Boats I've done recently...

Joined
Jan 31, 2013
Messages
2,291
Location
Warren, Manitoba
So, I like to build things. I built a house in the early 90's, I built a stripper a couple winters ago then got into rebuilding old wood/canvas canoes.

The first one was a late 50's Bastien Bros Huron. First time so it took awhile to figure out but I got alot of help from the WCHA website. It is 15 foot and was originally set up as a solo, which I used once last summer. In the Fall I sold it, and the buyers wanted a tandem, so I built a matching seat and reconfigured it to suit.
Finished002.jpg

Nowatandem001.jpg


Second one was a 14 foot Chestnut that I paid too much for but wanted as my new solo boat. It required alot more work than the Huron, it had been stored on the ground under the guys deck for ten years so there was a great deal of rot to deal with. Stem tips, decks, inwale ends and 27 rib tips later, and sourcing white cedar for new ribs, plus doing 4 behind the rib repairs. I had wanted a more traditional seat so I built a new frame then learned how to cane it. It never made it to water last year but I'm looking forward to taking it out the first long weekend this year.
NewSeat003.jpg

Fini001.jpg


Now, I'm working on Canadian Canoe Co. 16 footer from around the second world war. This one need extensive work since it was fiberglassed and the stems are rotted much further down than just the tips. It is a slow process. It also needs 6 ribs. I'm working on rebuilding the stems and inwales presently and sanding the entire thing since at some point it was completely painted with what looked like deck stain. It is a work in progress. It came with a sailing rig but it wasn't originally set up for it, so we have sold it since it won't be used on this boat again.
SailingRig.jpg


If any of you wish, I have photo build threads on all these and the stripper that I can post so you can see the processes involved.

Karin
 
Joined
Jun 12, 2012
Messages
3,692
Location
Appleton, Maine
Thanks for posting those pictures. Your work shows a lot of skill and patience. I'm wondering if I want you to see my Chestnut after these pictures. The decks on the Huron are really nice, and I remember how much time you spent getting that seat just right.
Great looking canoes, and it's even better that you trip with them out there in Manitoba!
 
Joined
Jan 31, 2013
Messages
2,291
Location
Warren, Manitoba
Hi Holmes. Umm, thanks, but I'm a woman. Working on old boats means having to take them apart first to put them together, makes it somewhat tedious.

Robin, it looks better in the pictures than real life. Just wait til I show you the rib tip repairs I did, ugggllly, but they worked, which is the main thing and I learned how not to do them.
 
Joined
Feb 29, 2012
Messages
1,832
Location
Schenectady, NY
Karin,

Impressive work!! I would love to see the build photos. I have been building strippers since I was 20 years old, I'm still trying to find that one ideal design.
I'm always intrigued with alternate build methods, skin on frame, wood/canvas, stitch and glue, as well as alternate materials.

Do you have a Picasa or Webshots or similar site where I can visit your boats??
 
G

Guest

Guest
Here's what I have to say about your energy, ambition, creativity, and skill: " !"
 
Joined
Feb 1, 2013
Messages
485
Location
Ontario
Very inspirational work. I'd like to see your build photos too. That 14ft Chestnut looks sweet as a solo boat.
 
Joined
Jan 31, 2013
Messages
2,291
Location
Warren, Manitoba
The stripper was the turning point for me really. Buy plans, build boat. It was really cool. Never done anything like this before. It is a Bear Mountain design, 15'6", what they call the Cottage Cruiser, which doesn't do it any justice whatsoever. It is a charm to paddle, we took it out last Labour Day weekend and tripped on rivers, lakes and creeks. Christine took it on a solo trip later in September and loved it. Scratched the crap out of the bottom, but sanding and more varnish will fix that up come spring.

Took a total of 171 hours to build. Our stock was finished to 3/4" so strips were more like 5/8" or less, which means it took more strips but they fit better. Being unable to afford full length cedar, we went with what we found locally and scarfed most of them. The colour is unusual, a tiger stripe effect with the light wood we found so we used that as best we could, spending alot of time matching strips in the middle. It took 83 strips and 55 of those were scarfed.
When you see the picture titled "creative routing", consider the strips are 18 feet long, the basement is 26 feet long, to pass the entire strip through for the bead or cove, I needed 36 feet of space, so I opened the back window, put the strips outside in the garden, set up near the window and passed them through into the house. Worked like a charm.

All of the work was done in the basement of the house I rent, varnish, glassing, everything. Thankfully it was July/August by the time that work came so I could ventilate well.

