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1911 aa Old Town Charles River

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by Blott, Aug 29, 2020.

  1. OP

    Blott LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Cloth and resin over the 4 badly broken ribs and the resin got drawn under the ribs so I had to work them off with a fine blade. The other methods would have worked in the ideal scenario but here it was brute force and a sharp blade.
  2. Rod Tait (Orca Boats)

    Rod Tait (Orca Boats) Designer/Builder

    Sorry, but I understood the resin and glass was on the outside of the canoe.
  3. OP

    Blott LOVES Wooden Canoes

    911 Old Town Charles River.
    Todays update. Before I turn the canoe over to deal with planking and rib repairs I thought I would take the opportunity to tidy up the inwales. They had been fitted with brass sockets either for a canopy or cover hoops. Whatever, they had weakened the wood so I cut out some patches from the discarded outwales and also using my plug cutter, the holes were filled. I nibbled away at them to get a good fit then glued and clamped using waterproof glue. As the wood is the same age and type, once sanded and varnished they should match in well. At least there is strength back. Onwards. FFDA6835-E80F-41DA-BE16-2E7E7BB00D21_1_201_a.jpeg 33198EE9-AF11-4F0A-A464-A43D62B6B4D8_1_201_a.jpeg CF2ED9E5-ED94-4933-BE96-9C37488B28D9_1_201_a.jpeg 8F699ED7-D785-40F2-B0A1-DC5E9B49A6F1_1_201_a.jpeg E3C3CEFE-5FF9-4DC1-A6A1-8D89981351CA_1_201_a.jpeg
  4. OP

    Blott LOVES Wooden Canoes

    C7C52E1E-008E-4336-A9B8-5A29E22B89AE.jpeg 44771148-7B97-488D-B2D2-A5F41E2AC9AA.jpeg A65F2345-C224-4B1F-8514-DFA29C224B0E.jpeg 4A0A618B-7469-41C6-9292-BD2C3314D328.jpeg F99891C1-5740-4023-A91B-DB53990DB607.jpeg BC8C7207-0E5B-4FF8-80DB-354771749256.jpeg F1D89817-30F2-4F35-815A-760BDD866C6C.jpeg Next on the list was to do the backside repairs. I whipped an area of planking off cut the pockets and then steamed ad glued the cedar in place before finishing off once it had all cured. Clamps, clamps and more clamps. I cleaned them down after 24 hours curing by which time the timber was back with the ribs, planking and mahogany outwales planed down to size. I then improvised with some guttering and surgical gloves to soak the ribs which I will leave soaking for a few days before steaming. I cut a long scarf on the outwales and then glued and clamped these before getting on with the fourth backside rib repair. Everything was then left to soak and cure before I move to the next phase of putting it all back together.
  5. JClearwater

    JClearwater Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    As an aside and even though this post of mine runs the risk of derailing the thread I couldn't help but notice the flint nodules used to hold down the ribs while soaking them in the gutter. Many years ago my father and I canoed out to an old jetty in the Hudson River where there were tons and tons of flint nodules piled up. Being a black powder shooter we were constantly in need of rifle and musket flints for the gun locks. The nodules we collected had been used as ballast in sailing ships and discarded into the river. They had been dredged up when the jetty was built. We loaded the canoe so full we barely had any freeboard left, good thing the river was calm that day. But we have a lifetime supply of flint!

    Great thread by the way!

  6. Howie

    Howie Wooden Canoe Maniac

    I'm loving the surgical gloves used to seals the ends of the gutter. Clever!
  7. OP

    Blott LOVES Wooden Canoes

    I soaked the rib stock for a few days and then having done the fourth backside rib repair set up my steamer ( a re-purposed wallpaper stripper), got some polythene tube and steamed a total of 7 ribs ( I need 4 but allowed for the buggeration factor of some cracking in the process). I did it in two batches (4 & 3) and steamed for an hour which gave time to have some coffee and clear some of the cedar dust out of the garage. It is staggering how much dust comes off cedar; it got in everything despite me connecting a vacuum cleaner to the sander. 02B0DAAD-A4D2-40CB-A654-A8F75B0E0924_1_201_a.jpeg 848CEE2A-E460-4C1D-AE95-954917119C9B.jpeg 0A18920C-4AFC-4A54-9737-B524CFFE719D.jpeg

    I set my clamps ready for action and after an hour pulled ribs out of the steamer which I had covered with a heavy blanket to keep the steam in. One cracked as soon as it was shown any action so was clearly flawed but I got 6 on and positioned. I placed a plank of wood over and weighted them down with a garden watering can brimmed to the top, some Norfolk flints and my heavy cast iron "Mandela microwave" from South Africa. I will now leave in situ for a few days to dry and set. Before bedtime I went and checked the clamps and ensured they were still all tight. One rib has twisted slightly so that will join the kindling pile if it doesn't settle down.

