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  • Alick Burt

Peterborough's 10 and 11 or How I make my Canoes part 4.

At the end of part three I was working on the decks and having prepared the parts we now move to glueing them up.

Next day the deck parts are joined using a biscuit jointer. This is a simple device that cuts a recess in the edge of the pieces into which a plywood biscuit is glued to give the joint more strength than a plain butt joint.

Glueing up comes next and this is accomplished with the aid of a wedge shaped jig and a selection of cramps.

One of the canoes will be having smaller decks so while the laminated ones were left to set I cut out a couple of pieces of ash. This sort of deck would be a good idea if you want a boat of reduced weight but in this case it is purely because the top of the boat will be up in the ceiling where they will not be seen.

My next task is to give the hulls a good sanding. They have been coated with resin but this still needs to be rubbed down to remove any runs and unevenness before varnishing.

Then right at the end of the day I was able to begin the shaping of the decks. First with a plane on the convex upper sides.

and then with my wooden moulding plane on the undersides.

Now that the resin on the hulls has had time to set I return to sanding it. First with 120grit dry paper and then I go over again with a wet and dry sanding block and a scotchbrite pad using water with a little detergent added.

Then at last it is time to remove the hulls from the moulds. This can be tricky particularly if the design of canoe has tumblehome, that is to say the sides curve inwards at the top. The stations are removed from underneath and then with the help of an assistant the hulls can be lifted off. Sometimes the stem forms will also not come out easily and as here they are left in place and then removed once the hull has been turned over.

The inside of each hull is then scraped with a variety of scrapers I actually made one of these from an old sawblade when I discovered I needed a curve with a radius between the two I already had.

After scraping comes sanding. I begin with my orbital sander where it can reach and where it sits relatively flat on the surface before sanding the concave areas by hand.

After a good vacuuming I turned one hull over again briefly to use it as a tempate to cut the cloth for the insides.

This was then carefully rolled up again ready to be put on the insides of the hulls.

Everything was left overnight to settle and then next day the insides of the hulls were glassed.

This is slightly more difficult than the outside because the cloth has to be placed in carefully to avoid tearing the weave and the resin has to be brushed up the inside of the hull without making creases in the cloth or ending up with it drying too quick particularly where the stems are or you end up with a fast setting puddle!

Once again it was a long day but it was made slightly easier by the fact that the canoe that will hang upright does not need three coats on its inside. The weave of the cloth can be left showing on any canoe really especially if you want to keep the weight down and some canoeists prefer it because it makes the inside of the boat less slippery.

The second boat will hang upside down so its inside will be on view and for that reason I gave it the full three coats that I normally do to make it looked filled and shiny.

and that is where I shall leave it for now.

Next day once the resin had set the first task is to tidy up the stems. The cloth was folded up their edges and they were then coated with resin but there are a few lumps here and there so I tidy them up with a rifler file.

I did this on both hulls and then gave them a sand and a coat of resin before moving on to making thwarts for the one that will hang upright.

The function of these is purely to hang the boat from so I have fixed them by screwing and glueing through the hull edge. The idea is that if in the future some body wants to use the boat they can be left as they are or easily removed so inwales and seats can be fitted in the normal manner.

While they set I continued sanding and shaping the decks for this boat.

These were then glued and screwed in place with epoxy reinforcing the bow and stern.

The day after, I moved on to fitting the Outwales to the one we will call Peterborough 10 (as it will be the first of the two to be completed). These are screwed and glued to the hull. The screws at the bow and stern go right through into the decks and the heads are covered with wooden plugs.


On the rest of the hull they are screwed and glued from inside so the heads will not be seen as it will be hanging up and the clamps are left on where needed until the glue has set.

Now we come to a slightly trickier operation which is fitting the inwales on Peterborough 11.

These have to be clamped in place one end at a time like this.

The length is marked and then cut a little over size before clamping again and checking the fit.The end cut is a compound angle which will vary depending on the exact position of the inwale so it has to be right.

This has to be in exactly the right position so the inwale is correctly positioned at the centre of the hull. Once one end is done the other can be marked, cut and fitted the same way and once the first inwale is done you can do the other side.

As I didn't have quite enough time to do both on the same day I glued up the laminates for one of the coamings and left it at that.

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