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New smooth skin replacement on Rushton

Discussion in 'Traditional All-Wood Construction' started by chris pearson, Sep 2, 2011.

  1. chris pearson

    chris pearson Michigan Canoe Nut

    I was lucky enough to get a Rushton smooth skin. I get the carvell as well as the lapstrake technique, and feel fairly comfortable replacing existing planks, but... any knowledge would be appreciated for replacing smoothskin and making the tapered lap joint all on the same board. No wonder why they went out of business! So, you have the board cupped, tapering along its length, and tapered edges all at once, and dead nuts or it'll leak. My hat goes off to anyone who does, or has done, construction like this. Any advice is welcome. Thanks in advance.

  2. Denis M. Kallery

    Denis M. Kallery Passed Away July 3, 2012 In Memoriam

    I'll be working on a smooth skin Igo [I think] next week. This is not a restoration though, just a refurbish to make it usable. The problem is the planking has checked and allows for leakage. If anyone wishes to make suggestions for correcting the problem -short of plank replacement please feel free to put your two cents in. What the heck you can even make it a quarters worth if you want.
    Thanks, Denis
  3. Dave Wermuth

    Dave Wermuth Who hid my paddle?

    Denis, I used Lifecaulk from Jamestown on that Walter Dean basket case. Mahogany color. Don't let it get too out of control, like I did.
  4. Dave Wermuth

    Dave Wermuth Who hid my paddle?

    Oh, forgot to mention

    You can also cut splints to fill the spaces.
  5. OP
    chris pearson

    chris pearson Michigan Canoe Nut

    I think I'm lookin at some plank replacement, I'm in no hurry. Got allot to learn and basic boat building skills to read up on. That shop must have had some very skilled craftsmen, combining multiple construction methods in every single plank.
  6. Dylan Schoelzel

    Dylan Schoelzel born in a canoe

    Denis - Keep the caulk out of the cracks. Splining is not that difficult, looks good when done properly, and is way more structurally sound.

    Do you have pictures of the cracks/checks you can post?

    Congratulations on your purchase Chris! You’ll have fun working on it.
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2011
  7. Canoez

    Canoez Paddle Bait

    Off topic, but... Dylan - were you folks on the high ground last weekend?
  8. john hupfield

    john hupfield fire starter/wood burner

    Tis a four stage process.
    Cut and taper the board to length. Bevel the top with a nice low angle block plane. Taper the bottom the same. Dry fit (repeatably) steam for shaping. dry fit. Place and nail when it is right. Might take more than one piece. With a Rushton I would put it aside until I knew I was confident to approach it. They had templates. Maybe lay the plank up alongside the hull till you are sure of a match.
    I think Rushtons are worth a lot of Good Effort. Maybe a lot of Good Money Too.
    No Rush. Take up Zen or something. Don't chemiclize a restorable hull.
  9. OP
    chris pearson

    chris pearson Michigan Canoe Nut

    damage details...

    Rushton damage details.... Inside edge is chewed up, however looks ok on outside, but the next plank to it looks bad on the outside. Replace all 4 planks? eek! What you see is the rib spacer plank over the garboard plank.

    Attached Files:

  10. john hupfield

    john hupfield fire starter/wood burner

    Always hard to tell from a picture.
    Is that the full extent?
  11. OP
    chris pearson

    chris pearson Michigan Canoe Nut

    more repair areas....

    So, there are problems with the garboards mostly on the inside, and problems with the adjoining planks next to them.....there are some cracks on the outside of garboards at stem twist.....

    Attached Files:

  12. OP
    chris pearson

    chris pearson Michigan Canoe Nut

    more damage

    Heres more replacement/repair. I agree, either way, replace with wood, but to what level? Spline? total replacement. I bought Greg Rossel's book, "Building Small Boats", great book to learn the basics. Learning quick the Rushton was special because he combined various features to a single plank adding to degree of difficultly. Taking my sweet time with this one...

    Attached Files:

  13. Dylan Schoelzel

    Dylan Schoelzel born in a canoe

    Fortunately we were on high ground but our area got absolutely thrashed. The river in town rose 30 feet from normal levels, some roads were completely washed out for 10 miles; impassable, and folks in some towns were stranded because all the roads washed out. Their only transportation has been National Guard Helicopters. I hope other members in the region fared well. Parts of Vermont got hammered pretty hard too.

    Chris – Those old planking repairs really look like they need to be redone. They weren’t done well to begin with.

    It is so hard to tell without being in front of the canoe whether splines will work or whether replacing is the way to go. You really need to assess the plank as whole and how it works in relation with adjoining planks/keelson and what their condition is.

    Is there just one clean crack on the gardboard that runs 2 feet long and is 1/16th of inch wide? Or does the garboard have multiple splits some a ¼ inch wide all the way through the thickness of the plank and some on a diagonal? Does the adjoining plank have lots of cracks too?

    The last photo shows a lot of lap damage, cracked planking, and butt joints confined to one area of the hull. You need to ask if splices, patches, splines, and glue jobs are going to provide structural integrity, look well when done, and blend in with the original workmanship put forth when the canoe was built.

