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First stripper build: Prospector-16 Help & comments appreciated

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I'm in the first stages of build on my very first strip canoe, a Prospector 16. I'll try to post comments, pictures, etc. along the way. Any help, criticism, comments are appreciated.

First, a brief summary of my background & equipment. I've been a woodworker, and woodworking teacher for a very long time. Between my home shop, and school shop, there isn't much I don't have access to. I've been researching fairly steady for the past 6 months, purchasing (& reading) seveal books, including CanoeCraft. I'm confident I have the ability, and hope I've gained enough knowledge to keep the mistakes manageable. The discussion on "Light Weight Solo Tripper Build" is awesome.

I just finished cutting my mold stations, and ran into my first snag. With access to a CNC router, I decided to use it. I converted table of offset data to X-Y coordinates, then generated a fair curve for the stations. I SHOULD HAVE created a half curve, from shear to profile, then mirrored it. I didn't realize my mistake until I was done. The result is, the centerline of the bottom of the canoe is rounded, rather than coming to a point from stations 3 thru 6. I'm going to regenerate curves tonight, so I can compare what they should be, to what I have. Unfortunately, there's no way to accurately put these pieces back into the CNC router. I'll have to modify by hand, if I go that way.

I'll be making a set of Jimmy clamps this weekend, and hopefully have my work station set up. I'm cleaning out a one car garage, and dedicating it to this canoe build project.
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If I were you, I'd make paper half templates from your table of offsets, lay them on the forms along the center lines and flip the paper templates to make sure you have enough extra material all around the forms to modify them to conform to the intended offsets. If not, and I'm not telling you anything you don't already know, you will either have to start over or you will end up redesigining the canoe by changing the offsets. The redesign might end up being better than the original design but it is far more likely to worse; in any event it will be hard to know until it's done and on a first stripper who needs that kind of uncertainty?
 
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Yeah, I'm going to plot the half curves tonight. I believe it'll just be minor sanding near the profile to adjust. My first canoe is not going to be a "custom" design.
 
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Welcome, and thanks for posting your build. I'm on the home stretch of my first build, and the many experienced builders on this site have kept me on the road and out of the ditch. You've come to the right place. I look forward to following your build.
 
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Hello Kliff,
I'm always pleased to see new builders. Be forewarned, it's an addictive process, and with your background, you'll be popping boats off the forms like Chiclets! Oh, wait, is that a hopelessly dated reference?
Anyway, you mentioned Jimmy clamps, so I assume you plan to be stapleless.
Stemless too?
What wood? Bead and cove? How thick? I like 7/32" or even thinner if bead and cove. IMbO (that's BIASED opinion) WRC is the best wood for the application, low density, easy working, with nice color and grain...smells good too.
Most guys get intimidated by the lamination process, but with a slow hardener for epoxy resin, it's easy enough. Best to have an experienced helper if it's your first time. Even if you have plenty of experience, it's nice to have a spare set of clean hands nearby. A bunch of us here use resin from RAKA, good quality stuff, great service and reasonable prices.

What weight cloth? A layer and a half inside and out with 4 oz may be adequate, depending on your strip thickness and intended use.
That hull shape looks fairly flat amidships...you can always add some stiffening after the first outing if the hull is too flexible in those areas.

Is weight a concern for you? If so, watch your trim pieces, the weight can really get out of hand with dense, large gunnels and seat frames.
Also, only use enough resin on the inside to wet out your cloth, anything more will just make your hull more slippery under foot, and heavier on your shoulders. Additional resin inside does not add any appreciable strength.

Let's see, what else?? Oh yeah, welcome to the forum and post often with many photos.
 
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I love watching these build threads! Side effect may upset my wife though… good luck and post bunches!
 
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Great start Kliff !
Forms look like Baltic Birch 8ply ? Nice !
If you have your strongback ready ? I'd lay up those forms and clamp them to the cleats, with some C-clamps, that will allow for easy adjustment . There is always adjustment needed !
Those forms don't look too far out of line. A flat Keel will drift some in a cross. wind.

Beings you know of my clamps, you probably know how I cut my strips.
The Skilsaw method is the best I have found for cutting strips, from 1X stock (my preferred material).
If you are working with 2X stock, then a table saw is in order. Any chance you have a Power feed ?

Anxious to follow along ! This is my favorite time of year to start a build !

Jim
 
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Hello Kliff and welcome. Yes these people on here are a great help and a wealth of knowledge. They helped me with my first build. I would've been lost with out them. I look forward to watching your project. Like stripperguy said, it is addictive.
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Welcome to the site and we are all excited at a new build thread.

