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Tack clinching by one’s self

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by NickD, Mar 22, 2020.

  1. NickD

    NickD Recreational Sander

    So... am working on a 20’ E.M. White and I am replacing many ribs and a good percentage of planking on the bottom. On previous canoes I’ve used my 74” wing span to handle the whole job of hammering and clinching by myself (it can be therapy). The beam and depth of the White has posed a significant challenge for my reach, especially the center planks, and my kid’s interest in assisting in this stage is near zero after trying. I’m not sure I want to turn this into a marriage bonding moment either. Has anyone built any jigs that help with this job? I have an idea and am going to see if I can pull it off but was curious if anyone else has devised a tool or jig. I’m thinking of something like a single station from a canoe mold shaped somewhat like a French curve that can then be adjusted to match the local shape of the canoe.

    Anyone try to make something like this?
  2. martin ferwerda

    martin ferwerda LOVES Wooden Canoes

  3. Rollin Thurlow

    Rollin Thurlow member since 1980

    A 16" section of heavy railroad iron makes a handy clinching iron that does not need to be held. Its only good in very flat sections of the boat like the middle of the boat. My iron is about 5" wide so I can do one row of planking for four ribs before I have to move it.
    Also using a large mirror on a moveable dolly works well when using a hand held iron. You can use the full length of the hammer handle and you don't have to bend over so much. The operation looks kind of awkward. I tried it out as a joke but found that it really was not hard to use at all. You just have to be careful not to drop the hammer on the mirror. A good light on the bottom of the boat helps to make the tacks shine so they are easy to locate in the mirrors reflection. It extends my reach by two full rows of planking.

    Attached Files:

    alick burt likes this.
  4. Dave Osborn

    Dave Osborn LIFE MEMBER

    While not a cure-all for your problem, it seems easier to clinch the hard to reach areas if your canoe is on slings instead of rigid horses. It allows you to position the canoe closer to your body and get a little farther reach when you tip it up on the slings.

    Attached Files:

  5. OP

    NickD Recreational Sander

    Thanks for the feedback Rollin, thanks Martin! Dave, I tried that and the center planks on a 20 footer were just too far for my reach...

    This evening I tried out my new jig. Just finished it the other night. Attached are some pictures. The shape of the curve comes from a portion of removed rib. It worked really well and repositioning it for each rib took less than a minute. For the half ribs it often didn’t need any adjustment. Didn’t take long at all to get a center plank in. Only draw back is that you need to stoop under the canoe and reposition each time but once you get going, things went quickly. If I were to build a second one of modify this one, I would make it a couple inches shorter in length to fit closer to the bow and stern. The curve allows for it to clinch where ever I can’t reach.

    Attached Files:

    Dave Wermuth and Norm Hein like this.
  6. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    Looks like that would make an interesting article for the Journal... just sayin'...
  7. OP

    NickD Recreational Sander

    That’s a good idea...
  8. Dave Osborn

    Dave Osborn LIFE MEMBER

    This idea has the wheels turning in my self quarantining head.
    Maybe some kind of “iron” on a stand that swivels, and has a jack or threaded adjustment to put pressure under the rib.
    I may have some other ideas after I land this fish.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Mar 25, 2020
    Dave Wermuth likes this.
  9. alick burt

    alick burt LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Great idea I will try this with one extra adaptation.I happen to have a spare bit of acrylic perspex that i will put over the mirror to protect it should I drop my hammer ;)
  10. Howie

    Howie Wooden Canoe Maniac

    Mike, that's a great idea.
    BTW... I want a picture of that 20ft canoe strapped atop a VW Beetle.
  11. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    Last edited: Jun 4, 2020
  12. Howie

    Howie Wooden Canoe Maniac

    Thanks Benson!
    Mike: I'm thinking you could get yourself a sliding car jack - the kind that have a lever to lift & lower and are easily maneuverable - and mount your steel-back mandrill atop of it. You'd lower the jack a tad and position it under a rib then raise it up to contact the rib. Then add a light & mirror to the fixture ala Rollin. O - and maybe add a pivot to the mandrill somewhere to allow it to self-adjust to the rib. Cool!
  13. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    Howie, you're the musician in the crowd so you should remember (perhaps even play) the Billy Idol song , clinching by myself. Catchy tune.
  14. Gil Cramer

    Gil Cramer The wooden canoe Shop, Inc.

    There is a 14' Penn Yan trailboat in the shop at this time. Trailboats used 5/16-3/8" oak ribs and 3/16"cedar planking with canoe tacks, Since this a 1949 model,most of the tacks are either loose or broken. Since I work ALONE, I have decided to replace the loose/broken tacks with 1/2" brass screws rather than try to reclinch them into 70+ year old dry oak. So far 300 screws have been installed. It will likely take that many more to secure the hull.
    For PY cartoppers I have rigged a piece of galvanized steel on top of a 2X4 tripod to clench the tacks. I have also used a 10lb maul inside the boat to clench. Most people can entice a good friend to hold a backing iron with enough liquid refreshment. My wife will, but new dresses have become extremely expensive.
  15. Gliddenwoods

    Gliddenwoods Curious about Wooden Canoes

    I am doing a complete canoe re-planking and I reach between the ribs as I tack the planks. The clinching iron I have is (was) wider than the space between the ribs thus passing the clinching iron from rib to rib was problematic at best. So I remodeled (narrowed) my clinching iron with my angle grinder to fit between the ribs; now works great.

    Attached Files:

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