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Kayak fishing the Lone Star State...


By Willy
#1324978
I have just completed my strongback for a 38 special Merlin Canoe. The forms look like they are in perfect alignment and I'm just awaiting a table saw and some cedar. I was following a stemless build design but have noticed many of the canoes I have seen here have used stems (at least externally). This is my last chance to change my mind before beginning stripping. What are your opinions on a stemless design? This is my first boat and I'm going into it with the idea that I may complete it without staples but may find myself changing my mind on that front.

Also, I am planning on using 1/4" thick strips of WRC but don't know the ideal width for strips (assuming I am beading and coving strips). I imagine that rough cedar one-by material would leave some really narrow strips after planing the rough side? And if so then I'm thinking that leaves me looking at two-by material. Is this thinking correct?

Any additional comments or suggestions are appreciated at this point. I'm sure these have been addressed at some point but I failed to find the answers in the last few pages of posts.

-Will
By barditch
#1325026
:shock: Uh, you might want to ask Gerald, Bowgarguide, DarrellS, and Pogo about that beading and coving thing...since I'm still at the S&G level of incompetance, I'm not qualified to speak to the issue, but they do, and that ain't their first best choice! Just a word of warning!
User avatar
By Pogo
#1325035
That's going to be a seriously nice boat to spend a day on the water in, bet you're going to be real happy with it. I absolutely love my Merlin. Ya done good on choice of designs! 8)

Internal or external stems is a religious argument, just as is staples-vs-no staples and cove-and-bead-vs-rolling bevels. Study your options, then go with what you're most comfortable with.

I skip internal stems because I want to save weight wherever I can, and because I'm confident the finished boat will be plenty strong without 'em. I always add external stems, however, almost purely for cosmetic reasons. I want my boats to look good, and damn good will be even better. Still, they are generally considered to be a sacrificial wear strip, but I've never had to replace one.

You can use strips of any width and thickness within reason, but you'll save a lot of corrective work if you ensure they are consistent. I've been openly and expressly accused of suggesting micrometers here on this board, and can never understand it. BS! What I suggest is taking one strip that's cut to the size you want, then bless it as sacred and holy and protect it from all harm, and use it to set your fence each and every time you cut strips from here on out (I have 6 "master strips" that are roughly 9" long, keep 'em in my tool locker, have had 'em for years). That simple procedure works wonders keeping output very consistent, and save lots of tedious fixit time. Also, take your time lining up strips while the glue's WET; minutes doing so will be paid back in hours of time saved sanding out the uneveness after the glue has cured.

If you want to go staple-less, then go for it indeed! I use staples, but have a friend who doesn't, and amazingly enough comes very near to keeping pace with me in building speed. I've often thought about going staple-less myself, but have little incentive since I actually rather like the look of the faint rows of staple holes.

I almost never use one-by lumber because I almost can never find any that's clear enough (knot-free). Seems I have much better luck picking up 2x4's, 2x6's, 4x4's, 4x6's, etc., and milling them into strips. Now that I'm in the habit of passing up the one-by stuff without even looking at it, I have the added benefit of never having to sweat strip widths because a board was planed too thin at the yard or whatever. Also eliminates rough edge syndrome. It's actually EASIER to mill consistent strips when you use a well thought out procedure up front, as is true in most routine woodshop tasks (I've made my living in a woodshop once or twice).

Bead and cove works better on canoes than anything because canoes are so completely curvy. If it's ever going to be appropriate, this would be where. Kayaks have lots more flat surface areas to strip where no edge treatment is necessary. Barditch is right: we generally poo-poo B&C here, but even still, it's a religious argument, and your mileage may vary.
Last edited by Pogo on Sat Aug 15, 2009 8:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
By barditch
#1325052
8) Yo, Pogo...thank goodness you showed up...I was already past my level of competance, and I really didn't want to get into block planes, etc--I love 'em, but it's like, I have to be in my shop, alone, doing my thing...explain 'em--NOT! I can do very high level work via smaill chisels and dental drills on long range rifles, but...fitting two strips perfectly consistantly, is still a goal to be achieved.
By barditch
#1325054
bowgarguide wrote:Need to take me out of the strip built guru category ,I have never built one.
Ron

