Building a flat bottomed canoe

Discussion in 'Wooden Boat Building and Restoration' started by troy2000, Jun 18, 2010.

  1. ancient kayaker
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    Location: Alliston, Ontario, Canada

    ancient kayaker aka Terry Haines

    For trimming off the ply overhang I like to use a palm router with a flush-cut bit. The palm router is a fraction of the weight of the one I use with a table for moldings. I put a wedge on the baseplate to set the cutter blade at the flare angle of the sheer planks. It's very quick and precise, but I wouldn't recommend it when the ply is splintery.

    Things are looking great, I bet you can't wait to get it into the water.
     
  2. troy2000
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    troy2000 Senior Member

    I have a small flush-trim router I used to use on plastic laminates (Formica, etc.) veneers and thin plywoods. But it isn't much good on anything but a 90 degree corner.

    Wedging the baseplate of a palm router doesn't seem like it would do much good on a rolling bevel like this boat bottom, where the angle changes constantly.

    We've actually been piddling around in the house this morning instead of heading out to work on it; I think yesterday sucked a lot of ambition out of us.

    But I did go get some Douglas fir 2 x 4's to cut the trim out of. Was going to use oak, but I quickly realized it would cost me more to trim in oak than we've spent on the entire boat so far....
     
  3. ancient kayaker
    Joined: Aug 2006
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    Location: Alliston, Ontario, Canada

    ancient kayaker aka Terry Haines

    I have a Bosch Colt which is obviously derived from the Bosch flush-trim router, but with the same adjustments you would expect on a regular router. I often replace the baseplate supplied with a ply plate so I can add stuff like wedges.

    My boats tend to have a more or less constant flare angle so it works well for me. If I have a rolling bevel I turn the boat on its side and run the router along the sheer, with a fence stop fastened along the centerline and the bit set to cut just short of the bottom of the fence. I think this is less risky than a grinder (but I don't have one) and it's definitely less risky than a power planer or belt ander, my other options.

    Of course, if there is not much to remove then a block plane is quicker!

    Don't you just hate the way life tries to get in the way of boating! I have got almost no building done this year, too many patios and paths to lay, trees to chop down etc. Just the last day or two I finally got back to my small sailboat: I made a new standing lug sail for her and rigged her ready to go.
     
  4. troy2000
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    troy2000 Senior Member

    Always wondered why more people don't go with a standing lug on a small boat; it seems eminently practical.

    As far as using the angle grinder goes, I used to scribe the face frames of kitchen cabinets against walls and ceilings, then trim to the line with the grinder for a tight fit with no molding. So I have a pretty steady hand with one. Of course, when you're doing that you can cheat by back-cutting the wood a little, so you have a sharp edge against the wall.
     
  5. ancient kayaker
    Joined: Aug 2006
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    Location: Alliston, Ontario, Canada

    ancient kayaker aka Terry Haines

    While I am slowly acquiring some hand skills, I still need a power tool with a well set-up guide and stop to work accurately. I watched a furniture maker work with hand tools and he could do better stuff about twice as fast as I can with power tools. It's all in the hands: I doubt I could make a living with mine! The best thing I made lately was outside storage racks for my kayaks and sailboat. Now I've room in the workshop for building more boats. Hmmm .. that sounds a little obsessive, doesn't it ...

    P.s., the weather looks good for a sail tomorrow morning, hopefully a nice breeze ...
     
  6. troy2000
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    troy2000 Senior Member

    Well, I made a living with my hands for years. You can probably guess that by looking at the hands....they're pretty beat up.:p

    I've done everything from concrete finishing to fine cabinetry with them.
     
  7. troy2000
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    troy2000 Senior Member

    Day whatever; I'm losing track.:)

    We added another layer of oak to the stem, to bring it to more of a point. Then we gave the sides and bottom a a good sanding--more to make sure the wood had enough 'tooth' to hang onto the paint, rather than for looks; we aren't exactly going for a furniture-grade finish here.

    Let's see; in the remodeling business, the standard explanation was "it isn't rough workmanship; it's rustic." What's the excuse in boatbuilding? "Finished to workboat standards"?:D

    Here it is about half-sanded:

    [​IMG]

    After the outside was sanded from end to end, we primed it in blue. I'm trying a new (to me) Behr Premium water-based paint, that claims to be suitable for priming and finish-coating both. That might just be advertising hype, because I've made a habit of thinning down water-based paint and using it for a primer coat anyway...they just never suggested it on the can before.

    Then we hit the inside with sanding blocks and a finish sander. I think my son may have regretted wearing his shirt for a dust mask, when he woke up this morning. He sunburns easier than I do. His only comment was, "well, dad, it seemed like a good idea at the time. OK?"

    [​IMG]

    We didn't really try to sand the frames, but I did 'kill' the edges with a sanding block. Sharp edges on a hardwood like oak can cut like a knife, when you knock up against them. Then the frames got a coat of the same blue as the exterior of the boat.

    [​IMG]

    After that, we mixed a quart of the blue with a quart of pure white, and painted the rest of the interior with that. Didn't get any pictures before we turned it back over, though.

