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Ribs are on the 16' Pal

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by greatlakes, Jul 26, 2006.

  1. greatlakes

    greatlakes LOVES Wooden Canoes

    I just finished installing all of the 41 ribs onto the solid form for the 16' Pal. At times it was hard to believe how smoothly this whole process has progressed. After building the solid form, putting the actual canoe together feels a lot easier!!


  2. Jim Okkema

    Jim Okkema LOVES Wooden Canoes

    That's a real beauty. I have a 16' Pal and I find it a great boat to paddle- solo, tandem, empty or loaded.
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2011
  3. Andy Hutyera

    Andy Hutyera The Red Canoe Guy - Life Member

    Looks great! It's true, building the form is a lot tougher than building the canoe. Is your Pal from Alex Comb's plans? The support system you have under the form looks great. I put mine on horses and it's a real pain to move. Currently it's hanging from the ceiling hoisted up by a boat winch waiting for me to acquire another batch of cedar for a few more canoes. The Pal is a great paddler and I'm sure you'll really enjoy it.

    Keep us posted.
  4. Scot T

    Scot T LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Looking very good Frank! I too am planning to build the "Pal" from Alex Comb as soon as I get my new shop finished. Hope you don't mind if I keep an eye on your progress and pick up any tips I can.

    Nice base to your form. I think that it's an excellent idea to be able to move the form around without too much trouble.

    I second Andy...keep us posted, for sure!
  5. OP

    greatlakes LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Thank you

    Thank you for your kind words, gentlemen.

    Yes, the plans came from Alex Comb. What took the longest was being able to procure clear, 20' ash boards for ripping into gunwales. Although I have several sources of stock of northern white cedar and white ash from the Amish here in northern MI, that long ash gunwale stock took some digging.

    I've started to mill the planking stock and one key item is to get the right grain orientation (quarter sawn) in the material. Flat sawn is the most common stock, however. What works for ribs does not necessarily work for planking.

    The wheeled frame has been very helpful. After building the form, I shortened the frame to give me a shorter wheelbase for easier/tighter turns. I plan to build two sets of supports (slings?) to mount on this frame to place the semi-finished canoe when it comes off the form for off-the-form completion work. Will keep you posted.

  6. Dan Lindberg

    Dan Lindberg Ex Wood Hoarder


    This might be a bit late but,

    Mark Kerr in the UP sells ash gunwale blanks, 1" square to 20 ft.

    And why do you need 20ft for a 16 ft canoe, wouldn't 17ft be long enough?

    And why ash, it's heavy compared to spruce.

    And yes, keep us posted and pics, plenty of pics.
    That Pal of Alex's is a nice canoe. I may build one someday also.

  7. OP

    greatlakes LOVES Wooden Canoes


    You're right, I did not need 20' gunwales. I use the leftovers for making the seats and thwarts. That's the length of the boards I found, however.

    I'm partial to white ash for its strength, flexibility, and being somewhat impervious to dings and knicks. Softer woods get beat up badly while cartopping, banged by paddles by guests, and dog nails (I fish with my setter). I do appreciate the weight differential though. All points well taken.

  8. Douglas Ingram

    Douglas Ingram Red River Canoe & Paddle

    The canoe looks like it should (good job, by the way), but that SHOP is making me drool!
  9. bob goeckel

    bob goeckel Wooden Canoe Maniac

    we have planked 5 canoes with a combination of flat and quartersawn cedar without any real problems. it can be expensive to try to get all quartersawn lumber. the new morris is in the final planking stage but it's tooooooo HOT to work.:eek:
  10. OP

    greatlakes LOVES Wooden Canoes

    First Look of the Pal

    An update on the Pal:

    I just completed all the planking that would still allow the canoe to come off the form. For a first-time canoe project this is coming along pretty smoothly.

    Question: Is there any product (clear Epoxy mix?) that can be applied to the inevitable hairline gaps that result in working the planking around the bilge area? Will the canvas on the outside and five coats of marine varnish to the inside seal these small gaps so water does not collect between canvas and planking? Am I worrying about nothing?