:? Mebbe so, but everything I've seen that you've built is gooder'n garlic! You don't woof out that easy!
User avatar
By bowgarguide
#1325066
Pogo
I took your advice and bought a block plane ,took a long time to find a block of wood big enough for a yak,and I will tell you it sure going to take me a long time to plane out this yak.
Ron
User avatar
By Pogo
#1325073
Ron, when you get garlic on your breath your sense of humor is deadlier than ever. Red, you have permission to smoke him. Now knock it off, both of you; Willy's trying to talk about building a Merlin here. :clap: Anyone gets in the way of a Merlin answers to ME. :P

Um, Willy, you did see this, didn't you: http://mysite.verizon.net/ngc704/merlin/

Image
By barditch
#1325084
:D I'll go be good, too! It's a trial and a challenge, but, I don't need Pogo on my case, and I certainly don't have anything of value to add to the conversation, and...my beer can's empty!
User avatar
By DarrellS
#1325117
I tried the B&C method and was not impressed. It doubles the amount of work required per strip. I am not saying there is anything wrong with Bead and Cove,some people would have it no other way, but it was not for me. It is much easier to bevel each strip as it is layed. Just my opinion.



I do not like Merlins. :lol: :lol: :lol: Just kidding Pogo. Please reholster your weapon and sit down. :D
User avatar
By gerald
#1325410
Willy wrote:I have just completed my strongback for a 38 special Merlin Canoe. The forms look like they are in perfect alignment and I'm just awaiting a table saw and some cedar. I was following a stemless build design but have noticed many of the canoes I have seen here have used stems (at least externally). This is my last chance to change my mind before beginning stripping. What are your opinions on a stemless design? This is my first boat and I'm going into it with the idea that I may complete it without staples but may find myself changing my mind on that front.

Also, I am planning on using 1/4" thick strips of WRC but don't know the ideal width for strips (assuming I am beading and coving strips). I imagine that rough cedar one-by material would leave some really narrow strips after planing the rough side? And if so then I'm thinking that leaves me looking at two-by material. Is this thinking correct?

Any additional comments or suggestions are appreciated at this point. I'm sure these have been addressed at some point but I failed to find the answers in the last few pages of posts.

-Will


By stem I'm assuming that you are referring to an internal or external piece of wood/form/part of the boat that remains when the boat is finished. My very first boat had a stem. Since then I have rarely used a traditional stem. The fillets and strips of cloth on the inside and outside of of a bow or stern ARE the stem. This holds true with S&G and strip building. On an S&G it's easy to go "stemless" since the plywood makes a nice easy finish that you can round over. It's a little harder with strip building since you have so many strips coming to a point. In this case I generally just sand the end flat and laminate strips on the external point and round them over. I guess you could call that an external stem. It's much easier, looks good, and is strong.

Staples or stapleless is a personal choice. I will do either depending upon the purpose of the boat. I will also use staples on the hull and no staples on the deck--like what I'll do on the Triple X Fishing Boat. Considering the logistics and time necessary for stapleless I will only use it on boats where it is specified by the owner or for showboats. It DOES make the job more difficult but certainly not impossible.

The general size of your strips is 3/4 X 1/4. This is not set in stone. It can be variable. I use 99.999% 1 X * material. 90% of that is the rough fencing cedar you can get at Home Depot, Lowe's or McCoys. I pick through the wood, cut the strips, and pick through the strips. This wood, rough on one side, is generally a little more than 3/4" so when you plane the rough side it is about 3/4". Remember--3/4" is just a basic size. It really doesn't matter what size it is as long as it looks right and good. As I strip I may make a strip on one side narrower in order to keep the pattern lined up. On a rolling bevel with the rough fencing cedar I usually use the rough side to plane and leave the other side alone. Sometimes I have to plane both edges. I do not use bead and cove because it is unnecessary and harder to work and adds a lot of work to the boat. You will in fact end up having to plane most of the bead and cove off to make some of the rounder curves. Some people like it--I don't. The ones who like it usually haven't built many (or any) boats.

I love canoes. Pogo's Merlin looks like a nice design.
User avatar
By Pogo
#1325441
gerald wrote:The ones who like it usually haven't built many (or any) boats.

Whew, I'd be careful where I posted that line! :shock:
User avatar
By gerald
#1325504
Pogo wrote:
gerald wrote:The ones who like it usually haven't built many (or any) boats.

Whew, I'd be careful where I posted that line! :shock:


Yeah--I know. There's always exceptions to the rule...
By Willy
#1325573
Wow! I had no idea I would get such quick advice. Thank you.

