The Sawdust Factory Presents
Or, Finally, A Canoe After Several Sea
Yes, a canoe. Don't ask me why, it's not like I ever know what's going on
around here. Let's just say that, here at the Sawdust Factory, we are always
looking for exciting new schemes to make your web surfing/slacking off time even
more unproductive than ever. It's just one more way of making sure you get your
money's worth when you come to visit us.
above was written at the outset of this project back in 2007, before I had ever
really spent any meaningful time in canoes. It was a strange feeling to be
building a boat on speculation, as it were; a boat I wasn't even sure I wanted
or would like. But I quickly came to love the canoe for a variety of reasons. It
has become my winter mode for paddling since they keep me dry . . . said the
most pathetic cold weather weenie who ever lived . . . and are just the thing
for fishing. I now own several canoes, but the Merlin remains my only homemade
|First thing I'm gonna mention is the plans...
When you order a set of plans from Northwest
Canoe for the
Merlin, this is what you get: A 24"x24" piece of paper.*
But it is all you need. It's all right there. I think it's way cool that you can build a canoe from just
this; sort of spells out the magic that is boat building.
* Later Update: Please note that the Merlin is now offered for
|Here's my strongback. It's the nicest one I've ever built,
by golly, and I'm awfully proud of it. Why, I almost hate to cover it up
with a bunch of cedar strips.
Each form sports 3/4" mounting holes, whereas each cleat offers
tight little 9/32" holes for the 1/4-20 machine screws to pass
through. Fender washers complete the picture, and the overall scheme
yields killer adjustability. Rock-solid, too.
Those with sharp eyes will notice that I found it necessary to take a Shinto
rasp to the end of the box beam to clear the strips as they taper in on the
stem. How embarrassing. But not half as bad as finding out later in the project.
I curse myself for being a dumbass and pat myself on the back for having
foresight at the same time. It's the Sawdust Factory version of multi-tasking.
|Got a bunch more on, boy we're moving right along.
I like green tape, as you see. It's just like blue tape, except it
stretches. I have never been able to figure out why blue tape is so
popular, and nobody even knows green tape exists.
Get it at paint stores. Home Depot carried it for a while, but
everyone passed it up and got blue instead, so they discontinued it.
This kind of stuff makes me nuts.
|Got a couple things going on here.
The football and the side strips are meeting at the chines, and the
lack of continuity spells big trouble. The problem is sort of like a
strip that breaks where it needs to make a graceful bend, leaving an
Whoa. I got to use the word 'unsightly,' at last! You have no idea
how long I've been waiting for that to happen.
Anyway, the strap and jug arrangement, plus the 1"x1" stick
under the main point of interest, is applying "pressure from
nowhere," as it were. Or maybe it's a "one-sided clamp?"
Whatever, it keeps everything pressed securely to the forms, works like
I've always used Raka epoxy
for this sort of work before, but this time I'm trying US
Composites. Seems to be working okay so far. I was a little worried
if it would behave the same...
Down by the jug in the photo are a couple of spring clamps. They're
mashing a scarf joint together in the latest strip. The joint itself is
sandwiched between a couple short pieces of scrap strip with green tape
on them as a release agent.
Dang, I hope some of this made sense.
Behold the world famous Little Square Thingies that I love, really come in handy.
Cut a mess o' 4" square pieces of doorskin plywood, stack 'em up
and drill a 1/2" hole, cut slots. Super easy to make a dozen. Then
cut a bunch of wedges, I'll show you the patented Wedge-O-Matic later.
Note the thin kerf rip saw blade: 7 1/4" diameter 24-tooth Freud
Diablo, about $12. "Sub-size" blades run way smoother, and are
legal in all fifty states and most European countries. Try it, you'll
Oh, and treat yourself to a zero-clearance insert, too. I make mine
out of scrap 1/2" baltic birch plywood, and use allen type set
screws from the hardware store as levelers.
|Here's a freshly installed strip getting a wedgie.
I was going to say "Here's a freshly installed strip getting a
patented Sawdust Factory Wedgie," except it isn't an original idea.
But I can't remember where I stole it, so there goes the credit. Sigh. I
just can't wait for Alzheimer's to really kick in, it's gonna be great.
Anyway, I love using these things, they work so well. Position the
holder-downer thingy in place like you want it, pop a spring clamp on to
hold 'er there, then apply the c-clamp to make it stay till the cows
They're also great for temporarily holding strips in place as you
work 'em, with just a spring clamp. Did I mention that I use 'em all
|Here's another shop- made tool I get tons of mileage out
Here I must fit a strip that's coming in at an angle. But it can get
iffy trying to work accurately at the very tip since it wants to flex
away from the plane or sanding block. And holding the strip in your
fingers while working the taper isn't a lot of fun either. So...
|...Behold the patented Sawdust Factory Strip Tapering
Tool. Take a piece of scrap off the floor, cut a chunk about six inches
long, and two more at about one and a half. A dab of glue to each shorty,
and a couple small nails if you want it now, and it's ready for rock 'n'
|Makes working those tapers a breeze.
|This little jewel is one of those I
wonder how I ever got along without it? things.
The Shinto rasp.
Got mine from CLC.
In fact, I get lots of my stuff from CLC.
I love that outfit, and recommend 'em to noobs and veterans alike.
The Project Continues...
Page Two Working
up the hull.
Page Three Finishing
out the boat.
Page 4 Using
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Email Kurt Maurer at NGC704@aol.com