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When replacement ribs do not make snug fit with planking in the turn of the bilge

Discussion in 'Tips and Tricks' started by ssommers, Apr 25, 2015.

  1. ssommers

    ssommers Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    I'm wondering what others do when rib replacements don't mate snugly with planking in curved areas of the canoe during a restoration? Here's what I came up with today. I found that simply applying more downward pressure to the rib at the rail would push the rib too deep, causing bulges in the hull (though admittedly such pressure would push the rib to snug fit with the planking.)

    I rigged a bar clamp that I used as a spreader type tool. See pictures below. The spreading action of the bar clamp rig, set against the opposite inwale worked to push the rib in the direction it needed to go, snugging it into the curved side of the canoe. At the same time I applied boiling water through a soaked lightweight rag to the problem area of the rib.

    I removed the soaked rag after twenty to thirty minutes of refreshing with boiling water. I then tacked the rib around where spreader set up pushed against the rib. Once the rib was lightly tacked, I removed the spreader bar and finished the job. The last photo shows the first stages of staining and varnishing the newly placed replacement rib. By the way, the boat being worked on is a twenty foot EM White, built by Jerry Stelmok, early 1980's, I think. I purchased the boat from the original owner this past summer.

    I'm wondering what other folks do when their replacement ribs don't exactly fit. Any thoughts, suggestions? Thanks for any feedback.

    Attached Files:

  2. Dave Wermuth

    Dave Wermuth Who hid my paddle?

    That's pretty much it. I use my hands to make sure it's fitting right, but your system seemed to work well. I sometimes bend ribs over the hull and then fit them after they've cooled; but I've also bent them right straight in when I first bend them. If you used a pre-bent rib, then I think the boiling water and wet towel is a good way to go.
  3. OP

    ssommers Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    Hey thanks for the feedback, Dave. The odd thing was that I had previously soaked and bent the straight rib over the canoe two days earlier. When I went to do the final installation, after tacking one side already in place I discovered that the fit was just not good on that one side. One reason I posted the photos was to offer other weekend craftsmen like myself a possible solution in case someone gets in similar jam. And the whole process began to cause me to wonder what more experienced folks did in such a situation.
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2015
  4. Dan Lindberg

    Dan Lindberg Ex Wood Hoarder

    I replace ribs that don't fit right. I bend over the outside after very carefully measuring and marking the "correct" spots to bend the rib.

    On my 1st I replaced a set of 4-5 ribs 3 times before I got it right. I also learned to start tacking from the middle and work out.

  5. Gil Cramer

    Gil Cramer The wooden canoe Shop, Inc.

    "I bend over the outside after very carefully measuring and marking the "correct" spots to bend the rib" Dan is correct!!!! Measure; bend the rib; apply weight to keep the rib flush while it dries overnight; install and it fits almost perfectly. Allow pocketed ribs to dry 2 days and be very careful when cutting length. It is extremely easy to extend the bottom .
  6. 1905Gerrish

    1905Gerrish LOVES Wooden Canoes

    After years of trying a few methods of bending ribs, my old man and I remove the broken, clean the gunk and bend the new ribs right in place of the old rib. Cuts down on the whole thinking thing and seems to work well but yes sometimes the bends tend to straiten out. Seems your method works. We normally run into the ribs trying to straiten out towards the ends ( cants especially )and normally cut a scrap piece to wedge into place inside the canoe to the same effect as the clamp you have pictured.
  7. OP

    ssommers Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    Thank you for the feedback, Dan, Gil, and 1905Gerrish. It makes me feel a little better that other folks have had to resort to wedges, or several attempts to get a rib right. And the measuring trick makes a great deal of sense, too.
  8. Gil Cramer

    Gil Cramer The wooden canoe Shop, Inc.

    Bent four ribs and outwales this am. Attached are images of the ribs on the hull. They will be installed tomorrow. The weights are enough to snug the ribs to the hull without deforming it.

    Attached Files:

  9. Gil Cramer

    Gil Cramer The wooden canoe Shop, Inc.

    today's images

    After drying overnight, the ribs were installed in the proper locations . In the photos, The ribs are being held in place only by the friction between the planking and the inwale. As can be seen, the rib in the quarter of the canoe is not quite flush to the planking on one side, but it can be pushed into place very easily without any hull distortion. The rib towards the center of the canoe fits almost perfectly with the appropriate tumblehome.

    Attached Files:

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