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  • Alick Burt

Building a Stitch and Glue Canoe - Part 1

A few months ago I had a call from a lady who had a stitch and glue canoe kit that had been in her garage since around 1984! It seemed a pity to let it go to waste and originally it was her husbands intention to build it but as is so often the case with these things he sadly passed away before he found time to complete it.

The kit was a Granta Kayel Ranger 14. Stitch and glue technique is different to how I normally make canoes as the hull is made from plywood panels that are first stitched and then glued together, (The clue's in the title!) as opposed to making up the hull out of wood strips.

Once the hull has been made it can then be covered in cloth and resin or just painted/ varnished inside and out.

The kit had been started in that the pieces had been joined with tape and resin end to end to make up the length of the hull. This meant I had to collect the parts in this condition so I took some battens with me to strap the flappy pieces to my roof rack. However when I returned to the workshop and removed them some of these joints fell apart in my hands. It seems the resin originally supplied with the kit had deteriorated and was no longer working. Amongst the kit parts I also found the old acrylic resin which had gone hard in the tin as it was well beyond its use by date. During storage some of the ply had become stained by water so in order to help disguise this I sanded it and then stained the ply. This meant I also had to stain where the ply had been previously joined which was going to make it difficult to put right.

Nowadays resin joints are made with epoxy resin not polyester.
Some old poyester resin from the 1980's had failed and the tape came off in my hand!

Here is some of the water staining after I had given it a careful sanding as I didn't want to go through the veneer.

water satins on plywood are cleaned up.
Water stains on the old ply were carefully sanded.

I decided to stain the ply and re-join the parts once the stain had dried.

Plywood stained to hide watermarks
Tinting the plywood with wood stain.

resin and tape used to end join the long parts.
Joint re-glued with fresh tape and epoxy resin.

The dowel prop is holding the right hand piece of ply flat.

The pieces were left to set overnight and then the process repeated on the opposite side of each panel so that's where I will leave it for now. Thank you for reading.



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