Friday, August 8, 2008

Collecting Support Stakes & Prepping Staves

With the Cedar Canvas build behind me, I spent some time preparing some materials for the birchbark canoe build - specifically the 3ft long stakes & staves that'll be used during the foldup of the bark. Instead of paying a small sum for 26, 3ft hardwood dowels, I figured I could save money by harvesting my own. Didn't have to go far. The adjacent hotel property next to our place had a giant pile of wood scraps from a recent landscaping job. After asking the Manager for permission, I was told to take as much as needed. I sifted through the pile (mostly cedar, balsam fir, and maple pieces) and used one of the giant stumps to chop up the stakes and shape their ends to fit into the 1-1/4" holes cut into the building bed. I ended up with 28 stakes of various thicknesses from the pile which should serve adequately for the build

Wood pile; shaping ends with the Wetterlings

The final haul of stakes

To bring all the stakes back, I wrapped them up in a utility strap while using a 30L Barrel Harness to haul the stump back to the garage for when I need to do some re-chopping. The shot below shows the stuff on the building bed. The barrel underneath was used to collect some rainwater during the last monster thunderstorm that ran through our area...30L of water collected in under 15minutes from our rainspout!

The stakes & stump brought back to the garage

During the model canoe build, I found that 1/4" square dowels would work very nicely as inner staves when the bark was folded up to form the hull. The square edges would sit nice and flush with the top of the bark where they were tied to the outer (round) stakes and with an angled edge on the bottom, they would jam in nicely between the plywood building frame and the bark.

While searching through the Home Depot scrap bin (I'm a regular now), I came across some 2x12 cutoffs ranging from 2 to 4 feet. I snagged these up for a buck each and then ripped them into strips using a table saw at the Carpenter's Square while I was there to cut out the building frame. In the end I was left with 28 staves from this cheap source. Home Depot sells 2x2x42" stakes for 89 cents each. Had I purchased these, they would've amounted to $25 with tax and I ended up spending a little over $3 for the materials.

After ripping the wood, I forgot to cut the angle bottoms (quick work with a mitre saw). So instead, I brought them back up north and did this part by hand and shaped the ends with the axe by the growing pile of cut logs on the adjacent hotel property.

Square staves from ripped 2x10 scrap

Shaping with the axe

The angled tips

Simple stuff and another tiny part of the build preparation complete. Slowly but surely, the materials are getting harvested. Next up is sourcing out some cedar.

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