Blog - Tales From The River & Workshop

Felix's Canoe Steaming and fitting Gunwale repairs.

A closer examination of the most damaged gunwales revealed that ontop of the fact that their ends are rotten and missing the rot extends quite a way along them. I had treated the rot a few days ago with preservative and hardener but it was clear I would still have to remove some of the material and splice on repairs.I began by cutting a splice and removing the rotten section. When I had removed one bit I found a split in the planking which I glued up first with a bit of 5 minute PU. These repairs require steaming so I set up my steaming equipment which consists of an old pressure cooker (which I put on my wood burner) with a washing machine hose fitted to the top.The hose is then placed insi

A Water Powered head torch for a paddle through the Dudley Tunnel

Dudley Canal and Tunnel.(with my water powered head torch!) Hello Folks I knew in advance that I would be paddling in the dark this weekend so I decided to prepare myself by converting my head torch to water power. I hastily cut out a piece of ply and made it into a water wheel with a block to take the wind up part of my head torch. I had no time to test it and headed off to Dudley Canal trust and met up with the rest of the group who were to paddle through the Tunnel and back. We put in and waited whilst the swing bridge was opened for us to pass. You might be forgiven for thinking why would anyone paddle a tunnel but this one really is quite interesting as it has spaces where it opens out

Felix's Canoe There's a hole in my Boat!

Hello Folks Today I decided to tidy up the area where I have removed the stem bands. My friend Nick visited at the weekend and we discussed this area which was previously filled with some sort of white sealant that appears to have dried out and become hard and useless like old putty and I suspect it is something of that ilk. You can see it in the gap between the planks where they meet the stems. I picked at it and hoovered it out and am still thinking about whether to make a wooden fillet to go in the gap. I could just get some filler or modern sealant (Nick's suggestion was arbocol) and put that in but my thinking is it wouldn't leave much for the stem band nails or screws to fix into which

Sailing rig Patterns for Gudgeon and Pintle( rudder fittings)

Hello Folks Although I have been busy with other projects recently I still found time to make the patterns for my rudder fittings. I am going to get these cast as they are not available to buy off the shelf like this and this design which I found in Todd bradshaw's book is an old one from Willits Bros canoe makers and is rather good because it allows for lots of places to put screws into the timber. My patterns are made of scraps of mahogany which I remembered is a good wood for pattern making as I used to use it when I was learning to be an engineers pattern maker at Charles Keen College in Leicester back in 1981. I also remembered we had tapers on our patterns and some were made to split s

Felix's Canoe Stripping the Outside

Before I began stripping the outside I decided it would be best to carefully remove the Stem bands. These look like they have worn quite thin but I think they may be original so on that basis I am going to clean them up first and make the decision to refit them or not when I have done more of the work. They do not run the whole length of the hull and have been nailed in place with the exception of one short section that is screwed. I prised them off carefully. and noticed curiously, that both lengths have a short piece at the bottom end. with the pieces removed I cleaned them up with a bit of scotchbrite. Where they have been removed doesn't look pretty. I think I might cut away all the fill

Felix's Canoe cleaning up stems and a Handy hint.

Hello Folks This afternoon I spent a bit of time carefully chiselling away the white lead around the stem at one end of Felix's Canoe. Before After With that done the stem was still in need of a bit of careful sanding. Here is how to get to those hard to reach parts of the stem The gap is too small for even my skinny fingers to hold sandpaper so I folded a small piece and gripped it between two thin pieces of wood like so. Then worked it between the ribs like this I had to change the paper quite often as such a small piece clogs quickly and I was also careful to make sure it was narrow enough so it wasn't cutting into the ribs. Cheers Alick

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