Mystic River Project Has Begun

Submitted byPruden17 onTue, 09/01/2020 - 12:57

Greetings Y'all,

Shannon (my partner) and I were talking last year. Our olden canoe was built over 40 years ago and weighs a ton (ok, I exagerate, it's weight is more like +90lbs) and we are getting older. What Shannon's age has to do with it is beyond my understanding since I am the one who either canoe-heads the thing or loads/unloads it onto a portage cart/car. Anyway, I had mentioned that a handmade canoe (of course I would mention a handmade canoe) could be built to weigh under 50-lbs and still be quite strong. She thought that was a great idea (this is why we are together amongst other reasons) and thought I should get right on it. Fast forward a year and IT HAS BEGUN. I got the plans from Nick and got him to throw in a t-shirt and his wood strip boat building book ...he "threw them in"to the shipping box but made me pay for them (Nick wrote the book, eh, it's a humorous read and very informative (reminds me of James Harriot's style of writing...interesting, informative, and humorous)). I still have that t-shirt with the da Vinci compass (Nick's t-shirt contest winner, created by Malcolm Schweitzer)...it is seriously falling apart, especially around the neck, it has been party to too many boat building/repair/paddling occasions...I think I will wear it for this project, too, I just might have to throw it out afterward but hey, I can cut out the da Vinci compass part and set it in epoxy somewhere on the inside of the canoe...under the deck I think. You're probably wondering why I am using so many ( )'s in the post (I have no idea why, except that maybe they're like little asides from the main topic) and likely you're a little annoyed (so I'll stop using them now, especially since this post is about done for now). I will post construction updates from time to time. This is my first stripping project...I have cut forms before, just not used them (Night Heron, high deck version...oops, I did it again)...and when I built the RP Sport, a design created by Chris Ostiland, I cut the panels on one side and used those panels to trace out, cut, and shape each opposing panel to excellent effect. I am also going to track the time it takes for this build so that if anyone asks how long it takes to build the Mystic...I can tell them.  At this point I have cut and shaped the forms. My next step is to cut out the recommended areas to make them lighter. I did use 5/8" MDF for my forms so that I can use them again if I succeed with this project and someone decides to pay me to build one for them. I will post images at some point, can't seem to get them to post right now.

Robert N Pruden

 

I called up one of the areas best good wood shops to buy some Clear Cedar and Sitka Spruce...got to gather up the material for the hull of the Mystic. They said they'd look into pricing...called me back two days later...neither is available anywhere that they know of. Oh shit! That's my winter project heading down the toilet. I want to spend the fall season cutting the strips and stapling them onto the forms but without the wood I have no project. l am heading to the big city wood suppliers today to see what I can find...I expect I will be digging through the fence grade cedar piles to ferret out any clear stuff that might be there. Does anyone have ideas for alternative wood options that they have had good success with, keeping in mind that I am aiming for a light-weight build?

Robert N Pruden

I found one supplier who has plenty of Sitka, nice clear stuff according to the person I talked with. I will be hitting up Lee Valley for a magnetic feather board and miniature shoulder plane shortly. Also got a section of 4" PVC piping to use for steam bending the outer stems.  To make things even better, I learned that I am being forced to take next Wed and Thurs off, the weather will be beautiful...if I get the oak cut and bent before then, I can have it installed, align the forms, and start ripping strips. Life is good.

Robert N Pruden

Today I stopped by a lumber yard to source some Sitka Spruce. They had a decent amount of 10', 14', and 16' boards. The owner let me pick through the 10-footers and I found 8 good boards although when I got home I did notice that one was cracked at one end but no biggie, I need shorts as well. He also showed me some really sweet fine grained clear yellow cedar...bought one board to check it out on the saw. I let him know that if I liked it, I would return for more. Once I got the wood home, I hung the strongback from the rafters in the garage (very limited work space) and prepped the table saw for strip ripping. I can just get a 10' board cut before the end hits the garage door so I was able to easily get two boards ripped. I am ripping the boards to 1/4' thickness knowing that when its all said and done, the stripped hull will be closer to 3/16 or so. I am aiming to have all the boards ripped by the end of the day tomorrow, then I will measure them up to make sure I have plenty for stripping the forms. I will also get the WRC boards ripped as well, the weather is perfect for doing such work and I am off work until Friday. I will try posting a link to my FB album for those who want to see images...I did get back onto FB but only to share the images during this and other builds. 

Robert N Pruden

I got 1320-linear feet of Sitka strips piled up, not sure how much WRC yet but it's a lot, and enough strips of Red Oak to get the external stems done. Next move is to align the forms on the strongback, shape and screw in the internal stems, then get stripping. The WRC I used was relatively clear decking, 2x6x10'...got some interesting knot patterns in the strips and some cool colorations...I will need to be careful to select the WRC strips to either match or create diversity throughout the WRC sections of the hull.

Robert N Pruden