Monday, September 15, 2008

Making Stem Pieces & Final Stitching

Here are some shots of making & stitching the ends of the canoe. First, some stem pieces were prepared from cedar stock that had been soaking in the lake overnight. One end was split carefully multiple times to about 80% of the length and then the cedar was wrapped in some leftover leather lace. With plenty of boiling water on hand, they were bent to form the modest curved end of the style of canoe I was aiming for. Even though I've used Adney's plan of the Attikamek Hunter's canoe, I've decided on a canoe with less sheer and stems with less curve, similar to the ends of a St.Francis Abenaki canoe also listed in Adney's book.

Starting the splits

Working the ends

Bending with hot water

My first attempt resulted in a cracked stem piece, but luckily I had prepared an extra bit of stock in anticipation of some mistakes. The next two stems didn't crack and were held in place in a jig I made with scrap pine board and some nails.

Broken attempt; 2 stem pieces drying on form

Once the items were dry a few days later and after most of the gunwale lashing was complete, I clamped the pieces into place and began stitching them into place.

Temporarily clamped; Hull inverted; Stitching into place

Once these were in place, I spent some more tedious time stitching the lap joints, gores, and any other minor cracks that appeared in the boat. For 2 large knotholes in the hull, I ended up stitching extra pieces from the inside that I'll end up gumming up tightly when the time comes.

The completed bark hull

Inside look

Even though canoe looks hogged at the moment, this is apparently normal after it comes off the building bed. There's a lot of "flex" in the bark at the centre of the canoe, so it'll pop into proper shape when the ribs are in.

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