it's easy enough to file/fettle a splinter of scrap ply to take up any slack.

    From the picture, I'd be very tempted to spring the bow/stern ends of the planks apart again to try to get a better line.
    "I'm not getting in a boat which is DESIGNED to go upside down."

  26. #26

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    This is just a thought as I have not done this before.
    Could you split the front seam of the top planks and perhaps a little bit of the ones below. Then insert a central thwart carefully positioned, while ensuring the base of the boat is not twisted. You could then try to bring the bow boards together in a vertical line. You may get some overlap on one side or the other which could then be trimmed level and reglued? There might be some slight shortening but that would not be noticeable and worth a try if the alternative is to scrap it.

  27. #27
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    Ive been doing some more at the wonky boat. Only got back at it, what with house renovations and I don't get much time over the summer. Gluing in bulkheads and getting the inwales on has improved it's shape. I really thought I had made a bad job good but once the inwales were on and I flipped it over I now can see a depression in the bottom.

    https://flic.kr/p/Y2a4ZN

    Looking from the other end it's not as bad.

    This is an exaggerated angle to show the dipping. Will this affect paddling much? I don't expect it to be perfect but paddleable.

    I don't want to do much more work to a boat that wants to go in circles and I have to keep correcting. I have about 3.8kg of epoxy left. I'm inclined to save the epoxy for later which would need to to be sooner than later as it's a year past it's shelf life but still hardening well.

    Any ides appreciated,

    Michael

  28. #28
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    Mine's like that. It'll work.

    Press on :-)
    G

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

  29. #29
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    Alls not in vain then, thanks.

  30. #30
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    That's comparatively minor compared to some. Hell, you see boats sat outside some hire shops with such a hogged hull, you'd struggle to know which way up to paddle it. And those are "proper" boats made by large, international canoe builders.
    "I'm not getting in a boat which is DESIGNED to go upside down."

  31. #31
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    Thanks again. This gives me some assurance that it's not a waste of time. I added another photo of of the canoe the right way up, (I'll have to learn how to display photos properly) with the inwales on it's taken a better shape.

    https://flic.kr/p/X5kEWQ

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