May 8, 2011

Canoe Mold Build – Day 2

Thursday night Kevin and I brought together our separate work assignments to cut the stations and assemble the strongback. Kevin mentioned that when it came time to start connecting all of the points laid out by the book (James Moran’s Building Your Kevlar Canoe) on the drafting paper that a fishing pole was more useful than a French Curve as was recommended by the book. Beyond that he mentioned that drafting out the templates for the stations took a lot longer than he thought. He spent about 3 hours drafting the two sheets that each represented one half of two separate sets of stations. Keeping in mind Kevin has experience and college training in drafting, it would likely take an inexperienced guy like myself a few hours more. Food for thought.

Kevin cutting station template

Kevin cutting station template

We spent the evening transfering the paper templates to the 1/5″ plywood and then cutting out what became the stations. The templates are pretty cool in that they only represent one half of the piece you are cutting. First thing you do with the plywood is mark a centerline. You align the paper template to the center line, and trace the shape onto the wood. The you flip the template to the other side of the centerline and draw the other half. Wala, you now have a fully traced station on your plywood. Some quick work with the jigsaw, and you are ready to make the next station.

Nathan cutting station template

Nathan cutting station template

To get the template for the next station you cut a section off the template for the previous station. So the first station you cut is the largest and each subsequent station gets smaller. In the image below you can see Kevin and I cutting out the templates for our next stations.

Since Kevin and I were tag teaming this operation he took one station template and I took the other, and we went to work knocking them out. We found that tracing the templates and then cutting the plywood was quite efficient as opposed to tracing and then cutting back-and-forth. In a couple hours we had all 14 stations cut out and were ready to setup the strongback.

Kevin cutting out a station

Kevin cutting out a station

Assembling the strongback was straightforward. Since our canoe is going to have a finished length of about 16′, we needed to subtract about 31″ from the strongback as the bow and stern are attached to the ends of the strongback. The strongback is built from two 2″x6″ pieces of lumber screwed together to form a “T”. The horizontal 2″x6″ is used to straighten out the vertical 2″x6″. Achieving a perfectly straight strongback is essential to ensuring your canoe is straight. Our horizontal 2″x6″ was warped on the face edge, but fairly straight on it’s sides. This meant that as we screwed it to the vertical piece we would straighten out the face warp. Our vertical 2″x6″ was the opposite; it was warped more on the edge. In essence we performed basic wood grading for building a structure where square is important. Kevin used a tape measure to center the vertical 2″x6″ as I screwed the horizontal 2″x6″ down. We went about every 16″ down the length of the strongback to achieve a strong and straight strongback. A hand full of 3″ screws later and we had our strongback. I had built the legs myself on day one of building so all we had to do is attach them to the “T”.

Strongback built with a station sitting on top

Strongback built with a station sitting on top

Strongback assembled I went to work attaching the stations. While you would normally attach the bow and stern at this point, due to the late hour and the desire to hit certain checkpoint of completion I decided to attach the stations. Simply put we did not have the time to finish the bow and stern before Kevin had to take off and I wanted the night’s construction to end with a visual of the final shape of the canoe. Kevin and I started by marking out the spacining between the stations on the strongback. Since we shortened the Tripper canoe from 18′ to 16′ it was neccessary to change the spacing of the stations.

Chalk line snapped and squaring 2inch by 2 inch block

Chalk line snapped and squaring 2inch by 2 inch block

Once we laid out where the stations were to be placed we snapped a chalk like across the top of the strongback. This line allowed us to help ensure the stations were centered on the strongback (or at least with the other stations) which is key to a straight canoe. Once we had the chalkline I went to work screwing 2″x2″ blocks onto the strongback which the stations would screw into. As I screwed the 2″x2″ blocks down I used a straight edge to position them to ensure they were perpendicular to the strongback. The chalk line ensured the stations were placed in alignment with each other, and the squared blocks ensured that the stations where aligned with the strongback.

Next I went along the strongback attaching each station accordingly using 1″ screws. From here out next steps will be to attach the bow & stern, and run a string across the top of the canoe mold to ensure that all of the stations are properly aligned.

Strongback with stations attached

Strongback with stations attached

Canoe taking shape

Canoe taking shape

 

 

~Nathan

May 2, 2011

Started Building the Canoe Mold

Station drafting

Station drafting

Sunday afternoon commenced the first day of actual canoe construction. For the past 3-weeks Kevin and I have been meeting to discuss and read about the process, tools, and materials. We have learned a ton, and have a lot more to learn. This week Kevin is focusing on drafting the stations (think of as a rib cage for the mold) to paper, and I am acquiring lumber and rough cutting the stations. I also went ahead and created the legs for the strongback (the backbone of the mold).

On Wednesday we are planning to meet at which point we are going to cut out the stations from the drafting drawings Kevin is assembling, and we will assemble the stations onto the strongback. All in all by the end of the week we should have the frame of the mold complete.

Rough cut stations and strongback legs

Rough cut stations and strongback legs

Key Learnings

  • Hacking up some lumber is a great way to end a weekend. Garage smells great, and since it was only rough cuts all the parts turned out perfect.
  • Kevin and I’s weekly meeting with action items between the meetings is going well and driving results.
  • We are actually building a canoe. This is going to be LEGEND……..wait…for…it……..DARY!
~Nathan
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