Blog - Tales From The River & Workshop

My first sighting of an Otter

My first sighting of an Otter I have been paddling for six years now and until today had not seen an Otter. Or at least I could not be totally sure. A few years ago in the evening I used to paddle from Howsham Hall in Yorkshire up the Derwent to the Stone Trough Pub at Kirkham where I would have a pub lunch before paddling back in the twilight. On one occasion I heard a Tawny Owl in the wood on the right bank and as I paddled I did my best impersonation of an Owl call and heard the Owl in the wood calling and coming closer until It eventually saw me and realised I wasn't an owl at all and flapped off screeching as it flew back into the trees.Anyway when it came to Otters I had been told they

Felix's Canoe Teak cleaner reveals something interesting!

Hello Folks Having spent a bit of time on the WCHA forum I discovered that after stripping people often use Teak Cleaner to clean the hull and even out the colour. This is normally used for both teak decks and garden furniture and comes in two packs that are used one after the other. Both stages require rinsing so I decided to move the hull outside to make this easier. I also decided to do the decks at the same time so started with pack one on the first deck. and then I proceeded to coat the hull. after a few minutes the deck was rinsed and pack two applied. The Hull was also rinsed and then pack two was applied. Then all was rinsed and left to dry. It was then I remembered I had left the ot

Felix's Canoe and now to the decks!

Felix's Canoe Decks Hello folks Yesterday as I was stripping under the decks I decided that it would be a good idea to remove them to make my life easier. One of them was already loose so I decided to remove it first and leave the other in place for now. When I make my woodstrip canoes from scratch the decks are well glued and screwed in place but with this deck there was no evidence of any glue and the screws were relatively easy to remove. I also noticed they have very slim heads perfect for this application. I have actually taken ordinary screws and sanded the heads down to this sort of profile (in a drill) so I could squeeze one in at the narrow end of a tapering outwale before now so I

Sailing Rig some last minute changes to the rudder.

Hello folks As you may know I have been using Todd Bradshaws book"Canoe Rig The essence and the Art” to guide me in my design of sailing rig. In the book there is mention of a really good type of pintle and gudgeon for the rudder that was used by the canoe makers Willitts Brothers. The design is clever because it has large plates that allow for lots of screw positions into the woodwork of the canoe.The problem as far as I can tell by searching online is you can't buy them anywhere! Todd mentions he likes them so much he might make a pattern and have some cast for himself. I don't know if he ever did, but as I did the first year of an engineers patternmaking course (back in 1981) I have decid

Wansford lock for lunch and back.

Hello Folks With household chores to do in the morning I didn't have much time for paddling today but I wanted to do a short paddle up to Wansford lock, have lunch and return. Whilst researching leeboards on line for my sailing rig ( see my other blog )I also came across a site ran by a chap called Vic, called leeboards.com. The site is all about leeboards and Vic likes to collect pictures of them so I gave him some of the one's I am making for my canoe. My friend Jason has just finished doing up his Dutch barge ( for sale) which has leeboards on it so I wanted to take a picture of it to send to Vic too and it was on route. I also wanted to test my latest paddle which has a new type of oil f

Felix's Canoe How to Strip a Stripper!

With the thwart glued and stabilising the hull I was now able to proceed with stripping varnish from the inside. Although there is still some varnish left on the timber, with canoes of this type that are not covered in fibreglass and epoxy they rely on a really good coating of varnish to help keep them from leaking so with that in mind I decided that despite the obvious amount of work involved it had to be done. Although it is a long time since I have done any stripping of paint or varnish I did do a fair amount of it when I had my first cabinet making job so I am not without experience in this area. I was also taught how to do it when I was at college learning to be a furniture production m

Felix's Canoe the Rebuilding of a Genuine Antique Day 2.

The first thing to do when faced with a canoe that has gathered dust for thirty two years is to give it a clean so you can see what you are dealing with. I began by vacuuming off the dirt and leaves that had collected Inside the decks at each end and then went over the surface with some white spirit using a plastic scourer to help lift the dirt. whilst cleaning you begin to notice things that need attention. I noticed a few woodworm holes and got out my killer. For her age she is in incredibly good condition. The planking looks to be undamaged and there are no large holes or repairs. Both stems are intact although the keel band has come adrift and the timber underneath looks a little worn an

Felix's Canoe the Rebuilding of a Genuine Antique

One of the most fascinating aspects of discovering old canoes is often the story that comes with them. This canoe came to me Via my good friend Nick Dennis of the WCHA. As head of the UK chapter Nick is often asked about old and Antique Canoes and sometimes people ask him to look after a canoe they have owned but no longer have need of. The thing is these canoes last very well if looked after and not neglected and in many ways it helps that they get used because often the worst thing that can happen to the wood is that it is allowed to dry out. The point is we never really own these old canoes as they will be here long after we are gone instead we are custodians who look after them and hopef

Sailing Rig, Making the Rudder.

There are many ways to make a rudder assembly but I decided on this one which again comes from Todd Bradshaw's fabulous book. Once again I adapted the design to incorporate some nice cabinet makers touches. I began by making the blade from a cupped offcut of Ash. Once I had planed and thicknessed it I cut out a template from a scrap of hardboard and marked out the shape of the rudder blade. I cut out the profile on the bandsaw and then drew guidelines for shaping. This was then put in the vice and shaped with a spokeshave. The housing for it is made in three layers and I found some bits of Iroko to do this with before making a template for them and cutting them out.The middle one fits around

Mast Foot and Bracket

Unlike the rest of the parts I have been making these pieces are made specifically to fit the Sunnyside Cruiser. They could of course be adapted to fit any canoe and an alternative would be to make a bracket that fits onto a seat or thwart instead of fitting to the deck. This first piece is the mast foot which I am making from Iroko. I began by marking out a hole for the mast to go into that will be tapered to fit. I cut the hole from each side with my morticer but if you don't have one you could always cut it out with a jigsaw or even a coping saw it will just take longer. The hole was then tapered with a chisel to fit the mast and coated with epoxy to toughen it and make it last longer. In

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woodencanoes.uk

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