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new guy, old canoe

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by tadaio, Nov 21, 2011.

  1. OP

    tadaio dreamerwithapenny

    Gents, 'quick question. Are decks 'carved' to shape or are they actually steam bent? This OT needs both decks and if they are indeed carved/cut I'm feeling inclined to make my own.
    I know......, newbie question huh? :) Cheers,
  2. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    These are commonly done either way based on the preferences of the restorer. The factory steam bent them on a press as shown at in a previous message.

  3. OP

    tadaio dreamerwithapenny

    Wonderful ! Thanks Benson! Of course now I have to decide which way to go.
    Did I mention (paint stripping aside) how much I'm enjoying this whole project so far? Cheers..... Fred
  4. OP

    tadaio dreamerwithapenny

    Eureka! I did my first bends last Sunday and they came out on the first attempt (white oak stems). I just had to tell somebody (chuckle).
  5. OP

    tadaio dreamerwithapenny

    Folks, I've stumbled across a couple of things during this process that may be of use to the group.
    The first being a stripper called Peel Away 6. It's a very thick and heavy material that'll stay where you put it, nearly refuses to dry out, and more importantly than all that is that it has no odor whatever. That means you no longer need to strip outdoors. It is a slower 'lift' than the usual stuff but only slightly. Biodegradable too. Also, the same price as the others on the shelf. I got mine at Lowes.
    The other thing I learned from my arborist pal is that a good place to scrounge around for white cedar (usually free) is in cemeteries, the older the better. Most have a maint. building, a grounds manager, and a spot somewhere hidden away where wind damaged trees, brush, etc. are dumped. Look there.
    They also seem to have a lot of Atlantic cedar so it'd pay to know the difference before you start poking around. It's a fun 'hunt' at any rate.
    My pal cut a large one a year ago, dropped it off at the mill for no other reason than so as not to waste it, and gave it to me gratis. I ended up with an 11' long 14" dia. log that cost $50 to slab cut into 1/2" boards so even with the waste it's a wonderful thing.
    'Hope these tidbits may be of use...............Cheers, Fred
  6. H.E. Pennypacker

    H.E. Pennypacker LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Thanks for the advice on Peel Away 6. But maybe "can't smell it" isn't the best basis for indoor use. Better to protect lungs (and skin). From the MSDS:

    "Eyes: Vapors may cause irritation. Direct contact may cause severe irritation with possible corneal damage. Skin: May cause irritation with dermatitis. Contact areas may become numbness. Prolonged contact may cause absorption with symptoms similar to inhalation. . Inhalation: Vapors may cause irritation to upper respiratory tract. High concentrations may cause headache, coughing, difficulty in breathing, low blood pressure, fatigue, nausea and vomiting. Severe cases may cause respiratory and muscular paralysis, convulsions, narcosis and death. Ingestion: May cause gastrointestinal irritation, abdominal pain, headache, central nervous system depression, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, low blood pressure and fatigue. Severe cases may cause symptoms similar to inhalation. Possible aspiration hazard. May cause mild to severe lung injury if aspirated into the lung during vomiting or swallowing."

    "Chronic Effects: Repeated skin contact may cause dermatitis."

    "Hazardous Decomposition
    Thermal decomposition - carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide, oxides of nitrogen. May oxidize with air to form benzaldehyde and benzoic acid."
  7. OP

    tadaio dreamerwithapenny

    Yikes, that would explain the the bleeding from my eye sockets lately! Actually, I wasn't suggesting anyone strip anything in a closed in space. But if you've got the 'garage under the house arrangement' you can throw open the big door and stay out of the sun and rain without having fumes pour up the staircase for the whole family to enjoy. Add a fan if needed.
    I just figured anyone clever enough to build/restore a wooden boat would certainly be savvy enough to not stand over a hull full of chemicals for extended periods of time without some fresh air. Cheers..... Fred
  8. OP

    tadaio dreamerwithapenny

    Greetings all, I hope to bend and install some of the ribs in the next few days and in the course of studying up on the process it appears there are two methods. One being to do the preliminary bend (outside) and then proceed right to the install with the still hot rib. The other is to leave the preliminary bend clamped in place (outside) and do the install after the rib has set overnight or therabouts. The later seems to be the most popular.
    Actually I have enough ribs to do to try both but it's cold out there in the shop and I'd obviously like to go with the best chance of success. Your collective experience would be greatly appreciated. Cheers, Fred
  9. Lazy Jack

    Lazy Jack LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Just finished the bending process yesterday and I'm just now taking a break before nailing in the last rib.

