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Coatings Ribs Prior To Planking

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by Ankle Deep, Nov 14, 2020.

  1. Ankle Deep

    Ankle Deep Curious about Wooden Canoes

    My sources for this build are:

    “The Wood & Canvas Canoe”, Stelmok and Thurlow

    “Building the Maine Guide Canoe”, Stelmok

    The Stewart River- Alex Comb - DVD

    The Northwoods Canoe – Thurlow- DVD


    Alex Comb coats the ribs and the interior side of the planking prior to the planking process. It’s not apparent this procedure is followed in the Stelmok or Thurlow source material (books and DVD). I have the supplies on hand and I can easily produce the linseed oil “soup” or a 50/50 thinned varnish without additional purchases. Although, money and time are not an issue. I just want to do things properly and insure maximum protection for the wood but don’t wish to introduce anything that hinders my ability to form the planks to the ribs (hot water soak/steam iron technique) or the integrity of the final finish on the interior planking.

    What is the conventional wisdom regarding this process?

    Thank you in advance….
  2. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    I'm not sure if this qualifies as "wisdom" but the norm is to to steam, bend and use the wood without using any "soup" or wood treatments until the hull is completely assembled. None of the builders whose boats we covet and restore pre-coated the hulls and as many of us have seen, many of these have survived quite well for well over a hundred years without that treatment. If you visit Rollin or Jerry's shops when they are building a new boat you will see that they build up the hull on the form without any treatment applied until the hull is off the form and completed. Then boiled oil is applied on the outside and varnish on the inside. The exception (for me) is to varnish the backside of the outside rail and outside of the inside rail before installing them.
    That said, it's your call. Do what makes you feel like will give you the result that you desire.... Do not coat the wood before steaming and bending!
    Dave Wermuth and Rob Stevens like this.
  3. OP
    Ankle Deep

    Ankle Deep Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Thank you sir!

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