Still Not a Boat

I made a little more progress on the Lazy Weekend canoe this weekend.  I only had about an hour to spend on it, but I got in the rest of the cleats for the seats, and I managed to attached the stems.

It sort of looks like a boat, and a canoe with a clear bottom would be sort of cool, but it isn't quite ready to hit the water.
It sort of looks like a boat, and a canoe with a clear bottom would be sort of cool, but it isn’t quite ready to hit the water.  That’s the right width, but the bottom needs to come in a little.

The resulting structure is very floppy and unstable.  It took three of us to move it so that it wouldn’t break.  I am pretty sure that adding the chines will stiffen it up substantially.

I have skipped putting in the center frame.  I have the frame pieces cut, but I just couldn’t come up with a way to install them that wouldn’t be ridiculously fragile.  So instead I have decided to install the chine logs and then see about getting the measurements across the center to match.  I should be able to pull the chine logs together and push the gunnels out to the right spot, and then plane the bottom of the boat flush so that I can put the bottom on.  Once the bottom is on then that should pretty much lock in the shape of the boat.

Once the bottom is on then I will fit the seats, that should really lock in the shape of the boat.  Then it is just a question of making the gunnels fit to the resulting curve.

Fitting the stem and stern pieces were relatively easy.  I lifted the boat up on a table and saw horse, but looking back it probably would have been easier to simply leave the boat on the ground.  I dry fit the stem piece on each side with a pair of screws at the top and bottom.  I then removed the screws and and buttered up the side of the stem or stern piece with Titebond II wood glue.  I then screwed the piece back to the side of the boat, and added more screws  so that I got good squeeze out along the length of the piece.

Stem attached. I will remove the screws later and fill those holes with bamboo skewers.
Stem attached. I will remove the screws later and fill those holes with bamboo skewers.

I then did the same thing on the other side.  I really like using these wide headed screws for this sort of application.  They are #8 3/4 inch Teks “Lath” screws.  I don’t think that the ones that I am using are self-tapping (I definitely pre-drilled the holes), but you can get self-tapping ones.  The screws leave a very minimal mark, and they allow you to apply quite a bit of pressure.  I will later remove the screws and drive bamboo skewers covered in Titebond II into the hole left behind.  This worked really well at attaching the bottom of my PDR.

The bow looks good enough for me.
The bow looks good enough for me.  I will trim up the excess later.

I am still impressed with how easy this particular build is turning out to be.  The most difficult part was cutting out the gunnels and chines and if I would have had access to a table saw then these pieces would have been ridiculously easy to make.  The stem and stern pieces also could have been cut out on a table saw in minutes instead of hand carved in three quarters of an hour.

If we decide to build more of these canoes then I will get some help pre-milling the lumber, and we will pre-cut (and pre-mark) the plywood.  Then the boys will only have to assemble the boats.  That should be ridiculously easy.

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