    I had/have to replace 4 mid section ribs. I got a hold of some flat sawn white cedar boards that had been in the rafters for at least three hot summers - they were the lightest planks I ever handled. I took a full thickness plank, ripped it to 2 3/8 inches wide, and ran both faces over the jointer (don't care if they are parrellel or not) I laid out the rib tapers, cut them on the bandsaw, planed it fair with a couple swipes of the block plane.

    With a 22 degree bevel bit in the router, I beveled all four edges with the bearing running along the edge

    I then set the fence on my band saw for 5/16 and running the milled faces against the fence, I cut two ribs from this prepared plank.

    I constructed a steam box using 1 x 6 pine screwed edge to edge with drywall screws and a square plug in one end with a hole for a radiator hose. The other end of the hose is shoved into the end of my tea kettle which is placed on a coleman stove. I stuck a meat thermometer through a hole drilled in the far end of the box. I loaded the rib blanks into this box, stuffed the open end lightly with rags and fired it up. I accomplished 200 degrees inside the box at 15 degrees F.

    While the ribs were cooking, I plugged in a steam iron, got a bucket of water with a rag in case I needed to apply some extra convincing during the bending process.

    This is the critical part ( how I screwed up) : Because they were mid section ribs, I counted 3 1/2 rib spaces towards the end as the point over which to bend the ribs. Through the screw holes which had affixed the keel to the bottom, I screwed a bridge to keep the midsection of the rib from lifting off the bottom as I bent the rib around the bilges.

    After 20 minutes I pulled the rib blanks from the steam box, slid them under the bridge and slowly wrapped them around the bilges one side at a time holding them against the gunwhale with spring clamps. By the time I got to the other side of the boat, it was bending a little stiffer so I used the hot steam iron and rag to bring the rib against the boat in a sizzle of hot steam.

    I left them for a couple days until I could get back to them and eventually nailed the first two into the boat.

    Here's where i screwed up. The Old town is curvy enough that 3 1/2 frames was too far. The turn of the bilge at that point is not as sharp and it is significantly enough narrower that it didn't fully span the mid section before starting the turn. The ribs had enough flex that i could span the rib end and inwhale with a clamp and shove it into the turn of the bilge. After I had it nailed in and the boat rolled back over i noticed that the planking wasn't running particularly fair through that section - not enough to redo but enough to annoy me. A week later, I noticed that the two ribs i had replaced had cracked right at the turn of the bilge.

    I was delighted cause now i could make them go away

    I figure between the dry dry wood, hot iron and forcing the fit, the cedar couldn't take it. I'm glad it happened before the canvas went on.

    Since more varnish had been removed since those ribs had gone in, i noticed the cracks in the 3rd and 4th ribs.

    So I milled up 4 new blanks from the same cedar stock, wrapped them in a wet towel and propped them in the corner of the shower. The towel was kept soaking wet over the better part of a week

    Yesterday I re-affixed a bridge, this time only two frame spaces away from the ribs being replaced.

    I used the same steaming methods, colder day, but still cooked them at 200 degrees for 20 minutes

    They wrapped around the boat like butter and lay nice and flat against the hull

    This morning I split out the new but cracked ribs and the subtle humps melted away. The newly bent ribs jumped right in, nestled into their places and fastened easily. The hull remains fair.

    All of this was extraordinarily simple to do - once the correct location for bending the rib was identified.
  10. Dave Wermuth

    Dave Wermuth Who hid my paddle?