At some point in the future I hope to build another, it is a wee bit more fun than having to take a canoe apart to rebuild it.

http://s1182.photobucket.com/albums/x449/Mihun09/Cottage Cruiser Solo Project/#!cpZZ1QQtppZZ24
 
Joined
Jan 31, 2013
Messages
2,291
Location
Warren, Manitoba
The Huron project began around Christmas of 2011 and took much less time than the stripper at only 127 hours. It needed things done I hadn't attempted before but everything came together well enough. The actually canvassing was intimidating and we did manage to tear it in one spot, but that wound up under the outwale which helps stablize it. The "We" part in this would be my room mate and paddling partner, Christine. She helped where more than two hands were required. The stripper is actually her boat. The Wooden Canoe Heritage Association website is the best place to get any information you need to rebuild/restore these old boats and I have used it extensively in researching how to go about working on these craft.

It is funny, after the Huron the photo count drops drastically when I did the Chestnut, but I figure how many pictures of the same thing does one need anyway.

If you have any questions, ask away and I hope you enjoy.

http://s1182.photobucket.com/albums/x449/Mihun09/Cedar Canvas refurbishment/#!cpZZ1QQtppZZ24
 
Joined
Feb 29, 2012
Messages
1,832
Location
Schenectady, NY
You are much more the craftsman (woman?) than I am...I bang my strippers out in about 50 hours, always too anxious to get them in the water. Only a few that I have built were flawlessly faired the way yours is, and those were not my own. If my nephew would hurry up and get his boat off my forms, I would be building another even now. I need to replace my crushed in the rapids 17 foot tandem, and I need a slightly shorter version of that DY Special, maybe with a little more full stern section, so's I don't get twisted by following waves.

That Cottage Cruiser is very pretty, and round!! How does it handle? And did you ever weigh it? Just looking at your build photos told me nearly the whole story.
Again, nice work!!
If you can stand to wade through them, I have some build photos and many finished boats in my Picasa site, but you have to poke around some.
 
Joined
Jan 31, 2013
Messages
2,291
Location
Warren, Manitoba
Fair? Who says it is fair? I hate sanding and well, the outside took 17 hours and interior another 11 hours to fair. Next time I will get under the strongback and wipe the glue off before it dries underneath. I had some pretty good gaps on the center line with I filled with thickened epoxy, but only I really know where they are. I think it came in around 62 pounds. A little heavier than the plans say it should be, but I added tanks late in the build which likely didn't help with keeping it light. Christine actually portages it with the removable yoke I built for the Huron.

You likely use as many staples as I do rolls of fibretape. I only used staples in a few spots with stubborn strips and some finishing nails through cedar blocks too. Is it because you don't do the bead and cove that you staple or is it just for speed?

The stripper handles beautifully, tracks straight regardless of wind conditions too, even paddled backwards solo. Very stable, comfortable boat and a great boat to fish from. My kevlar Swift transmits every movement we make and it is kinda of nerve wracking when the boat is empty. The wood boats are so much better for that, quieter, more esthetically pleasing.

I'm starting to update the new build with more photo's and finally getting some progress on it.
 
Joined
Feb 29, 2012
Messages
1,832
Location
Schenectady, NY
Staples?? Oh yeah, usually a little over 1,000 per boat. I have many boat building buddies, some can't stand to see those staple holes, others (like me) don't particularly care.
I don't cove and bead my strips, helped a buddy strip his with cove and bead strips. He spent much time sanding because of those delicate feather edges that seem to be just waiting to break off. Does make for a straight hull, though.
I also don't even scarf my strips...I use nothing longer than 14 ft (longest that I can handle alone) and just jam the shorter strips together in a butt splice. I can usually get all strip edges in very tight contact, hardly ever a spot where the sun shine through, and if it does? So what.
I build for hull efficiency, in the water and on my shoulders. Some of my portages are over 5 miles long. I used to be a much bigger guy...age and a series of accidents have made me gradually smaller and weaker.

That's why I try to build so light...my DY Special (16'8") weighs 31 lbs. And still I want something a little lighter...
 
Joined
Jan 31, 2013
Messages
2,291
Location
Warren, Manitoba
The Chestnut was a real sweet find! After the Huron, Christine went and put an add up on Kijiji seeking wood/canvas canoes to buy for me to restore. First one she found was a 16 foot Huron in decent shape but I was after something different and not 16 feet. The Chestnut came up shortly thereafter. The guy wanted $400 and was firm. We went and looked at it, and once I put the tape to it I had to have it. A 14 footer apparently is hard to come by, but it was in really poor shape. The fellow had it stored upside down under his deck for ten years. The rot was significant.

