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In this video I explain how I make the gunnels for my cedar strip canoe.
*Important* – if you watch till the end you’ll see me explain that I did not use the recommended ratio for a scarf joint angle! In this video I make the scarf at a 2:1 ratio (2” long for every 1” wide), the right ratio is at least 6:1. The larger the ratio you use the more contact area your joint will have therefore the stronger it will be.
As I was trying to bend an inner gunnel onto the canoe it snapped at the scarf joint. I have to do this whole process over – waste of wood and time…
The moral of the story is don’t be rushed, learn from my mistakes, take the experts (not talking about myself) on the internet seriously, use 6:1 ratios for your scarf joints, etc…
Materials & Supplies:
Ark Composites Resin and Slow Hardener
Premarked cups with the ratios for mixing the epoxy.
White Ash for Gunnels
Whatever kind of wood you want to use for your Scuppers
Clamp 2 long ash boards together and cut the angle for your scarf joint off the end (Remember the 6:1 ratio!!!)
Glue the scarf joint – I’m using ark composites epoxy glue with a cotton fiber additive which makes the glue stronger. Here are some helpful instructions for working with epoxy glue: http://www.westsystem.com/ss/use-guides/
After the glue cures run the long board through the planer to clean it up, then rip the outer gunners. My outer gunnels are ¾” thick and ⅞” wide with a bevel on the underside of them. The outside of the outer gunnel ends up being ⅝” thick.
I plane the remaining 2+” wide ash stick to about ⅝” thick then glue the scuppers on. I made my scuppers out of black walnut. I cut blanks to 2” wide x 3” long x ¼” thick and route a cove onto the ends so the scupper holes will be rounded when they’re no the canoe – it felt like a little bit of a sketchy set up on the router table – probably not the safest way to use a router.
I paint the face of the ash with epoxy, then paint the face of the scuppers with epoxy/cotton fiber, then use little handmade clamps I made to glue them on at 2” intervals.
After that cures, I do some sanding to clean up drips then rip the whole thing to two ¾” matching gunnels.
Don’t be as dumb as me:) it’s important to wear gloves when working with epoxy. You’ll probably notice I take some unnecessary risks when I build and I don’t have a good excuse. It’ll probably end up paying for it someday…
People use a lot of different variations for measurements and processes. Depending on your tools and how you’ll be using your canoe you will find methods that you’re comfortable with.
Here are a couple good resources to learn more about Cedar Strip Canoe Building:
https://www.amazon.com/Canoecraft-Illustrated-Guide-Woodstrip-Construction/dp/1552093425 – “Canoecraft” is the cedar strip canoe building bible. Buy it and read the whole book before you start building.
http://forum.woodenboat.com/ – This site is actually really helpful. Usually if I type a specific boat building question into google a previous forum post from the Woodenboat Forum is near the top. You can also post your own questions.
http://www.instructables.com/id/Building-A-Cedar-Strip-Canoe/ – This guy (Jim Clem) made a very detailed step-by-step guide to cedar strip canoe building. There are a lot of helpful process explanations for some of the trickier parts of building. I used his blog a lot while building my first canoe.
Feel free to comment on this video if you have any questions! Thanks for watching!
I get my canoe building materials from Noah’s Marine Supply (http://www.noahsmarine.com/index.asp)
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