    I like to be efficient with my propane so if I am doing one rib I bend and install it right then and there. If I'm doing a number of ribs I bend them all over the outside of the canoe and one rib further out to make up the difference in the thickness of the hull.

    I think it's very important to soak the ribs overnight so they will bend easier.
  11. Lazy Jack

    Lazy Jack LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Kept pictures of the events:

    Steam box set-up IMG_3946.jpg

    The bridge thing - this was the last of four ribs to go in


    Old rib coming out - Haven't figured out how to extract it in one piece


    New rib going in

    Four new ribs

    Attached Files:

  12. OP

    tadaio dreamerwithapenny

    Jack and Dave, Excellent info. First off I would have gone the 3-3 1/2 rib spacing in the midsection with no doubt similar results. Then, since I plan on doing four ribs for starters (2 midships and 1 on ea. end) I would have put them in the steamer all at once and backed myself into a corner time wise. My steamer seems to hold a steady 190 F once it's 'there' so I'll just idle it back a bit between ribs. The bridge idea is going to be used, the only flaw I see in it is that I didn't think of it first! I do have an advantage with wood moisture in that my cedar was somewhat wet to begin with, the log having laid on the ground in a shady area for a year when I had it cut a month ago. Even though it's sticked up on the shop (barn) floor it's been cool to cold enough so that it hasn't even checked yet, including the planed and shaped rib stock. Still, I'm going to give them a cursory soak and keep kettle and towels on hand.
    My setups and bends on the stems (white oak) and inwale scarf sections (Sitca Spruce) went without incident though they're both still in the forms, and I like to think it was a result of the overkill in preparation. At any rate, thanks again for this info. 'Glad I took the time to double check ! Wish me luck.
    p.s. It was 10 F in the barn this AM.........Sheeeesh !
  13. Lazy Jack

    Lazy Jack LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Just to be clear:

    I did bend all of my ribs during the same session (one heating of the steam box), they were all adjacent ribs so the bridge I built accommodated all of them. (the picture I posted shows the last one to be installed. I simply placed the bridge over it for the sake of demo photo, but this is where the bridge had been)

    After they were bent, I kept them clamped to the boat while over the next day, I split out the respective broken ribs to be replaced.
  14. OP

    tadaio dreamerwithapenny

    Lazy Jack thanks, understood. I'd envisioned the same for my two 'midship adjacent ribs. The rest of my broken ones are fore and aft where it seems the initial bend will be pronounced enough to preclude 'walking' to either side. I'll have a helper on hand for those. And if they're going to be let be for a night clamped to the outside then I will steam them all together.
    Unexpected company today so I missed my chance.........maybe tommorow. Fred
  15. OP

    tadaio dreamerwithapenny

    Greetings all,
    Some months have past since I've been here but in the meanwhile I've completed the OTCA shown on the first page of the thread. Let me see if I can get some pics up (always a crapshoot with my lack of keyboard skills), and show the end result.
    'Outstanding fun project complete with all the intrigue of learning new skills. I understand your addiction now though I'm not so sure I'd like to do it again(chuckle). At any rate, to my gentle readers, I did my best but hope none here will ever see it from under 20' away.
  16. JClearwater

    JClearwater Wooden Canoe Maniac

    Fred, where have you been? Pop and I went shooting over at Sharon Mountain yesterday. My father is 87 and can still knock down the steel plates. Where were you? I want to see your canoe - actually I think everyone on here wants to see your canoe. I'm sure it came out grand - I've seen the rifles you build so I have no doubt it looks real good.

  17. OP

    tadaio dreamerwithapenny

    Hi Jim, I know I disappeared for a bit but I was just trying to finish up the canoe. My winter project lasted till July and just went into the water last wkend. Now it's catchup time on other projects (not fun ones). Thanks for the kind words on the gun building too by the way, I don't think my execution on the canoe is up to par but neither was my first flintlock for that matter. We'll have to talk flintlocks one day, that'd be fun. A bit off topic for here.
    As usual my pics didn't go up here so I'll have to figure out what I'm doing wrong, which could take months (chuckle). Stay tuned !

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