When you are figuring out the issue with your middle 4 forms (3 - 6) just remember, this is just the first of many things you will make decisions about as you proceed. All the decisions you make will feed into the next set of steps/decisions and so on through the build. So making good (not necessarily easy) decisions for the right reasons is a pretty important thing to keep in mind, as you proceed.

If you redo the curves and have excess material, sanding is definitely doable, the issue will be if you are already short, wood doesn't stretch well. In that case just realize that redoing 4 stations is not the end of the world and may be the better choice in the long run.

When you do strips, I concur with Jim on the Skilsaw method, but I actually prefer 8/4 rough stock as a starting point ... this is somewhat dependent on the strip size you select, which of course depends on the boat design (decisions.. decisions ... decisions), for narrower strips I can sometimes manage 3 strips from 8/4 stock which reduces waste, while 4/4 stock will always have significant waste. Having said that, regardless of waste, making your own strips, if you can, represents a big financial savings and great deal of builder satisfaction.

Looking forward to your build and please take the time to bring us along on your journey.

Brian
 
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Wow, thanks for all the comments and posts. Yes, I'm going staple-less. I'm set up for with a stem, but I'm toying with the idea of an inner stem, no outer. Anyone ever done this?

Design is straight from CanoeCraft. Prospector 16. I've double checked all stations, and except for the 2"Butt-2"butt area, they are spot on. This canoe is going to be primarily for lake paddling, with possible short camping trips, with minimal portages.

Yeah, my forms are all baltic birch. Fortunately, I have a source for "scraps", that are 2-3' wide, by 4' long. I can get pallets of it. If anyone is close to me (SE Wisconsin), I'd be happy to share. My mis-cut on the forms is going to be a simple fix. The only problem area is between mid line, and 2"butt. All points are dead on, it's just the profile got rounded, by creating a fair curve for the entire profile, rather than half profile, so a little minor sanding at the tip will fix this. I'll do it today with a disc sander.

I'll be ripping the strips on a table saw, and have infeed & outfeed rollers to make it go fairly easy. I'll probably run all strips through a surface planer to get to exact & uniform thickness. I have auto-feed on my shaper, not on the router tables. I'll probably use the shaper for bead & cove. For first build, I'm staying 1/4" thick on strips. I figure by the time I'm done sanding, it'll get thinner anyway. I'm planning on WRC for strips, using 1 by stock. I'm pretty sure I'll have a problem getting longer than 16 footers, so I'm going to take 2 16 footers, and scarf join them to end up with an 18 & a 14'

Haven't decided on trim wood yet. I was thinking teak for gunnels, but it is HEAVY. Perhaps mahogany, or walnut. Planning to wrap the gunnels to conceal the strip edge. Going to set up a straight bit in the router to cut the scuppers. I'm basing sizing on 3/4 by 3/4 ash, and doing strength calcs to determine equivalent size needed for other woods. Thwart & seat frames are going to be cherry. One of you said you used snow shoe webbing for seats. Like that idea.

Currently planning single layer of 6 oz cloth. Weight isn't a HUGE concern, as I'm not planning on this being a portage canoe. I've done quite a bit of glass work, just not on a canoe before. I usually use the West system. It's over-priced IMO, but I'm used to it. I'm not stuck on 6 oz, so if you guys have other suggestions, bring em on.

Hoping to have strongback & stations set up this weekend.
 
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'm planning on WRC for strips, using 1 by stock. I'm pretty sure I'll have a problem getting longer than 16 footers, so I'm going to take 2 16 footers, and scarf join them to end up with an 18 & a 14'
Only really need to scarf the first strip (the one that follows the shear line). After that you can just butt join. Stagger the joints randomly.

Haven't decided on trim wood yet. I was thinking teak for gunnels, but it is HEAVY. Perhaps mahogany, or walnut.

I strongly recommend sapele based on rot resistance, it's other physical characteristics and mahogany-like appearance at a lower cost. I also have used black walnut.
 
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I'll still and try and sway you away from a table saw, for cutting your strips ! Your strongback makes a great saw horse, and if you put wheels on it ? Roll it outside, and keep the Cedar dust out of the shop !
The accuracy of the Skilsaw, is such, there is absolutely no need to plane your strips !

Next on to bead and cove. Also no need to plane your planks ! If you run your strips BETWEEN the bit and the fence ? your first pass will uniform them perfectly ! I know conventual wisdom says no. You are cutting 1/4" Cedar. a small router, and feather boards, will handle it with ease.
Uniformity of your strips is what you want.

