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The positioning of the chine stringers is a critical element in building a Greenland skin on frame kayak. The placement of the chine stringers will affect the speed, tracking and stability of the boat. The chine stringers run the length of the kayak from bow to stern and are selectively placed between the keel stringer and gunwales. It is important to consider certain important factors when attempting to determine the appropriate placement of the chine stringers. First, the chine stringers must be placed in a way to ensure that the skin of the kayak is elevated enough by the stringers themselves to prevent the skin from resting on the ribs.

Using cord to see if the stringers are placed in way that will prevent the skin from touching the ribs

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Some days, it’s too windy to go out on the water. Some days, the water is just plain frozen. Some days, it’s too hot and some days, you just plain don’t feel like it. When this happens, it can be almost as much fun to read about paddling as it is to do it. Here are three things to read that I think you will enjoy.

The history of the canoe building companies that were a significant part of the economic life of Peterborough, Ontario, for more than one hundred years is as rich and tangled a story as you’re likely to find in Canadian business history. Invention, entrepreurship, patents, lawsuits, rivalries, mergers, acquisitions, bankruptcies and catastrophic fires: it’s a tale that has all this and more. It is also a complicated story, and those who are interested in canoeing history, Canadian history, Canadian business history and the story of how the city of Peterborough, Ontario came to be synonymous around the world with the canoe will have a much easier time figuring it out after they have read Peterborough author Ken Brown’s 2011 book: The Canadian Canoe Company & the early Peterborough Canoe Factories.

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Upon arriving to the museum this morning, Russ and I were both surprised to see that all of our ribs had turned black! The ribs, which had been soaking for a week in a container made of galvanized steel, had turned black as a result of the chemical reaction between the tannins in the red oak and the galvanized steel.

Ribs soaking in a galvanized tub

Although the issue was merely an aesthetic one, a simple solution was to eventually stain all of the ribs of the boat so that they were consistent in colour (you’ll see that in the next post).

Since beginning this project I have been eagerly awaiting the day when we would get to steam and bend the ribs into place. That day had finally come. There is something rather fascinating about manipulating the wood so drastically. Apart from having to be mindful of the short window of opportunity that exists in regards to shaping the ribs while they remain hot (once they cool off, it is more difficult to shape the ribs), shaping the ribs is actually quite simple.

The steam box set up with timer on top to time the 10 minute ‘steam time,’ the two plastic boxes underneath with hoses running out of them are creating the steam.

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This week we wanted to establish the desired length and shape of all the ribs necessary for building our Greenland skin on frame kayak. To accomplish this we made temporary thin flexible ribs to establish the correct length for each of the permanent ribs needed.

fitting thin, flexible temporary ribs where the permanent ribs will eventually go.

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Today we began by selecting a piece of straight grained red oak suitable to serve as our keel stringer (aka keelson) and proceeded to plane all faces smooth and round the edges. We needed to determine whether the chosen piece of wood had any curves in it as it is important to work with the natural curves of the selected piece in order for it to be oriented in the same direction as the curve of the bottom of the boat (moving slightly up toward the bow and stern). Luckily the piece of wood that we had chosen was ideal for use as a keel stringer.

Here you can see the temporary braces holding the keel stringer in the correct position. You can also see one of two Velcro straps discussed later in this blog.

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Russ and I are both encouraged with the progress of the kayak. It’s exciting to see the kayak really start to take shape. In fact, we no longer have to explain to patrons what we are building, as it is rather obvious.

This week we put in place both the bow and stern deck stringers. The deck stringers are the thin pieces of wood that run between the two deck beams behind the cockpit and from the knee brace to the deck beam ahead of the foot brace. We first needed to cut and shape the pieces that we selected to serve as our deck stringers.

Shaping one of the deck stringers

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Read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3Part 4 and Part 5.

Now that our deck beams and masik are pegged into place we are ready to begin lashing them together.

Using artificial sinew to lash the first deck beam

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