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Thursday, November 26, 2015

Canoe Building: finishing stripping the hull

After cutting the center line, it was time to resume stripping the hull.  This last quadrant is a bit trickier then the parts already completed, but one of the great things about building a canoe for the first time is that you are able to gain your skills and increase your ability as you go along.  So, there are a few challenges at this point, but most likely you've encountered them already and just have to combine a few of the different skills you've already mastered to be able to keep building your canoe.  
The main challenges I had were the twisting of the wood and the angled cuts where each new strip fits against its neighbor, as well as into the angled strips from the other side of the canoe.   Dry fitting is your friend here!  I would get a strip, cut one end and get it angled as I wanted it, then work my way down the canoe to the other end where I would dry fit that end as well.  It works for a while, then as I got closer to the center I switched and cut one side and dry fit it, then I'd glue it in place and cut the other end with my chisel.  There were a few gaps, but mostly everything went well.  The gaps, if minor, aren't that big of a deal since you come back with some wood dust thickened epoxy to fill them once the hull is completely stripped.
So here it is!  The completed hull!  It's exciting and rewarding to get to this point.  It says in Canoecraft that this point is about 1/3 of completion.  If you're building stapleless, It's probably about 40% complete.

This is a really exciting point, because you can really see the canoe actually there, complete with the curved and rounded hull!  Once you've fitted the last strip, step back, take some pictures and grin and soak it all in.  There's still more work to be done, but you've hit a major milestone!

Some tips:
Use the clamping jigs to help push the strips into place.
Use packaging tape to help pull the ends of the strips in to the hull where clamps and jigs won't fit.
Dry fit your angles on each strip before applying glue.
Have a chisel at hand to help trip the strips if needed and you've already applied glue.

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