    I have now put a length of ash in to soak; this will be for the outer stems. I will trace off the profile from the end of the canoe and make a form. On a Charles River there will be a mahoosive bend needed so lots of soaking and a very long steam to ensure that it will go around the radius without the risk of cracking.

    Thats it for a while. Back to banjo lessons to rid the garden of cats and persuade the neighbours to move :)
  8. OP

    Blott LOVES Wooden Canoes

    A parcel arrived from the Island Falls in the US today; well I say arrived, it got nabbed by the UK postal service first who wouldn't release it until I paid 20% VAT on the value of the contents and the postage and an exorbitant handling charge. These must now be the most expensive OT Diamond head bolts in the world. I will need a few more but they can wait until I next visit the US, Covid-19 permitting.

    The ash for the stem is still soaking so I traced the stem profile, tightened it in to allow for some springbuck and made a form. The ribs are now off the canoe having set and will be thinned at the tips and fitted at the weekend along with the new bits of planking. There is still some glass and resin to get off the inside so if the weather is fine at the weekend I will pull the canoe outside and set too with the heat gun.

    EC1AF6EB-9ED0-4A83-98C2-A3A902E5FA47.jpeg 4E5BE666-B6DA-4280-A230-2E02FAE87B6C.jpeg
    samb likes this.
  9. crosscuts

    crosscuts Crosscuts

    Lots of good discussion lately about steaming. Without derailing the current canoe subjects I have a question about steaming in general. Is there a danger to well soaked kiln dried canoe wood of steaming too long? If so, what is too long and what is the damage?

    Thanks for any opinions (there are apt to be many). R. C.
  10. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    I don't want to add insult to injury here but hopefully you are aware that Old Town didn't start using diamond headed bolts until 1922 as described at so this canoe that shipped in 1912 never had them originally. The bolts would have been countersunk and plugged. See for a similar example with double mahogany gunwales from 1907. Good luck,

  11. OP

    Blott LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Thanks Benson. Are you going to tell me that the world isn’t flat and that Trump is going to be President next ??
  12. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    I try to remain focused on canoes here so you are on your own for geography and politics.

    Blott likes this.
  13. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    Another shot of DG rails countersunk and plugged.

    Attached Files:

  14. OP

    Blott LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Having got over the news that I don't actually need the Diamond Head bolts :( I cracked on with the planking.

    I eventually took the new ribs off the canoe but stored them under some compression with a tie strap until I need them so that they maintain the shape.

    The next job was to do the planking I cut this down to 2 3/4" which is the maximum. Each board was tapered as needed and then fettled to fit. To get the boards on the curve to take the shape I cut then to size and then fixed on one edge before adding a bit of steam which assisted them in bending to shape. One did split as it dried so I took it off and replaced. Interestingly having carefully measured the curved boards as they take the curve up do "shrink" so I have a gap. I will add a bit of filler but a gap is good as with time, this new wood will swell as it takes up moisture; if it were too tight it would pop.

    I then turned the canoe over, thinned down the rib tips of the two that I am putting in now and cajoled them into position. I forced them down to take the shape of the hull and then clamped them, cut the tops off level with the top plank and then took them out to thin them down slightly again to prevent the top plank from bulging if the rib were too thick where it passes between the inwale and the planking. When I was happy with the fit I pinned them with some bronze ring nails, clenched a few tacks to secure them and walked away. I will do the full tacking when I have all of the ribs in.

    The next job is to cut out the other two ribs that are being replaced ( these are marked with blue tape) and then put in the final two replacement ribs. The 'reject" rib eventually gave up of its own accord and will join the kindling supply.

    The other job was to bend the outer stems. Sam had given me a lovely bit of ash which I have soaked for four days. I made a form, added some metal strap as backing and then steamed the ash for an hour before bending and clamping as I go. I have pulled the curve in tighter than the profile on the canoe to allow for some some spring back when the tension is released.

