Sunday, November 27, 2005

A Few Good Strips

Things have progressed rather slowly lately. We were out of town 2 weekends in a row, and our kids have been sick for the last week. Last night was the first time working on the boat in about 1 1/2 weeks and I now have 9 strips on the kayak.

Below is a close-up of the bow and another photo of the kayak taken from the bow end. In these photos you can see gaps in the strips at the tip of the bow, each one strip wide. These gaps will be filled by "cheater strips" and allow curve of the subsequent strips to be reduced. I am using two cheater strips at the bow and one at the stern (which has less curve than the bow).

Things look pretty rough in these photos with the smeared glue looking white on the cedar wood. I expect that this residue will easily scrape/sand/plane off when I am smoothing things out later. The glue I am using is the Lee Valley 2002 GF glue, reported to blend well with the darker shades of cedar. I have been using a dry rag to wipe away the squeeze out. Now as I write this I am wondering if I shouldn't maybe be using a damp rag to clean away more of the residue. If you know if this is important or not, please let me know.

To this point I have been using strips that are less than the full length of the boat, joining two shorter strips with a butt joint somewhere towards the middle of the boat. (For more on butt joints and the strip length go here.) Now that I've come far enough up the side of the boat, the strips no longer need be quite so long and I should be able to use full length strips for the rest of the boat with the possible exception of a few deck strips (which will depend on the pattern I choose to strip the deck with). Actually, this was the major reason I eventually changed my mind & decided to use the cheater strips. (I was initially put off by the daunting task of trying to cut & insert the thin wedge-shaped pieces but this was overridden by my desire to decrease the amount of bend and to reach the point where I can start using full-length strips and not do the butt joints.) Without the cheater strips, I would need quite a few more strips longer than those I have.

Those that look closely may notice that there are a few more staples than would be expected after reading what I've written in earlier posts. Two weeks ago I had a visit from Martin Bernardin, canoe builder extraordinaire and proprietor of Kisseynew Canoe Company. He watched me screw around with all of the clamps and clamping jigs while I carefully put in place 1 or two strips. He was not impressed and commented that using staples he'd have "half the boat done by now". This certainly eroded my resolve to try to go without making too many staple holes in the boat. The next strips were done using a few staples and by the time I added the most recent strips I had abandoned the clamps in favour of staples, choosing instead to try to do a decent job with the staples and ensure I had tight joints. To this latter end, I am wrapping the strips with a long bungee cord in order to close the gaps that sometimes occur between the forms. The cove is protected by pieces of 1/4" dowel. The dark wood will liekly help to hide the staple holes on the finished boat and I will not likely try to hide them by filling them with sawdust & epoxy. Things did seem to go a fair bit more quickly than with the clamps but the process is still not fast.

That's it for today.