Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Shaving Cedar Sheathing

Spring seems to be in the air in Central Ontario. Mild, sunny temperatures have started to thaw the lake ice and has gotten me excited about the upcoming paddling season. The bark canoe has has come out of winter storage pretty well and despite being dried out, the bark hull still looks to be in good shape.

All the ribs blanks have been carved so next on the to do list is to finish carving the cedar sheathing split back in January. These had been split slightly more than 1/8" thickness and needed some cleaning up, but with some advice from Francois Rothan, I'll be making them thinner still to about 1/16th or less.

Unfortunately my crooked knife skills are nowhere near the the level where I could cleanly shave the delicate sheathing without leaving unsightly and uneven gouges. A few times, I even ended up snapping the thin cedar while working. So as a compromise, I used the crooked knife to clean up some of the ridges from the splitting process and then used a block plane on a workbench to finalize the thickness.

Working with the crooked knife; Workbench with the block plane

In order to break up the monotonous work, I placed some of the sheathing loosely into the hull to get a visual of the boat and see my progess. Normally, the sheathing would be soaked for a few days to soften up and allow them to curve with the hull's shape, but I simply layed down the pieces with very loose temporary ribs to get a sneak peek at what the future interior may look like.

Sheathing pieces; Quick layout in hull

I still need to taper and shape the ends, but first I simply want to finish carving the pile of sheathing blanks. If time permits I'm hoping to carve the headboards before my holiday time this week is up too.

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