I decided to get serious about my canoe project this weekend. I haven't done anything with it since before my last heart attack, and at that point I had gotten frustrated with repeated failures to successfully make gunwales for it that I could join at the centre. I tried scarf joints of various lengths, and different glues, and even invented an interlocking joint, and found nothing that held. Later I realized that part of my problem was that I was making my gunwales too thick, at 3/4", which made them very hard to bend successfully. I made a lot of firewood.
Thinking about it later, I realized I could screw through the inwales and gunwales through the scarf joint, using only carpenter's glue to seal the deal, as the strength of the joint would come from the screws, which would also go down the length of the boat at about 4" spacing. Thinking some more about it, and haveing casually glanced at some canoes, I realized my gunwales didn't have to be all that thick, so Saturday I cut up a piece of 7/4 x 8 x 9' ash into four ¼" strips and four 5/16" strips, and took a couple of scrap pieces to the canoe and clamped them on as they would be mounted. I found that the strips which were ¼" x 1 3/4" x 9' could be bent to the curve going up to the bow without cracking, and the curve to the stern was trivial when I attached the strips to that end. So, I won't need to steam the aft parts, and although I don't have to steam the forward parts, I will steam the 6' nearest the bow just to keep them honest. If I break one, it will cost time and money to replace ir, as I have only about an inch and a half left of the 8" wide plank.
I reduced the strips to 1¼" wide on my bandsaw, and planed all 16 edges to remove the saw marks. The plank developed a slight curve in storage over the winter, which I can turn to my advantage fitting the parts to the side of the canoe. Once the gunwales and inwales are secured with screws, I will be attaching three thwarts which will be screwed right through the gunwales to further reinforce the whole thing, and there will also be two seats hung from the gunwales. I shall make the thwarts, but I plan to buy seats, as I don't want to do the caning, and it looks much better than a plain board seat.
I will paint the inside ASAP, and a friend of mine is gong to help me with some hardener for the paint for the outside. The canoe is flat green, but I will be painting it a gloss fire engine red. If I can get that done this week, I should be able to attach the gunwales, deck and transom very soon, and put the thwarts and seats in as soon as I can make/buy them.
I've told you all this so I will have to finish the project or lose face (well, i could afford to lose my face, but well....)
My neighbour across the street is encouraging me to finish, and he has a 2hp motor he says we can take the boat fishing with. My son is encouraging me to finish as he wants to paddle it. He originally obtained the canoe for me. It had been abandoned at a rental unit belonging to a coworker, and my son got it for the price of removing it. I am taking pictures as I go, so there will be photographic proof as I get closer to completion.
OH! I got out my little 8amp chainsaw, and cut up some tree limbs six ways to Sunday, to use as turning blanks. This may be the least powerful saw HD sells, but it did just fine for me, and was a lot of fun. I was a chainsaw operator one winter on the Welland Canal 43 years ago, so I have some idea what I'm doing.