canoe, part 3: buying the wood and making the stems (bow and stern)

Because I knew that once I put up the strongback for the molds, space in our living room would be very limited, I wanted to do what I could before hand. That wasn’t much, but one thing was to bend and glue the stems. I bought most of my wood from Stefan Kraus, a guy who sells kits as well as everything you could ask for when building a canoe, kayak or row boat and is based in Southern Germany (not close, but close enough). I thought about making the planking strips myself for a very long time, but with a lenght of more than 5 metres, the first problem is to get wood of the right quality that length. Everything above five metres is very difficult to get. The next problem is, that in order to be able to cut the strips and to then run them through a routertable for the bead-and-cove edge, you need at least five metres to each side of the table saw/router table. Space, that I just didn’t have.
Apart from the strips, most of them in spruce or fir, some in mahogany, I also bought the strips for the stern and bow from Stefan Kraus. I chose ash because of its flexibility and good color. For all the other parts I bought a large plank of ash locally.
One of my big concerns was how to bend the wood. After a lot of research I decided that it would be worth trying to bend them after soaking them in the bath tub overnight. The only problem with this method is that it takes a long time for the water to get out of the wood again (since they are soaked rather than steamed). Since I was going away over Christmas this wasn’t a problem for me. I made the water as hot as I could and warmed it up in the morning before getting the strips out for bending.

Soaking ash for the stern

Soaking ash for the stern

To bend the wood I used all the clamps I could get a hold off. After the strips were bent around the mold with the clamps  as well as a temporary jig I made, I used cable ties to have my clamps available again for the second stern. I left this on for all of the holidays, but I think a week would have been more than enough drying time.
After the holidays I glued the strips together using epoxy. The stems are made of six strips, three on the inside, three on the outside. The inside is attached to the mold and then the long strips for the hull are glued to it. later the outside is glued to the inside, so when making the stems one has to put a layer of tape between the outside and inside part in order for it not to be glued together accidentally (believe me, stuff like that will happen).

The stern strips after bending

The stem strips after bending

 

a temporary jig held the strips in form for gluing

a temporary jig held the strips in form for gluing

gluing the stern with all the clamps available...

gluing the stem with all the clamps available…

 

 

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