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Poster - Men Legal SizedYou are a bit of DIY’er and you like the idea of small boats, boat building, canoe building and maybe kayak building but you aren’t sure where to begin? You like looking at different kinds of boats and seeing how they are made, how they fit together and what tools are needed to make it all work.  You are keen to learn directly from the actual woodworkers, builders and artisans? Maybe you aren’t ready to build something yourself yet but you want to know more about the different companies, meet them, talk to them and find out more about the options available to you.  You might already have a boat you are proud of and are looking to connect with other people who have a boat like yours or maybe you are keen to make a paddle for your canoe or kayak? The place for you on Saturday June 22nd is the Small Craft Rendezvous at The Canadian Canoe Museum! Read the rest of this entry »

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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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 3,  and Part 4.

Finishing work on the deck beams

We set to work today by installing the last of our decks beams. We had only the deck beam closest to the bow to shape and fit into place. The deck beams and gunwales meet at a compound angle which can prove to be difficult to work with. Properly shaping the deck beams to fit flush with the gunwales can be time consuming and requires a bit of trial and error.

The masik sitting on top of the frame where it will be installed

Our next task was to shape the masik. The masik lies towards the bow just ahead of the centre line and will eventually help anchor the cockpit into place. Like the other deck beams, the masik joins the two gunwales together; however, the masik differs in that it is a bent deck beam that needs to be shaped accordingly. There are various ways of shaping the masik: steam bending, laminating and/or cutting it out of a solid piece of wood. Pros and cons are associated with all three methods; however, we opted to laminate numerous thin strips of red oak together.

Checking to make sure the masik has been trimmed to fit properly

We first had to build a form reflecting the desired shape of the masik. Once the form was built we simply coated the individual strips with glue and clamped them around the form. Once dry, the masik was ready to be fit into place.  We had hoped to begin lashing the deck beams into place this week but ran out of time.

Installing the masik using wooden dowels

The museum was busy with patrons exploring the various galleries and engaging us in conversation. It was a welcomed distraction. As much as we enjoy working on the kayak, sharing our enthusiasm for this project with the patrons of the museum is equally enjoyable. It was great to see so many children enjoying the various activities set out for them throughout the museum. We did our best to provide hints and clues for the scavenger hunt.

Next week… We start lashing for real this time!