    Should you elect to replace a plank or two or a section, remember that the plank being replaced can be used as a template for the new one being made. You will be able to pick up all the necessary bevel angles, lap widths, etc too. If something is missing from the plank being replaced you can fill in the blanks by using adjoining planks or connect the dots with a batten when tracing the new plank out.

    If the plank being replaced is totally useless, perhaps like the ones someone attempted to do, and they are not serving as a good pattern because the edge is missing for too great a distance, etc, you can use the method of spiling. Use the plank being replaced as the spiling batten by swinging your arcs on it. You should be able to see were the edge of the lap is/was on the adjoining plank; this is where you put the needle of the compass then swing the arc on the plank being replaced.

    The radius of the arc is arbitrary; it’s left up to the builder. Once it has been set don’t change it.

    If the other edge of the plank is missing too (which will be on the other side of the hull, either inside or out) you will have to tack (two sided tape works well) a temporary batten on the side you are working on to highlight the edge of the hidden lap. This batten will serve as the proper place to put the compass needle and allows you to work from the same side of the hull and keep all your arcs on the same side of the spiling batten, which they should/have to be.
  14. OP
    chris pearson

    chris pearson Michigan Canoe Nut

    Thanks for the advice all. I will go at this very carefully. Dylan, I was also thinking about folks in New England, I hope things get better soon. Thanks again for the advice.
  15. Dylan Schoelzel

    Dylan Schoelzel born in a canoe

    Chris, I don’t know if this will help but here it is. The pictures below are organized in sequential with the exception of the first one titled 5 plank pattern. That is picture 5.

    If you end up replacing a plank you will want to use flitch sawn or live edge cedar. What this means is that the lumber has been sawn through and through (as opposed to the circular log squared up into a cant and sawn into square edge lumber) and the bark is still left on. When logs are sawn like this any sweep or curve in the log will show up in the lumber. This is what you want.

    You will notice that each plank is not a straight piece of wood from stem to stem but rather it is curved. This curve or sweep is cut and shaped from a pattern. If square edged wood was used a lot of grain run off would occur. Buying using live edge lumber with a sweep you can better match the grain with the curve of the plank pattern and minimize or almost do away with grain run off completely.

    It may not be necessary to use live edge on small sections of planking that get replaced though. Whatever the case is, you want to make sure that the grain run off is kept to minimum and that the grain runs (parallel) or with the curve of the plank.

    Here are some pictures of replacing a garboard that needed to be spiled. Only the rabbet edge of the plank needed to be spiled.

    I used the plank to be replaced as the spilling batten, by not removing it right away.
    I make corresponding reference marks every foot amidships and 6 inches at the ends on the plank and keelson.

    At each mark I put my compass needle on the keelson where the closet edge of the plank is to the center line of the boat (the middle line in this case) and then swing an arc on the plank. I repeat this process down the length of the boat.

    Then I remove the plank and clamp the old plank on top of the new stock so it will lie flat. In doing so, I make sure not to twist or put edge set into the old plank.

    From here I put the needle of my compass on the arc on the old plank and swing a new arc on the new plank. I shift my compass needle to a new spot on that same arc and swing another arc on the new stock. Where those two arcs intersect on the new plank stock represents the plank edge.

    I continue as described for each reference point along the plank. Then I mark the reference points or at least the center line on the new plank so I know exactly how it fits lengthwise along the keelson.

    Before I unclamp the old plank, I transfer/trace the other edge (lap edge) to new plank. Lap bevels on Rushtons were cut pretty fluently in that the width of the bevel son his conventional lapstrakes are almost always the same throughout the entire boat on all the planks. Smoothskins are a little different and I think you will find that the width may vary some.

    PICTURES 4,5,6,7
    Once the old plank is unclamped from the new I use a batten to fare out the points. Then I shape the plank pattern to its’ exact shape along the edges. (see below for picture 7)

    Attached Files:

  16. Dylan Schoelzel

    Dylan Schoelzel born in a canoe

    The pictures work right to left in sequential order. Had a hard time with the file manager.

    PICTURES 8,9,10
    I mark out the width of the bevel with a marking gauge (because it remains the same the entire length of the plank). Along the edge I have the thickness marked out with a pencil line. The thickness changes so I have to mark where it changes and fare it in with a batten.

    From here it is a matter cutting the slight bevel along the rabbet edge of the plank, and cutting the lap bevel. Keep the plank a little longer than needed as you can always trim the edges latter when it is installed.

    PICTURES 11, 12
    It is imperative to create the bevel with a flat face. Because the bevel changes down the length of the plank (a rolling bevel) it is easy to put a crown on the bevel face. This is a common mistake people make. As a result the lap(s) will not fit snuggly as they should. A typical remedy is for people to try and draw the laps together when clinching. At first this may look good, but it will only result in the plank cracking later on.

    I will put up more content that you may find useful in the weeks to come. Hope this helps.

    Attached Files:

  17. OP
    chris pearson

    chris pearson Michigan Canoe Nut

    Thanks Dylan, it definetly helps to see it in photos, although I am still reluctant to start cutting!

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