Pogo, your documented builds have answered many of my questions and been very enjoyable reading. I will have many more questions as I move on but what do you use to thin down your 2x material? Can you rip it vertically and get two layers that are wide enough to cut strips from out of one thickness of 2x? I ask because my next table saw will be my first and I'm not too familiar with its' capabilities. I also own a planer but I'm just beginning to learn how to use it. I'm assuming the kerf-width etc. would eat up quite a bit of wood. Just curious what tool is suitable for splitting the 2x to 3/4 inch or so?

I was encouraged to see it didn't require 16 and 18 foot clear boards! I was a bit doubtful of finding stock like that for less than a fortune.

I think you guys have convinced me to let my brand new bead and cove router bits collect some red sawdust. I've always wanted to learn how to use hand tools anyway. I have an old spoke shave and an old block plane and zero practice using them. Is the block plane the tool of choice for these rolling bevels? Do you set your blade level?

Sorry for so many questions in one post but each answer leads me to more questions. It looks like an outer "cosmetic" stem can be decided on later.

To those who have built staple-less, I have made some plywood "L"s to use with clamps and wedges and patience to hold my strips - I have a ton of clamps but was wondering if I will need to leave many of these implements in place after a course has dried?

Enough questions for one day. Again, thank you all for your input!
User avatar
By Pogo
#1325705
Some very accomplished builders use B&C and swear by them. We swear at them here in our little corner of the world. Just FYI; I try to keep a broad outlook. Gerald, inner and outer stems are common practice in canoe building as popularized by Bear Mountain and Newfound Woodworks books and videos. I eschew the inner stems as I said, and like the way you put it as to why. Willy, fire away -- questions are what we live for around here! :D

(I look at Gerald's photo albums for ideas quite a bit. 8) )

Thickness planers and jointers are very nice machines to have, but they're not necessities. But since you have one I'll put it this way: I'll plane a rough cut cedar 2x4 to just a thickness that my ($11 hardware store 7.5" thin-kerf Freud Diablo 24-tooth carbide rip) blade can make a parting cut in one pass. That's something like 1 13/16", don't hold me to it. It's enough to get two slabs off that are at least 3/4" thick, in any case. If I'm too lazy to haul the planer out I make the parting cut in two passes; just be sure to flip the board end-for-end so the same side rides against the fence to minimize the "step" you're sure to get no matter what.

There's kind of a lot to explain, so just ask again when you're ready to get started and we'll talk about table saw jockeying. I'll be happy to post lots of picture to help make it clear, but basically I cut slabs that are precisely dimensioned to equal the final width I want my strips to be, then rip the strips off them at the precise thickness. Viola, very consistent output with little fuss. I also do what I call "poor man's jointer" work on the table saw to get a good edge going quickly; again, just ask for more details whenever you want to hear more.

Block plane for rolling bevels, and a low angle block plane is best. I use a Stanley 60 1/2 12-degree, and dream of the day I break down and spring for a Lie-Nelson. I'd pay most attention to the sharpening program. The Scary Sharp method is excellent, just Google it. I use Japanese waterstones now, and use the Scary Sharp stuff to true the stones up. I use a non-fancy Veritas jig to hold the blade accurately.

Wood glue takes one hour to set up sufficiently to remove clamps for further work, but only just. You kind of learn how to work this sort of abbreviated cure time without messing things up when you work in a cabinet shop. But in the case of strip building, once a strip course has "tacked" pretty good, remove the clamps and slap on the next course and clamp 'er up . . . . and then the previous course is re-clamped. Make sense? Thinking ahead can keep a positive flow going.

Absolutely -- an outer "cosmetic" stem can be decided on later. I've seen plenty of boats with no "stem" at all. Hull ends are intrinsically strong and beefy structural shapes.

I know a couple of guys in SA who are remarkable with home boat building and the lumber they find locally, let me know if you want to get in cahoots with 'em and I'll put you in touch. Hint: Birke lives there.... 8)
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By Birke
#1326035
Hey Willy,

I live in SA, and have a few boats under my belt. They are all still floating too!

I don't know where you are lookign for wood, but I found all of my WRC at Braundera Lumber off of Braun Rd and Bandera Rd. They have the clean stuff inside the store. You may have to make several trips over several weeks time as you may only pick up one or two boards that appeal to you each trip.

Let me know if I can be of any help.

Mike
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