Monday, April 27, 2009

Inserting Ribs & Sheathing

A big day! Time had come to insert the soaking cedar sheathing and custom fit the pre-bent ribs into the canoe. I couldn't help but remember my frustrating experience with setting the sheathing in my model canoe. Try as I might with temporary ribs, the sheathing kept slipping. This time, another procedure was tried. Strips of sheathing was placed in the hull and held in place with the tension of the headboards squeezing them against the hull. The top layer of sheathing close to the gunwales was held with trigger clamps. The system worked well enough to hold the thin cedar in place but still allow for some movement and adjustment.

Soaked sheathing layed out; Stacked sheathing at the stern

The tied rib bundles were put into position and marked at the height of the gunwales. The tops were cut with a saw and then carved to a chisel shape with a knife. Forgot my crooked knife this time around, so ended up using a Farrier's (Hoof) knife I had picked up a while back.

Rib bundle; Sawing the tops; Carving tip to chisel point

The ribs tips were squeezed under the bevel of the inwale. I've read of horror stories of some people forgetting to carve this all important bevel or carving on the wrong side of the inwale and having to carve it after the stitching of the hull. Can't imagine having to do this after the fact. With a piece of scrap cedar rib and some hardwood scrap as an mallet, the ribs were slowly pounded in (not to vertical) all the while soaking the bark with plenty of boiling water to prevent it from splitting. After getting the ribs on either end soundly installed, I had a pleasant visitor swing by and pose with the work so far.

Tapping in ribs

My boy enjoying all the action

After letting the bark stretch for a few hours, the whole thing was soaked in hot water again and the ribs pounded home to their final position. The canoe was then laid out to dry out in the brief sunshine. Here's the final result...

All ribs in

Another angle

Still a few cosmetic things to get done like making bark decks, carving and pegging gunwale caps, and of course gumming the seams, but the major stress of the build is behind me.


Mungo said...

Very impressive! Your little one looks like he is enjoying participating...



Murat said...

Many thanks Mungo. I'm sure James Ozan will enjoy spending quality bushcraft time with dad too.

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