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Saturday, September 26, 2015

Canoe Building: Stripping around the bilge and bottom

September 12 was another milestone day on my canoe. I finished one side of the boat.  Once you strip past the stems, you have two options.  You can strip one side at a time, like I did, or you can make a herringbone type pattern and alternate end overlap as you strip the "football".  Actually, you have a third option if you wanted to just put the strips in straight from end to end, but I don't think that option looks nearly as good as the other two.  I was uncertain about the cuts needed to interlock the strips, so I settled on the first option.  As I worked my way up, I made sure the end of each strip went past the centerline of the canoe so that I can go back and cut the centerline in with a chisel.  Too long is good.  Too short is bad.  Just do the right thing here and make each strip a little long.

One thing I mentioned earlier, but need to mention again is be deliberate in the strips you use and where you use them.  If you kept the strips in order when you cut them, then again when you routed the bead and cove, you can bookmatch them on the canoe.  It's easier to alternate the strips as you work up the sides then it is once you are to the point you are only working on one side.  A solution that worked for me is selecting a strip for the canoe, then writing a number (for example 1) on the next strip as well as a piece of paper.  Then I'd set the numbered strip (1) aside before pulling another strip for the canoe.  I'd then write the next number (2)  on the end of the next strip of the board and set it aside.  In the example, I would have pulled 4 total strips out of the board at this point.  I'd work my way up the canoe and through the board, alternating sides  the whole way.  An easier way of saying it is all of the even strips in the board would go on the left side of the canoe and all of the odd numbers would go on the right side of the canoe.  That way the colors, tones, and textures would be matched on the "football" or bottom side of the canoe.

The most difficult time stripping is right around the bilge of the canoe.  Strips will be twisted, flexed, and bent all at the same time.  Slow down and only do a strip or two for for a few times and it will be easier to manage them all.

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