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  • Dan

Canoe: Episode 6 - "Outwales and seat dowels"

Spring has arrived at last. It's Easter weekend and it's 21 degrees. Canoe building time!

The job I've not been relishing -- fitting the outwales!

One of the inwales had caused me problems because I hadn't managed to scarf-joint it correctly and the curved rim of the hull puts enormous bending stress on the gunwales at the middle of the canoe. As a result i had a nasty kink on one side.

I hoped that i could remedy the kink by fitting the outwale on that side more carefully than it's inwale.

My first attempt at the outwales was to cut them replica tapering shapes as the inwales. However, they were too resistant to bending and i could begin to hear the fibres tearing when i pulled them into position to match the inwales!

So i re-shaped the taper on them to taper sooner and give a shallower depth of beam so that they would bend in the vertical direction more freely. This worked !

Outwales re-tapered and fitted.

I was really pleased with the taper on the outwales...

Satisfying taper on the outwales.

Next, i had to position the seat dowels that would hold the seats. The curve of the canoe made it hard to judge whether the seat dowels were horizontal - spirit level was a must!

Also, the position of the seats is not symmetrical. They are positioned closer to the back of the canoe than the front in order to ensure the front of the canoe attacks the water at a slight pitch.

I changed the original canoe design to have an additional seat in the middle. This is wide enough for two kids to sit side by side. I'm hoping the canoe is buoyant enough for this modification. Time will tell!

Seat dowels screwed in place but not yet glued.

I ran out of 28 mm dowel and it was a Bank Holiday so all the shops were closed. Hmm, i'll just cut up these broom handles!! Yes, I now have the heads of a leaf rake, a garden brush and a moss rake without any poles! Well i can refit them anytime. At least i now had enough wood to finish the seat dowels and screw them into position ready to be epoxied.

Epoxying the seat dowels in position.

The picture above shows the rear seat which is the smallest. They are all 250 mm from front edge to rear edge, but the width of the seat across the canoe is smallest at the back seat.

I made a real stupid mistake epoxying the seat dowels. I hadn't had my morning coffee and it was 5-6 months since i last mixed up epoxy. I forgot the dispensers take care of the ratio for you. Instead i dispensed 5 times too much resin than hardener! That's a ratio of 25 to 1 instead of 5:1 !!! What a dumb-ass! I couldn't believe i'd done it but being the cretin that i am i panicked and started trying to thicken the mix with the filler dust. It was only after i had glued all twelves joints and they just would not stop drooping and running that i remembered that i hadn't corrected the original problem of insufficient hardener to resin ratio!

The rain came on and i had to go to Dublin for a couple of days. I'll see when i come back if it has hardened at all -- but i fully anticipate needing to remove it all and either mix some hardener it or start over.