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  • Alick Burt

Felix's Canoe Refitting Decks

Hello Folks

It has been some time since I last posted a blog abot Felix's Canoe. I have been repeating the process in my last blog de nibbing and varnishing and building up the coating in the hope she will be watertight. She has now had nine coats and I feel it is time to refit the decks and fittings.

The original screws are still in good enough condition to be used so I feel no need to replace them. Although I have coated the decks with wood hardener, boat soup and lots of varnish they are still a little soft and delicate. Also there is no guarantee that the screws will grip in their holes so some require a wood peg glued into the hole to make them grip. I found this was more the case with the coaming screws than the ones that held the deck in place.

I also give the screws a little candle wax to make sure they do not break and just make them a little easier to put in.

I like to get the slots of the screws in line with the grain of the timber for a neat look. Note also how the heads of these screws are smaller than the norm so they can be sunk into the thin gunwale edge.

The screws at the pointy end of the decks are of smaller size and near the tip their position has been staggered so the points don't hit each other.

Once the deck was in place I fitted the coaming. As I mentioned above some of these screw holes weren't gripping so I had to glue in a peg or two to make them grip.I also cleaned up the heads gently on a piece of 400 grit sandpaper before fitting them.

Now the deck is fitted but wait!

The screws I had put in at the corner of the deck had broken my repair on the corner. The repair was also not big enough and when I thought about the reason was clear. If you look at the grain on these one piece decks it runs length ways so, not only are the corners an obvious weak point but the deck will have shrunk over the years across its width pulling it away at the corners creating the gap in this area. I had made my patch following the curve without taking this into consideration. The screw had gone in and pulled the new timber away from the old breaking the joint on the old side of the glue line (my glue hadn't failed) so I decided to make a new piece to fill the gap better.

I removed the coaming and the broken piece and made a paper template of the new piece to be made.

I can't pretend that cutting out a little piece like this is easy because it isn't. I cut one out shaped it a bit put in place shaped it a bit more and then a bit more before noticing I had over done it and it was now too small. I made another one and by carefully shaping it with an upside down belt sander was able to avoid making the same mistake twice.

I test fitted it many times before it reached this stage and then marked the thickness before planing a bit off the top.

I glued it to the deck only with my go to glue of choice, waterproof 5 minute PU.

This meant I could leave it to glue whilst I did the other end.Note I was able to make use of my first piece as a clamping block!

I also noticed my repair on the other end had exactly the same problem so I re made it in the same way.

Once the glue had set I was able to sand the repairs and stain them and though I will have to give them a few coats of varnish it won't take long as they are such small pieces so I can easily fit it around other work.

And that's where I will leave it for now.

Thank you for reading.


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