The first thing was stripping the old canvas and then the arduous task of stripping the old varnish. I've tried all the biodegradable strippers and they just plain suck. The most harmful stripper works the best but it still takes an entire day to strip the average canoe, best done outside, which I could do this time. The Huron was stripped in the basement.

Did not need to replace the entier inwales on this one, so just inwale tips, stem tips, new decks. It had multiple broken and cracked ribs, I did 4 behind the rib repairs and replaced 5 ribs I believe. Much rot on the rip tips. All 4 cant ribs and an additional 23 ribs needed new tips. Some needed to be repaired down 6 inches and that was something new to learn and I did a fair job but some are just plain ugly, but they will work in the end. The stem/inwale junction needed to be a mortice/tenon affair which I learned and did fairly well at for a first time. I epoxied this joint so whomever gets this boat after I die will curse me no end.

We had purchased a old Huron as a wood supply boat since at the time we couldn't get white cedar. That boat was beyond repair so I took the time to pull every single tack from the planking and reduced it to just parts. Eventually we did get new white cedar...

We managed to get some white cedar brough in from Barrie, Ontario for ribs and planking so the colour is a better match. This time I varnished the exterior rather than oiling it since it appeared to be varnished originally. New canvas went on and then the filler, which we made at home from a recipe from the WCHA site. We now have enough silica flour to fill another 8 boats...

After the filler dried for 5 weeks, it was sanded, primed, sanded, primed and painted, this time using just Tremclad paints instead of the expensive Interlux. Difference in cost... Interlus, $48 a litre, Tremclad, $15. I went with a two tone design similiar to what I had done on Christines 18' Jensen of days gone by, mainly because I was doing green again and wanted something different. Also, the hull is done with semi-gloss which helps hide the ugliness of the canvas. The original alum stem bands went back on and were painted over.

The original seats, although the cane was still good, the frames were less than perfect so I made a new frame, bought cane and a book from Lee Valley and learned how to cane over a couple of weeks. It is pretty cool.

There was snow on the ground when it was done so technically, it did find water but I am looking forward to getting it out this year and seeing if she paddles as well as the Huron did. The Huron came in at 61 pounds, the Chestnut is 57.

There aren't as many photo's in the Chestnut album, likely because it had similiar issues as the Huron, or, I just didn't want anyone seeing my crappy work on this one.

http://s1182.photobucket.com/albums/x449/Mihun09/Chestnut 5163/
 
Joined
Jan 31, 2013
Messages
2,291
Location
Warren, Manitoba
The new project was again something Christine found on Kijiji. It was advertised as a sailing canoe, and although it did come with all the sailing kit, it was not original to the boat, ie, the canoe was not manufactured for sailing, the mast foot was added later by someone and it was a chunk of cedar 2x6 and screwed into the only stem that had a serial number. Doh!

Initially we didn't buy it, it had been fiberglassed and that brings all sorts of new issues into repairing it so we waited and watched the ad and finally purchased it to keep it out of the landfill. Started on it in August, stripping the varnish and then it sat until I finished the Chestnut. It moved into the basement in October and I have been picking away at it slowly. The main reason for the lack of work so far was trying to determine "what" it is. Through many e-mails exchanged with a WCHA member in Toronto, we have it narrowed down to a pre-WW2 boat, Canandian Canoe Company, most likely the Habitant. The serial number has the model code in it which helps but sometimes the measurements don't fit, as in this case. Although initially we had it figured to be from the twenties, the mix of fasteners muddied the waters alot. The deck screws and rib fasteners are steel. The stem bands are steel, although they may not be original. The oddest thing is the tacks, all the tacks fastening the planking are Copper! No brass, just copper.

I have finally started into it more eagerly, although I am having a difficult time finding 75 year old spruce for the inwale scarfs to try to match the grain. The stems have rot much further down and I have bent up some 1x1 ash over a jig for that already. Every try bending ash stock of that size around a recurve jig? It ain't easy for sure. With my steamer out of commision presently, I cold bent them. Soaked for 7 days then just slowly bent around the jig.

So, reconstruction of the inwale/stem joint on the stern is under way as well as rib tips where necessary, far less than the Chestnut.

I have been slowly sanding the entire boat since some idiot painted the entire thing with deck stain over cracked varnish, thus making interesting dark patterns in the cedar planking and ribs. It appears the ribs are white cedar, the planking red, so it should clean up nice and have a lovely contrast.

