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Removing ribs using a Dremel type tool

Discussion in 'Tips and Tricks' started by ssommers, Apr 17, 2015.

  1. ssommers

    ssommers Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    I had great success using a Dremel type rotary tool as a grinder to remove only the very ends of the clinched tacks holding in each rib. Several advantages were apparent. 1) no chance of breaking or damaging planking. 2) importantly, the Dremel puts pressure in a very focused pea-sized spot, so sawdust and debris are minimal. 3) For the newbie canoe restorer or weekend craftsman there is almost no learning curve. 4) one doesn't use leverage or chisels or knives that, in the best of hands can slip and cause damage. 5) the rib comes out whole and can be used as a pattern.

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  2. mccloud

    mccloud "Tiger Rag" back on the tidal Potomac In Memoriam

    I agree, use a similar technique, and would only add one comment: tap the tack with a punch and it usually falls out. If the rib resists coming out, perhaps stuck by varnish, run a hacksaw blade underneath. Attachment shows the 1 inch file sander I use which generates much more dust than your method. Tom McCloud

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    Last edited: Apr 20, 2015
  3. Dave Osborn

    Dave Osborn LIFE MEMBER

    Many ways to skin a cat.....
    I hit them with a hammer and punch to pop the heads back above the plank for easy harvest.
    Sometimes I'll sand the rib quickly with the random orbital so the clinched ends show up a little better.
  4. David McDaniel

    David McDaniel Canoe Dude

    These methods are fine for those who are in a hurry. But I find that the job is much more enjoyable NOT using power tools.
    I use only hand tools and enjoy no noise or dust. This way I can enjoy listening to music and breathing clean air!
    But this is just my "Old school outlook"!
  5. OP

    ssommers Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    Yes, the dremel method is not perfect by any means. The little grinder spins so fast that it will cause little puffs of smoke as it chips away at the clinched tacks. Not much fun to inhale a gulp of burned cedar, varnish, and copper fumes! So I didn't include that in my first review of the process. However, I am still a fan of the method because, for me, the weekend craftsman, it really worked. Thank you to those who have posted additional tips and observations in the thread.
  6. Greg Nolan

    Greg Nolan enthusiast

    The folks at the North Brooklyn [New York] Boat Club use the Dremel method, but use a small cut-off blade instead of a grinding bur. Don't know if it makes any difference -- they are pleased with the method.

    cr s 100_3910.jpg s 100_3921.jpg
  7. Craig Johnson

    Craig Johnson LOVES Wooden Canoes

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