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Canoe repair tools

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous' started by Louis Michaud, Jan 23, 2017.

  1. Louis Michaud

    Louis Michaud LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Some of the canoe repair tools I’ve been using. I had a small claw hammer for some time before reading about a cobbler’s hammer on these forums. The balance of the short face and the heavy « fishtail » peen always felt awkward to me until I found one with better proportions. Based on the shape of Walter Walker’s hammer (picture in John Jennings, The Canoe A Living TraditionI) I reshaped it with a grinder. The peen was narrowed and a small notch added. The handle is hung very slightly closed. The big round face is sweet in use. The classic clinching iron, a Walter Walker type iron (Jennings book) and a car dolly. Sometimes, depending on the height of the tide, the tacks clinch better with the Walker type iron than with the classic. A planking gauge in bronze, a small cats paw with a notch filed in the flat part for delicate removal of tacks. A canvas stretcher that becomes painful to use real fast… Suggestions for a better tool? I realy like Mike Elliott’s (Kettle River Canoes) mallet design. Choice of a narrow face, wide face, can be used under the decks, etc. A lot more versatile than a joiner’s mallet. It’s easily made in different sizes and weights. These two are elm which does not splinter easily. I hope Mike doesn’t mind but for me it’s officially called a canoe mallet! I don’t use a crooked knife for repairing a w/c canoe but I could not resist having a go at making one.

    Suggestion for other canoe tools?
     

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  2. Rob Stevens

    Rob Stevens Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

  3. Dan Miller

    Dan Miller cranky canoeist Staff Member

  4. OP
    OP
    Louis Michaud

    Louis Michaud LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Ok. A few questions. With the vise-grips, is it annoying having to unlock the pliers each time you move along the canoe? With the wooden stretcher, I figure you poke the canvas with the tool inboard and then lever the rubber end towards the bottom of the canoe? Don't the thwarts and seats get in the way?

    Somebody suggested a hand seamer which has compound action jaws for more pressure and less white knuckles. About 2" jaw depth similar to the vise-grips. Anybody tried these?
    https://www.homedepot.ca/en/home/p.hvac-2-in-hand-seamer.1000657106.html

    Louis Michaud
    Rimouski, Quebec
     
  5. Dan Miller

    Dan Miller cranky canoeist Staff Member

    Use the pointy-ended stretcher where you can, the vise-grips where you must.
     
  6. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    I don't use the vice grip/pliers tools any more. They apply too much pressure at one spot that can damage the wood under them. They also are a bit of a pain to clamp and unclamp.

    I don't have experience with the specific tool that Dan recommends but it looks like a classy version of the cheesy one that I use.

    I made mine in about 10 minutes with a piece of scrap wood and some finishing nails that I sharpened on my skate sharpener.
    The nice thing about this is that it is really easy to use, has a lot of leverage and with the rounded back it does not damage the gunwales. It also spreads the load across the planking nicely so that you can use it when you stretch the canvas on the stems.
    I copied one (more nicely made) that I used in Rollins shop.
     

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  7. OP
    OP
    Louis Michaud

    Louis Michaud LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Thanks for the suggestions. I made a spiky stretcher and will try it on the next canvassing job. It's too late to ask now... so I will just hope that the protuding spike length is not critical to the tool's operation. It's about 1.5 inches thick and well rounded so it should rotate nicely on the gunwale. I have added 2 handles to my planking sanding board and added the adjustable mill knife I use when planking.
     

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  8. Andre Cloutier

    Andre Cloutier Firestarter. Wicked Firestarter.

    They apply too much pressure at one spot that can damage the wood under them.
    That they do, I still use vice grips but i always use a 4" piece of scrap outer gunwale and lay it over the inners before pivoting the grips, so as not to gouge the wood
     

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