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My First Wood Canvas Canoe Build Part 2

With the extra planking prepared I could continue planking. On consulting books and the W.C.H,A forum it seemed that just wetting the planks with hot water was supposed to be enough to get them to bend. I found this was not enough for my planking as I kept getting splits. Usually at the worst time when I was putting in the last tack!

I found it helped if I wetted the planks well and left them overnight to soak and for some pieces I even steamed the ends a little where the twisting and bending was at its greatest.

I also found the tacks weren’t quite driving home tightly as I would have liked and there was some bouncing of the ribs against the form. At the time this concerned me but it was easily remedied later on so I needn’t have worried.

Once I had plenty of new planking I decided to replace some of those I had put on that had split. This meant cutting the plank as I didn’t need to replace it all but just a part of it. Then I cut away the split section and removed the tacks before fitting a replacement.

Here’s a section where I have removed a part of a plank.

At the bow and stern I also had another problem that was not mentioned in books or forums although a passing mention was made which only said some builders do this and they have different approaches to getting around it.

It seems I had ended up with some gaps between the planks where they diverged at the end of the hull.

None of the books I was using seemed to show this happening despite making no mention of shaping the edges of the first few planks at all which would have been one way of sorting it. Anyway I continued planking whilst trying to think of a solution which I shall come to later.I also replaced the split section at the top of this picture!

Once the planking gets to the point where it runs out of metal backing on the jig and is a plank or two from the sheerline it is almost time to remove the hull from the jig. Before that the tacks are punched in and the hull damped down with warm water then left overnight.The plastic is on there to stop it drying out before the wood has a chance to swell.

This allows the dents made by the hammer to swell back before sanding. Unlike the strip built canoes I make, wood canvas canoes do not require a great deal of sanding on the outside as the hull is covered with canvas! The purpose of the sanding in this case is purely as a fairing operation to smooth the contours to shape.

I begin with my fairing board working across the planks to knock off the high edges and then I go over it all again with my orbital sander taking care not to make any flat spots.

Sanding of the bow and stern is not complete as these planks are still loose and of course the sheer planks have yet to be fitted.

Removal from the form is a simple process.

The clamps are removed from the gunwales and I was quite surprised by the amount of spring back that the hull exhibited. You can see this from this picture I took from under the gunwale edge.

This is normal and as you will also notice the ends of the planks are not yet tacked to the stems. This enables the hull to be removed from the form.

Once removed the hull is placed on trestles the right way up and you get to see the skeletal insides in all their glory! That’s where I shall leave it for now and next time the gunwales and stems will be joined together.

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