Monday, July 21, 2008

Building Frame

I scored a pretty nice deal in the scrap bin at Home Depot. Three, 5/8" plywood wall panels (4ft long x 3ft wide with a 1/2" tongue & groove) for the grand total of $4.01 which I intend to use as a the building frame. Purists may argue that such building materials have no place in a historical bark canoe, but various books I've read mention how many native builders (Jocko Carle, William Commanda, Dan Sarazin) used plywood forms later in their building careers for ease of use. This generally involved a building frame constructed in two symmetrical halves, but I figured using three small panels would work too while also being easier to carry and store.

With my wife away on a 2 day business trip, I hijacked the condo balcony for the purpose of marking out the frame. It was tight but I could just maneuver around. The three panels were layed out on foldable sawhorses and marked out the centre a chalk line. The positions of the centre, intermediate, and end thwarts were also marked out in permanent marker.

Plywood panels taking up on the balcony; Chalk line centre

Then using the same technique as the building bed, panel nails were lightly tapped into position on this lines so that a flexible cedar batten could be bent around them, forming the curve of the hull. This was sketched out in pencil and formed the cutting guidelines.

Panel nails & cedar batten; Finished guidelines

After another visit to the Carpenter's Square where I also did some simultaneous work cutting out square staves from some 2x12 scraps also in the discout bin), the plywood panels were cut and the form emerged. Below are the assembled and disassembled pics back on the condo balcony.

Completed form panels lined up; panels disassembled for transport

Another small step completed.

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