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Saturday, September 26, 2015

Canoe Building: Stripping the Sides

By September 4th, my canoe was well on the way.  After adding a few strips to each side, I added a strip of lighter colored cedar as an accent strip.  It takes a few days of stripping, but after doing a strip or two every evening, I was ready to add three strips at a time.  It does make for an hour of craziness, but the progress sure goes quickly!  Stripping the sides of the canoe is fun and very rewarding,  You can see the canoe progress quickly and the shape really come into its own.  You also aren't to the bend of the bilge yet where you get some crazy forces twisting the strips in three different directions at the same time.  Enjoy it- the progress goes quickly and is relatively headache free.  No need to pull out what Ted Moores calls the moaning chair just yet.  That will come soon enough!  
I do have three tips for this stage of the canoe.
1:  Get a couple of packets of cheap shims from the hardware store.  They'll help keep the strips snug against the molds.
2:  Make some wedges out of the bead side of a reject strip.  They will be used to force the strips together as well as keep the cove from getting mashed down by the cleats.
3.  After you've added 8-10 strips, prepare four wedge strips (about 2-3 feet long each) and work them in.  Have the big end of the wedge at the stem side, with the point toward the center of the canoe.  You can run the wedges through your router beforehand so they have the bead and cove edges to interlock with the other strips. Canoecraft doesn't discuss this much at all, but if you look carefully at some of the photos, you can tell that there are wedge strips in there.  Placing them now will eliminate some of the twist and strain that the strips encounter when you get to the bilge.  How do I know this?  I didn't do wedges strips and it made it harder.  When I finally did them, it reduced a ton of strain, but it would have been easier and made a better looking canoe if I would have added them earlier.

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