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  • Alick Burt

Building a Wood Canvas Canoe Part - 5

After another long absence I can finally get back to this slowly evolving blog. The next thing to be done is the fitting of the final bits of planking up to the sheerline. The fitting of them is the same as the rest of the planking except they need to have their top edges trimmed to allow for the Outwales to be fitted. The rebate on the Outwale will cover the edge after the canvas has been fitted. Marking this top edge for cutting is achieved with a simple but effective jig. This gizmo allows you to run a pencil along the top edge of the planks.

simple device or gizmo for marking the planking edge for cutting.
Jig for marking cut on top edge of planks

The cut is made with a sharp Stanley knife. Take care that your blade doesn’t wander. I always wondered what the different depth of cut settings on my knife were for! Handy to avoid cutting into the ribs.

Trimming the planking edge is done with a craft knife
Cedar plank edge cut which will be underneath the Gunwale

With that stage complete I decided it was time to re clinch all my tacks to be sure the heads are well below the surface. This is done with the aid of a cinching or clinching or clenching Iron depending on what you wish to call it but essentially a heavy lump of metal that is shaped to fit the curves inside the hull allowing you to hit the heads and bend the points of the tacks.

Any hard lump of metal will work to bend the tack points but a clenching iron is the traditional tool.
A clenching or clinching Iron used to bend tack ends

I have fairly long arms but even with my reach I found it useful to use a mirror placed on the floor so I could see the heads of the tacks as I worked.

Mirror used to assist with clecnching tacks on wooden canoe
Mirror used so you can see where the tack heads are while clinching your wood canvas canoe.

With that done I could give the planking a final sanding.

Sanding planking on cedar canoe
Sanding cedar planks on the side of the hull.

Once that was done the next stage is to coat the outside with something before canvassing. If you research the subject of what to use for this coating you will find a variety of options and opinions of what one should and shouldn’t use. These opinions often contradict each other but they fall into two camps. Those who varnish and those who oil. Some use fungicide or preservative whilst others don’t bother with it. I decided to go for the oil and preservative mix option as I had both these to hand and had also used the same on my 120 year old canoe. It is also far easier to use in the slightly dusty environment of my workshop!

Hull soaked with a linseed Oil & preservative mixture.
Boat soup mix applied to hull.

The hull looks good too when you put oil on the wood. It is important to let the oil dry well before proceeding with the canvas so I let it dry for a week whilst I got on with other work.

Next stage canvassing!

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