Woodworking in the great white north.

Canoe – part 3

Now that we’ve got the sides of the hull planked, we close in the bottom of the hull. The process pretty much remains the same, edge glue the strips together, staple them onto the form to hold them in place.

This is a point where having extra hands was quite valuable. You really need to flex the strips quite a bit to bend them onto the form as they work around the curved part of the hull. At one point, the each strip is essentially flat (horizontal) on the bottom of the hull, but as it curves around to the bow/stern, they end up vertical against the stems. The strips are flexible enough to do this with a little convincing, but we found it easiest to work from the middle out in both directions at the same time, one person working towards the bow and one towards the stern.

Another design element: An option that I have seen on some canoes, was to keep going with the planking up one side and wrap the strips across the keel-line and around the other side. This creates an interesting visual detail as the canoe becomes asymetrical. A second option is to get the point in the pictures above and fill in ‘the football’ (the football shaped gap that remains) in different ways. Switch from the continual curved strips, to a transition where the football is made of strips running parallel to the keel, more like a strip floor than a curved hull.

I went with a more traditional approach, to continue to fill in the football with curved strips one side at a time. You do get some challenges with the curvature that has to happen in the strips, but a few clamps, staples and patience will get you to the point where one side of the hull is filled in.

We also had to glue in some shorter strips from our original first strip, going down the form, to give the bow and stern their upward curve. These have to be a fair bit longer than you think, since the curve of the gunwales from bow to stern is fairly shallow.

Next, closing up the hull completely.

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