Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Canoe Decks and Gunwales (Progression)

Ah Ha!  Twenty one page views in one day!  That IS progress!  

Instead of boring you this time with a lot of yapping, I'm just going to post the pics and yap at ya one at a time.  We've been whittling away at this project while doing many other things.  It's a busy spring!  It's awesome!  I'm now involved with some local organizations bettering Philly as a whole and what's really neat is that my involvement with brewing has brought most of it about!  I can't believe how Philly folks in the beer community really genuinely care about their fellow Philadelphians.  I have to thank Scoats at the Grey Lodge ( http://greylodge.com/ ) once again for opening up those doors for me and all the folks in my homebrew club ( http://lucky13homebrewclub.ning.com/ ) who keep things interesting and are supportive of their fellow beings.  That all has been keeping me busy and loving it!

Wholly moley!  What am I doing?  I need tunes.  I'm gonna skip the beer for now, large dinner.

{Peter Gabriel}
{I totally miss the YROCK show}

OK, pics:

Pretty much the entire hull has to be prepped by sanding all the hills and valleys down so that when we varnish it will look like glass.  The spots that run the length of the gunwale are especially important to be smooth so that when they are glued on they will look wicked tight and sharp with no gaps.  Once again, the dust mask is crucial.  My pop is sanding with the canoe rotated on the stands the Robin our intern made for us.  THANKS Robin! 
The gunwales get tapered fore and aft on two sides of the gunwales so they get narrower towards the ends from both the side and the top profiles.  This entails taking measurements on both the starboard and port side gunwales and copying them to both.  For example:  The gunwale in the center of the photograph has the terminus marked with a line across the gunwale (Oak by the way) and then you can measure a certain distance from the terminus and make another line across.  From there you measure how thick you want the gunwale at the terminus, make a line and carry that line to the outside edge of the other line you drew across the gunwale thus making a slight, yet attractive angle of taper.  You could just leave the gunwale square all the way to the terminus and it will be fine.  In fact, it may be even more durable when banging up against a bulkhead or rock, but tapered like this is quite attractive.
Me chowing on my plastic salad as my dad draws out his tapers.  We set, actually, he set half of the strongback up to use as a work surface for drawing, planing and sanding.  That strongback is a good 80 lbs.  I wish he'd not do that alone.
These pics are a bit out of order.  We actually glued the decks in place before we started on the gunwales.  My bad.  We fit them in place by tweeking the edges by sanding over and over until the seam between the edges of the deck and the inside of the canoe were tight and sharp.  That took a lot of time.  I spent 4 hours on the stern deck plate alone.  Once they were a nice fit they were glued in place with an epoxy/wood flour paste to fill any gaps and maintain a sharp edge.  We clamped them with bar clamps and wedges with sand paper under them so they didn't slide off the end of the canoe.  It worked really well on the bow below, but the stern has a greater angle and they kept sliding off so we were forced to screw the deck in while it was still wet.  There were gaps that we were worried about, but they aren't noticeable at all and looks sweet now!

Those buggers slipped right off.  Every time we turned our heads the clamps loosened up.  Sliding.

My dad figured out where the countersunk pilot holes for the first 16" of the gunwales should go by mounting the gunwale and marking where the screws that we put in the stern deck went so that we don't screw into screws that are already there.  A countersink is a hole where the top portion of the hole drilled has a "V" in it that matches the "V" on the underside of the head of the screw so that when fastened the screw will be "flush" or level with the surface of the gunwale.  Using the drill press ensures a perfectly 90 degree angle pilot hole.  It's called a pilot hole because with the hole already drilled, the screw can find it's way into the hole instead of going off course which can sometime happen if the screw follows a grain in the wood.  It also keeps the wood from splitting.
Here, my dad and I have the gunwale mounted and figured out where to drill the rest of the pilot holes.  Tomorrow I will transfer the marks on the starboard gunwale to the port side gunwale as they are identical.  I might drill the holes if I have a helper with me.  It is a good idea to have someone around to hold the piece as well as another set of eyes on where I am drilling.

Below is one of last weeks neighborhood events in Pennypack Park.  A band called Steal Your Face (Grateful Dead cover band) played during one of the nicest nights of the year so far!  I had a great time with my brother Keith and friends Nestor, Kathy and of course "Number 9".  These concerts happen every Wednesday night and are completely free.  There are a few on Saturday's as well.  June 2 a band called LeCompt is playing.  Come on out to these events if you get a chance and show your support of the local community.  The website is:  http://pennypackpark.com/
Tomorrow's show is Think Pink Floyd.
Thanks for reading everyone!  Have a great week and a truly memorable Memorial Day Weekend!

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