Monday, November 7, 2022

Trapper Canoe Project - plenty of planking and splicing repairs

It's been quite a while since I was able to post about the restoration of the 14' Trapper canoe begun in 2020. What began as a potential project to work with High School students became derailed during the initial Covid shutdown and then again during the multiple waves. 

Resigned to the fact that I would be tackling this project on my own, I started to slowly and methodically conduct repairs on the hull that had been fully stripped of its fiberglass exterior and interior paint. Any broken or rotten planking was removed and work began on rib repair.

While no ribs were cracked, hard usage of the boat by the sole original owner resulted in multiple rotted rib tops. The necessary ribs were were repaired with new cedar spliced on while nail holes in other rib backs were simply strengthened with wood filler.

Also requiring attention were the rotted stems on both ends. Previous repairs on rotted inwale ends were poorly done with too shallow a splice angle, epoxy and screws and non-matching wood type.

New stem tips of rot-resistant sassafras were shaped and spliced on both stems. I was able to secure some white oak gunnel stock to match the original inwales and did those repairs at either end as well. In the end I ended up re-using the decks so did not have to carve out new ones.

There was a fair bit of planking that needed to be replaced, particularly on the bottom where the old canoe had been subjected to heavy metal beaver traps and such.

I ended up using a band-saw and belt sander to mill some planking from left over white cedar stock from the birchbark canoe build years ago. In spots subject to heavy strain on the bottom of the hull, the planking would stretch over multiple ribs to be a stronger repair. 

In spots where the planking would take a severe bend or twist, the plank would be heated with a damp towel and clothes iron and then tacked into place. Over many weeks of slow milling and hammering, the planking on the hull was complete. Plenty of sanding was done to fair the hull but this boring part was not photographed...

Next up: Canvasing and painting. Read that post HERE.

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