    A3AA0D31-18E1-4A76-A335-1A4C19F32EEE_1_201_a.jpeg 0FA63214-4467-47C2-9231-B91EFD5D8033.jpeg 894CC6FE-E7CF-47A1-B9C4-F0E0314B5D08.jpeg C006B53F-F673-4C2D-9FA7-8757D0E3C184_1_201_a.jpeg 2274BBCD-DFAD-40E7-B4A0-A62B6883098D_1_201_a.jpeg
  15. OP

    Blott LOVES Wooden Canoes

    So I cracked on with the tacking during the early part of the week and got the ribs secured along with the planking. I purchased an old cobblers hammer which makes life easier (they have a good concave face centring the blow on the tack). I also got some cabinet makers scrapers which will make cleaning the inside easier. I also replaced the central sections of the shear planks where the new ribs had been fixed as the existing were damaged and a bit manky.
    On Saturday I set the router up and cut the profile on the outwales. All went well and then at the end of the second length there was a FUBAR and the top of the rail tore. I found out that it was a combination of two things; a section where the grain was running out but the main issue was that the fixing screws between the router and the table plate had worked slightly loose. With luck the buggered section may just be at the tip so it will either be beyond the usable length or if needed I can cut a small patch in on the top of the rail.

    I found a set of old planes for sale locally; they are old , have weight and were sharp so I was able to to easily work the profile down on the outwales so that they lapped over the planking.

    Next was to start the steamer and crack out the clamps. Patience was the order of the day and then being bold and brave to really pull the ends up to get the upturn required. I did one end; three more to do. I will drill and screw the sections once each is dry and set in place. Once all are done I can then cut and thin the ends. Normally you would thin on the inside face but because of the lap over the planking I cannot do that so will do it from the outside instead and will also thin from the underside too.

    Looks like I am going to have a garage resembling a Turkish steam room this week. The other outwale has a bend on it already which I can use to my advantage. 77DA22A4-E333-439B-80FC-C95538BE87B6_1_201_a.jpeg wale has a bend on it already which I can use to my advantage. 3F5EE38E-09CC-4A4B-A380-4A41E38BE982_1_201_a.jpeg 1EB3795C-0A39-4064-80FD-5BFCF8E6BAE5.jpeg E2E04F8F-6C8C-4415-AD07-3AE10F71666B.jpeg 7E6565DB-AD09-4734-A85D-1EA89B10D545_1_201_a.jpeg 125F91B0-40C5-4E3B-BE0A-EE415B315E46_1_201_a.jpeg 2CBB5A97-1120-46BE-987E-45DDAECE01DE.jpeg 1AA65067-7108-4E8D-8F0D-22FDF0A45DF6_1_201_a.jpeg

  16. OP

    Blott LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Well its been a week in the sweat shop getting the outwales steamed, bent and fitted. This evening I got the second one on and tweaked to a fitting and position which I am happy with. Remember that I am bending 1" x 1" section with the rebate cut.

    Lessons learnt:
    1. I really should have moved to Norfolk years ago as an extra hand and fingers would have been useful!
    2. You never have enough clamps!
    3. Steam is hot!
    4. Old Brazilian mahogany does not really like steam and being bent.


    The shape of the canoe looks good.

    I will leave them now to set and get a bit of "memory" and when they are dry I will first start to shape them on the canoe to get the edge profile and round them off. I have kept two sections of the original outwales for reference; a centre section and an end. I can then mark out and trim the four ends down when I take them off the canoe. Before doing that I will work along the lengths, mark the high spots and the plane down the outwales and tidy the top of the planking so that they will fit down snug. I will also have to work out how they will fit with the outer stems which I will test fit soon. These are what I have kept for reference.
    There is a fair bit to plane down, sand and remove to get to the profile so I have recessed the screws a fair bit so I don't bugger my planes. Where I have bent the wood, despite using numerous clamps and a metal backer, it interestingly created a small fold/crease on the top which will disappear as I fair it down. There was a slight split on one end on the inside face; I stuck a bit of epoxy in this and left it all to dry and that has held the split. I can make that vanish. All of the originals had creases and cracks in the same areas so clearly it's a mahogany issue.

    The canoe was then hoisted back into the rafters.
    The other thing I did was a tack count. For the canvassing with 50 ribs I will need 200. Add the stems and I think at about 300-350 in the bag I will have enough.

