Prospector Canoe

Page 2

Click any photo below to see a larger image.

Off_the-Strongback.jpg (415096 bytes)

Working the Inside
It was really nice to see the canoe open-side-up for the first time.   After removing the forms, I immediately sanded off any sharp edges along the top so the inside could be worked safely.

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The inside was prepared by using a paint scraper to knock off most of the glue.  The scraper blades was rounded and kept sharp with an occasional few strokes of a file.

Sandpaper wrapped around rolled-up magazines did a nice job of smoothing the interior.  Sandpaper around a 5" piece of pool noodle worked well too, although softer.  Most of the work was with 60 grit sandpaper, and 100 grit to finish it.

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Fiberglassing the Interior
The fiberglassing went very smoothly, thanks to advice not to attempt wrapping the cloth around the inside of the stems.  I epoxied the cloth right up the sides of the stems, and later applied a small fillet so the stems looked relatively smooth and clean.  

Spreaders sticks maintained the proper beam until fully-cured epoxy is on both sides of the wood.

Only one filler epoxy coat  on top of the wet-out coat, so the interior has a non-skid weave pattern showing.  [Post construction note:  Next canoe I will probably put filler coats to achieve a smooth finish -- I think it might look better.]

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Gunnels were scarf-joined before gluing them to the boat.  A jig holds the gunnel pieces perfectly straight while the epoxy cures.

The inner and outer gunnels are both 5/8" wide ash wood.  The underside of the gunnels taper from 3/4" where attached to hull to 5/8" on the outer edge, so that water will tend to pour off when the canoe is turned upside down.

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Gluing the gunnels was achieved with two people, as the 16 foot long pieces were unwieldy to handle alone.  After checking for  a good dry fit, the gunnels were buttered with epoxy thickened with silica dust,  and a little sanding dust for color.

Screws (3/4" silicon bronze) and clamps hold the gunnels in place as the epoxy cures.  These screw heads are covered by the outer gunnels.

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Decks
I wanted small decks to keep the boat lightweight, but also wanted it to be a good handle-hold and have a feature that allowed a painter to be attached.

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A 1/2 inch hole near the point of the deck will allow rope attachment and provide a drain hole when the canoe is upside down.   

The underside where the deck, gunnels and stem intersect received a small  fillet to round it off and allow total drainage.

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This photo shows the underside of the deck before final sanding and varnishing.  The handle is epoxy-glued to the side and underside of the inner gunnel.

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You can never have too many clamps when gluing the external gunnels!  The gunnels are also screwed in place with 1 1/4" #8 silicon bronze screws from the inside. 

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The seat frames and center thwart received two coats of epoxy and a few coats of varnish.  I wasn't sure  how strong the seats would be, so the underside of the seat frames also received a layer of fiberglass tape before the varnish. 

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Black one-inch webbing is my choice for the seat.

This is my ninth epoxy-sheathed boat, and I had my first allergic reaction to epoxy the day after sanding some green epoxy on the gunnels and decks.  Very scary.   I woke up with a hive-like rash over most of my torso.  Later in the day, the rash extended to my arms and legs.  I believe it was due to breathing in dust from uncured epoxy.  I normally wear a dust mask and try to avoid sanding green epoxy, but cold weather had slowed the curing down so much.  I'll be more careful now!  

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Varnishing
A 10' by 20' plastic painter's ground cloth hung over the canoe keeps most dust specks off while the varnish is wet.  The plastic is draped over ropes and secured with masking tape.   Plenty of lights.

Prior to varnishing, the entire garage was cleaned by opening the door and blasting everything with a leaf blower.  Later, the floor was mopped.

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Created March 2, 2006