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Friday, September 25, 2015

Canoe Building: Ripping and Routing the Strips

In early August I started ripping strips.  Red cedar, a table saw, and lots of time.  Be sure to wear a dust mask since it's really dusty when you cut the strips, and because cedar dust causes cancer.  
I set the fence on the table saw to do 1/4 inch strips, then did my best to make an infeed and outfeed table to help support the boards on the infeed and strips on the outfeed.  Good infeed and outfeed tables make your job a whole lot easier.  You might even consider talking to a cabinet shop owner and with his assistance and shop ripping the strips there.  As the strips come off, keep them lined up in the order they were cut from the board.  Keeping them in order will help you match the sides of the canoe and make your finished boat look better then if the strips were completely randomized.
After the strips were all cut, I set up a few guides on my routing table and started routing out the bead on each strip.  It is possible to make a two router setup and cut the bead and cove in one pass.  I ultimately decided to make the multiple passes.  Again, keep your strips in the order they were in the board!
I routed the bead on all of my strips at once.  The little fins on the cove can be delicate, so I minimized that risk when I did them by only routing the cove side of the strips one board at a time, on an "as needed" basis.  So even after I started putting the strips on the canoe, I stopped a few times along the way to rout out the coves on more strips as I needed them.  Here's a picture of a smaller board that I made strips out of.  Notice the grain on the strip ends and how it all lines up together because I kept the strips in order.

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