    The canvas and the filler have arrived but they can sit there whilst I do the fairing, cleaning and hull prep. I will carefully check over all the tacks to make sure they are all tight as if I find one once the canvas is on it will be a bugger. I also got some Mylands shellac to start colouring the new wood to match the old.
    That' s me done for a bit so this morning as the weather is looking fine, I loaded the Swift Osprey on the Land Rover and went to do a bit of otter spotting on the Little Ouse.
    It was not a bad outing as you can see. I managed to leave a trail of cedar sawdust along the river :) The otters were elusive but the Kingfishers were plentiful as were the deer.

    Benson Gray, pklonowski and samb like this.
  17. OP

    Blott LOVES Wooden Canoes

    The weather stayed dry on Sunday so late in the afternoon I managed to get one outer stem fitted and then the other on Monday. The outwales also got a shape and sand down. I will now leave everything alone for a week to allow the wood to take shape, settle and hopefully get some memory.

    This is the outwales fitted with a first rub down and a bit of shape/profile added.

    Wood for the stern seat cut. I can practise my mortise and tenon skills


    The four new ribs had some more colour added. I will keep working on the planking to get it to match in.


    Effective use of some ratchet straps enabled me to get the outer stems on. There are some slight gaps which the canvas, filler and bedding compound will take up.


    The other end was then done in the same way and the canoe put back up in the rafters.

    2DB5C955-861A-49F6-8406-1E991217281C.jpeg 1C634ADA-3FFF-4876-ADDB-9EDE545E0E18.jpeg 9B944572-5EA6-4CA8-A926-E2290FFF4333.jpeg

    In a week or so I will put the brass stem bands on and start to shape and profile the outer stems and refine the outwales, stem and deck detail. My winter evening project will be to get the seat frames in good order and then take up cane weaving.

    Keep well.

  18. samb

    samb LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Looking good Nick. Cane weaving is happening here on the rushton at present. I'm using 2mm cane and will have spare if you need some.
  19. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    Perhaps this picture will help you to recreate the rails and seats....

    Attached Files:

    Blott likes this.
  20. OP

    Blott LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Today has been a day of fiddling and fettling. The weather was foul so everything had to be done inside out of the rain.

    The first job was to measure and fabricate the frame of the stern seat. I had some leftover mahogany so measured twice and then cut a seat which has the dimensions which looked correct. I haven't cut mortice and tenon joints since wood work classes at school, A router and sharp chisel made easy work of the job. I will look at how the bow seat is finished and then start the job of shaping and smoothing the frame.
    The next job was to plane down and shape the outer stem. I tacked in place the brass stem bands so I knew where to shape down to. I have ordered 3m of new brass for new longer stem bands to cover the whole length of the ash outer stem. I then set about producing an awful lot of fire starter material.
    65DA6CA2-8AD7-43F4-A85C-755933DBB76F_1_201_a.jpeg A6277065-B826-4035-9D33-E33579714BC6_1_201_a.jpeg
    t has been planed and hasped and I will then hand finish with a sanding block. The gaps will be taken up by the canvas, filler and bedding compound.

    Next I worked on the outwales. I wasn't happy with the fit at the ends. The wood has bent but twisted in the process. I have planed down and thinned the ends so the wood is now a bit more agreeable to going where I want it to go rather than where it wishes. I planed, gave a bit of steam and stated to get them pulled in. You can see the raised lip on the rear rail on the 2nd photo. I have got the one in the foreground down and in.

    86E75639-D066-4096-9B34-EBBFE3B0054E_1_201_a.jpeg EFD428C7-45AA-46CD-8325-8D102A8FE2C1_1_201_a.jpeg
    You can see that the front one is now sitting flush. The rear is at the tip but I need to work on the raised section using more steam, blocks and clamps.
    It's a case of nibbling away with a small plane and easing it in and down section by section.

    The final hour was spent cleaning the garage. I may have to fire up the camping stove or get a guinea pig with all these shavings!


    During the week I used some of the mahogany dust/flour mixed with glue as a filler around areas which had been patched on the inwales before. When sanded, and varnished this should match in well.
    I also faired the hull a bit. I want to get on with cleaning and sanding back the inside, give it a good wash, dry and then varnish before I put the canvas on. I also need to continue to colour match the new planking. I will use a satin/matte varnish. I also have the floorboards to tidy up and make some securing clips.

    Thats it for this weekend


    Attached Files:

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