    Today, we ripped some 1/2" x 2" rub rails out of Douglas fir, ran them through the planer and installed them. To get a taper on the ends, we clamped one in the middle. Then we edge-set it by pulling the ends up until we were happy, and ran a pencil mark along the sheer. I tried planing the rails, but decided that would take all day even with a sharp plane. So I free-handed the first one to the line on the table saw, then tacked it to the second one for a guide and did it too. The final smoothing was done with a plane, though.

    We attached the rub rails with Pl Premium glue, and #8 x 1" zinc-plated screws about every eight inches (from the inside, except for the ends). The first side was a bit of a mess: I had smeared too much Pl on the rail, and the little screws weren't sucking it up tight. So we had to back each screw out, put a clamp beside it, and retighten it.

    We learned our lesson, though. On the other side I used a lot less glue. We still set it, pre-drilled for the screws and set them temporarily, before taking everything apart and adding the glue. But we went down the line one screw at a time, with a clamp beside each one as we tightened it down. A lot easier job, and a better one.

    Don't have any pictures of that, either. We kind of forgot about the camera today, for some reason. I'll get some pictures tomorrow, though. What we have left is screwing on a small keel board from end to end, and a thin outer chine log to cover the plywood edges. Then we do the watertight compartments fore and aft, finish painting it, and letting it cure. The rub rails are going to be a bluish off-white that'll probably look pure white against the other colors. The transom will also be white, and probably the stem. The compartments will probably have deep blue bulkheads to match the frames, and off-white lids.

    It's getting there. A lot slower than I had planned...but then again, I hadn't counted on record-setting heat and humidity levels this week, either. We could have fought our way through it and gotten more done, but what the heck: we're doing it for fun, not because it's some sort of obligation.
     
  8. hoytedow
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    hoytedow Senior Member

    Nice!
     
  9. ancient kayaker
    Joined: Aug 2006
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    Location: Alliston, Ontario, Canada

    ancient kayaker aka Terry Haines

    Looking good indeed!

    It's a bit late for your current boat, but I find an initial coat of sanding sealer works wonders for providing a smooth finish for the rest of the paint or varnish. It dries fast and is very soft and easy to sand off the fuzz, much easier than a first coat of regular primer which dries harder and takes longer to get to a sandable condition. Also it doesn't clog the sandpaper. The fuzz doesn't come back even if the next coat is water-based. Of course, that only applies if the wood is smooth to start with: marine ply is good in that respect but some ply is not!

    The requirements for primer and top coat are different, especially for an exterior paint. Any "one-coat-over-bare-wood" paint has to be a compromise. Personally, I don't believe Behr's hype, but their paint is reputed to be better than most which may be how they get away with it. Since a boat needs more than one coat anyway I don't see any advantage.

    Of course, varnish is the same for every coat, but then it needs even more coats than paint, and doesn't last as long.
     
  10. troy2000
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    troy2000 Senior Member

    Sanding sealer is a good idea, Terry. Thanks for the suggestion. I'll take you up on it, next time I build a boat that warrants a 'proper' finish. On this one, the sanding was meant more to open up the grain of the wood to accept the paint, by getting rid of the glazed surface a planer can leave--especially on soft wood when the blades aren't as sharp as they could be.

    I went for the Behr primer/finish paint because I didn't really want to pay for primer as well as the paint; this is supposed to be a budget job. If it comes back to bite me, I guess I'll know better next time.

    As far as the plywood goes, we used Douglas Fir exterior AC. So at least we don't have to worry about it checking....it was checking before we took it off the shelf. :)

    Did a little work today, but life got in the way again. So we slapped a coat of paint on anything that didn't already have some, to help it survive another week in the weather. I'm overdue for bed if I'm going to leave for work by 3:30 AM, but I'll post some pictures tomorrow.
     
  11. troy2000
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    troy2000 Senior Member

    Recap: We added the gunwales (or rub rails, or whatever you want to call them), and the bulkheads for the watertight compartments at each end. The gunwales are glued and screwed with PL Premium glue and #8 x 1" zinc-coated screws.

    The bulkheads at each end are the same pine as the sides, but left a little heavier. We fastened them using coated deck nails, with a thorough layer of adhesive/sealant caulk on the edges. Then we made sure everything had at least one layer of paint on it before I left, instead of leaving raw wood to face the weather until I get back from work.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  12. hoytedow
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    hoytedow Senior Member

    Man, that boat is looking SWEET!
     
  13. troy2000
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    troy2000 Senior Member

    My son asked me what we're going to name it. After looking at our paint choices I suggested, "the Bluebery Muffin?":p

    Since it has a vaguely Lousianan ancestry, I suppose we could call it the Blue Bayou.
     
  14. hoytedow
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    hoytedow Senior Member

    How about "La Myrtille"? It means "Blueberry", which is still sweet, but with a Cajun flavor.
     

  15. troy2000
    Joined: Nov 2009
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    troy2000 Senior Member

    Don't do that....
     
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