I will endeavour to have more photo's in this album as I progress. This being a 16 footer, we figure it will come in around 75 pounds or more when finished. The seats it came with were slabs of plywood so I will make up new frames and cane them.

http://s1182.photobucket.com/albums/x449/Mihun09/CCC 15490 44/
 
Joined
Feb 1, 2013
Messages
3,472
Very nice! I have the hull of an original Chestnut Prospector that I will probably never fix. It would need considerable work. If you're interested I could send pics.
 
Joined
Jan 31, 2013
Messages
2,291
Location
Warren, Manitoba
Very nice! I have the hull of an original Chestnut Prospector that I will probably never fix. It would need considerable work. If you're interested I could send pics.

Definitely send pics! What does it have, or what does it lack? Are the inwales and basic shape intact? If the shape is there it can be rebuilt. The Huron I used for parts on the Chestnut rebuild lacked inwales so had lost it's shape and at that point it would be near impossible to replicate the original shape.

Wonders if I can get to your place and back in a weekend, although all my weekends are 3 days...
 
Joined
Jan 31, 2013
Messages
2,291
Location
Warren, Manitoba
Since this is my thread I'm going to exploit it. Just finished some work on the new project... I'm curious if anyone is interested in a play by play of how I go about rebuilding one of these old boats? I know you can look at the pictures but having me describe what I do may help with the process. I'm no expert, most of the time I have no clue what I am doing, I just do what needs to get done and it works out. For me it is a continual learning process, for what works and what doesn't. I won't bore you with minute by minute updates, just perhaps some updates on what is getting done.

Today was initial cutting and fitting the new inwale tips. These tips are 18" or so, enough to cover the rotted portions and in this case, the cracked parts as well. I chose to make my cuts still inside the deck area which will improve strength and help hide the transtition between new and old wood. I don't know wood species, although most would be spruce or ash, sometimes oak. In this case it seems to be the spruce. The new spruce I have is far too white to match the existing. I had pulled an old 2x4 out of the rafters in the garage to see what it may be. The landlord here is cheap and saves everything and as it turns out, this old 2x4 is douglas fir and has a grain that almost matches the existing inwales and the colour isn't far off, so I will use that. Finding ancient lumber is difficult these days and the lumber issues I will deal with later.

To replace a portion of the inwale you start by cutting an angle, to create a scarf joint. The longer the angle, the stronger the joint will be. I have as yet to figure out a way to cut the inwales that is easily copyable, so I just put a board across it, and run my cordless circular saw across and use the cut piece as a jig for the new piece. My bench mount belt sander is my most used tool since I can shape the new pieces to fit using it and touch up as I go. The Douglas Fir I'm using is very close in grain so it should be a good match but there is nothing I can do about the colour difference. Exposure to the sun will help with that.

SternRebuild001_zps2ec9368d.jpg

SternRebuild002_zpsd17aa2c2.jpg

SternOldrib_zpse28900e3.jpg


After I had the two pieces matched up fairly well I soak them, I need to steam them and then clamp them into a jig to match the existing curve so hopefully I can get that done by Sunday and let them sit a week before moving forward on this end. I need to do the same work on the bow but one end at a time.

SternRebuild003_zps714de429.jpg


Also today I was ripping up potential rib stock. Unfortunately my white cedar is knotty so I didn't get the 5 clear pieces I need for ribs. I may need to buy pre-tapered rib stock for this unless I can find some clear cedar somewhere for this purpose. I had two 2x6's which I ripped two blanks from, then I turn them on edge to rip 3 ribs from each piece. The ribs in this boat are 2 1/8" wide and 5/16" thick. I rip oversize and will sand down to match. What I really need is a thickness planer but I don't have the $500 for that purchase yet. Considering how this hobby fills most of my free time I may need to make that purchase soon.

RibStock_zpse39791a8.jpg



There is alot of hurry up and wait when dealing with these boats. Once inwales, stems, ribs are properly shaped they need to be soaked, steamed and then wait while they dry. The softer the wood, like cedar, the quicker you can work with it. The inwales will likely stay on the forms all week once steamed, less chance of spring back the longer they stay clamped.

Lumber... I cannot get white cedar in Winnipeg, it just doesn't exist here. I can order it, for a premium. The days of 18' long clear white cedar are mostly gone. They just don't allow the trees to grow long enough now to get that quality. The white cedar I have was from a place that stocked it for fencing so knots don't matter to them. Perhaps I can persuad Robin to bring some nice clear cedar with him when he comes out to WCPP this summer and brings the old Morris with him.
 
Top