Sorry if I come off to strong ! You can just address me as James, if you want me to throttle back !

Good luck !

Jim
 
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Jim ... I know you swear by the practice of putting the strip between the fence and bit to create a uniform width and you likely have had no issues ... however, putting the work piece between the bit and fence seems to be condemned, as an unsafe method on most forums.

I am curious as to what other builders here do?


Brian
 
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I’ve done my bead and coves on the inside, as Jim describes, with no issues and no planing required. Worked fine for both 1/4 and 3/16 strips and with three feather boards holding everything in place it never felt like it was a safety issue ( but then again I guess most things rarely do until they become one). Soft cedar in featherweight strips doesn’t put up much resistance, even with my rinky-dink router and table setup - of course would be a different story with heavier boards.

I’ve also always used a table saw to cut my strips, which I definitely agree is not a lot of fun dealing with 16 foot boards and a couple of wobbly saw horses for in-feed and out-feed tables. Been meaning to try the skilsaw method for that reason, but it sounds like Kliff has a table saw setup that will get it done without any drama.
 
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Jim ... I know you swear by the practice of putting the strip between the fence and bit to create a uniform width and you likely have had no issues ... however, putting the work piece between the bit and fence seems to be condemned, as an unsafe method on most forums.

I am curious as to what other builders here do?


Brian
I puzzled on this process some, as Jim's method was contrary to my training. But after thinking it through I thought it safe, and got great results with skil-saw cut strips from rough cut material. No thickness planing necessary. It really does boil down to what's the load on the cutter. Not much in my case with 1/4 inch Northern White Cedar strips.
 
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Jim: I get what you're saying about the "SkilSaw method". The biggest issue with a table saw is the long fence, if you're raw stock has any hook to it, which it almost certainly does. I didn't mention this before, but what I do for long rips, where I want uniform width, and am concerned about following the edge is this:

I attach a shorter fence, to the tablesaw fence. Typically 2 times the length of sawblade exposed. If I'm ripping 1 by material, a 10" blade has about 6" exposed, so fence is 12" long. Center it on the blade. I've got my guide in place, but not attached. I also don't have the thin kerf blade on, because I'm not ready to cut strips yet. I guess it comes down to do you want to push the stock, or the saw. I can also use the splitter, to keep the strip away from the blade as it's cut. The table saw fence also isn't likely to get bumped out of size, and is more accurately adjusted. I'm also fortunate that I have access to the school shop for larger space needs. I'll rip the strips there If I go with the table saw. More than 20 feet on infeed and outfeed side. I am going to give the Skilsaw method a try before I cut strips. If nothing else, it's a good new trick to add to my bag. 1651177061371.jpeg

Regarding running the strips between the fence and cutter. This falls into the "do as I say, not as I do" category. As a teacher, I would not show students how to do this without also showing the necessary safety precautions. That being said, I would do it. Assuming you're using feather boards, make these tall enough so they are about 1/2" above the router bit. I usually double up the feather board just in the cutter area. Cut out the bottom portion of the feather board so you're basically creating a guard over the top and front of the cutter. Certainly you need to be careful. Also, with anything repetitive, take frequent short breaks so you don't fall into a trance, and make stupid mistakes.
 
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I can only assure you the Skilsaw is the best method I've found. If you try it ? You will be amazed.
I actually learned the basics of the Skilsaw method from the Minnesota builders. I'm very thankful !

I would have the splitter installed on the tablesaw, as that will help keep the blade from scaring, or burning the strips.
What width of planks are you going to be cutting ?

My router set up has always relied on feather boards, and when set properly ? It works great ! To me ? it's far more enjoyable than cutting strips.

One of my router set ups. I buy #3 and better planks from Menards, Hand sorting for flat grain, and as clear as I can find. ( I love sorting planks, and always return the pile neat and tidy) ! Sometimes there is a lot of variation in thickness. There can be at least an 1/8" in difference. No problem. I set the router for the narrowest strips. One pass through my router set up, and they are All the same width ! If you want your strip ends to match down the center line of the hull ? This is necessary.

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Jim
 
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You mentioned an inner stem. It would be fine, but they can be a problem to get cloth to lay in around them. Otherwise they would be fine ! I might even try it !
Beings you will soon be setting up those nice forms ? Here is another " Minnesota " trick, for aligning your stem forms. A couple of scrap strips stapled Vertically, makes a simple very accurate method of insuring alignment. I leave mine on, until they get in the way. Makes it easy to check while laying strips.


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Jim
 
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