    Thank you for any suggestions.


  11. Andre Cloutier

    Andre Cloutier Firestarter. Wicked Firestarter.

    Now I have shop envy - Lost our workshop and boathouse when my father passed last year and we sold the cottage so I've been reduced to a car and a half garage for now - what a terrific looking shop, and that canoe looks fantastic!
  12. Dave Wermuth

    Dave Wermuth Who hid my paddle?

    Great job great lakes.

    And as for the cracks between planks, it is normal. Don't worry about it.
  13. MikeCav

    MikeCav Restorer/Videographer

    WOW - Nice job! I'll let the more experienced builders respond to your question, but from the restorations I've seen your joints are tight enough to avoid any problems - on many old canoes, you can drive a truck through the planking without hitting an edge!

    Can't wait to see the finished product.
  14. Scot T

    Scot T LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Excellent job Frank!!! I'm with the others and am looking forward to the finished boat.
  15. Andy Hutyera

    Andy Hutyera The Red Canoe Guy - Life Member

    Looks great! Thanks for keeping us posted. I wouldn't worry about the spaces between the planking. I think that filling them with anything would only cause trouble. The planking will inevitabley shrink and swell with moisture variations. The small spaces give the planking a little room to move without buckeling and causing bulges under the canvas.

    Keep up the good work!
  16. OP

    greatlakes LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Feel better about the gaps!

    Thank you all for your kind words.

    I sweated the planking to minimize the gaps, but now that you've reassured me that it's ok -- and that some of it may be beneficial -- I'm pushing right ahead. The ends are now closed, the 2-piece end ribs are on, and I'm working on the decks.

    BTW, any suggestions on what bedding compound to use between the decks and inwales?

    I'll keep you current on the progress. Again, thank you for your compliments!

  17. Dan Miller

    Dan Miller cranky canoeist Staff Member

    Interlux Boatyard Bedding Compound and Dolphinite are a couple that work well. Don't use anything that won't come apart again, like some of that Sitka smutz-in-a-tube.
  18. Dave Wermuth

    Dave Wermuth Who hid my paddle?


    I have never used bedding compound between decks and inwhales. Should I? And if so, why?
  19. Dan Miller

    Dan Miller cranky canoeist Staff Member

    Bedding compound is used anywhere you have a wood-to-wood or metal-to-wood joint that you might want to take apart again at some later time. Its purpose is to exclude water. Whether or not you should use it is your call, but I would and do... I also use it on the stems when buttoning up the canvas, and when installing keels and stem brass.
  20. Michael Grace

    Michael Grace Lifetime Member

    To add to Dan's comment, bedding compound fills the tiny gaps between mating surfaces and therefore excludes water. Because of surface tension, water will readily wick between closely apposed pieces of material such as the mating surfaces between decks and gunwales, or between hardware and wood such as deck fittings. Especially where end grain is exposed, like the lateral edges of your canoe's decks, the ability of water to wick into the wood and cause rot is very high. Hence the use of bedding compound- less water access means less likelihood or speed of rot.

    When you use a bedding compound, you should seal the mating surfaces first with varnish to prevent the bedding compound's oil from easily wicking into the wood. When oil wicks away because the wood wasn't first sealed, the oil becomes dispersed, the area becomes less water resistant, and water can the migrate into the wood and promote rot. This should suggest that bedding compound is not forever. It's not, but when used on sealed wood surfaces, it should keep water at bay for years.

    I've used both Interlux Boatyard and Dolphinite. They both work fine, but I prefer the consistency and workability of Dolfinite to Boatyard. However, the Interlux is much cheaper. Jamestown sells a quart of Boatyard for $25, and a quart of Dolfinite for $35. You can get a pint of Dolfinite for $25 which means less to waste if you're doing only one or two canoes; Jamestown apparently doesn't carry Interlux Boatyard in a pint size.

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