Friday, November 27, 2015

Shop Updates 11-27-2015

This could be one of our busiest falls ever.  Not only is there a ton to do in New England this time of year, but the shop is on the verge of over flowing with work!  We have canoes and boats we are building and restoring for customers from all over the country - Texas, Florida, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Montana, Canada, and more. We are so incredibly thankful and excited for this.

There are several interesting projects underway that include two sailing canoes, a couple Chestnut Canoe Company canoes, Old Town Canoes, a really nice (or soon to be) Charles River courting canoe, a sport boat, several new canoes, lots of canoe paddles, and much more. Emily has been steadily building new canoes - milling the lumber, steaming wood, shaping planks, and pulling hulls off the forms.

As usual it will be nearly impossible to show every aspect of each project so we will try to spread the different projects out over a few separate posts.

Materials and New Canoe Building

Many of the materials and supplies we use have been specially custom made to our specifications.  From brass stem bands to bronze carriage bolts, canvas, and lumber we only search out the best.  Never saying, oh that will do, but instead, yes, that is exactly what we are looking for!

Here is a look at some of the lumber we use,
the backbone to any good wooden canoe.

These are stacks of hardwood.  Used for gunwales, seats,
thwarts, stems, other trim pieces, and paddles.
A nice stack of clear cherry destined for canoe paddles.
Here is a pile of quarter sawn northern white cedar
that will be used for ribs.
A stack of northern white cedar
for planking being brought up to the shop.
Here Emily is milling the rib stock for new canoes
More milling for new canoes.
There is that nice crispy vertical grain so desired
for ribs and planking for strength, stability, and good looks.
A close up look
A nice piece of 12 inch wide, 20 foot long quarter sawn spruce.
The spruce will be turned into gunwales.  Mainly inner gunwales
for new canoes and outer gunwales for restorations.
Here the spruce inner gunwales are being cleaned up
and getting their final shape with a hand plane at the bench.
The stem of a new canoe being shaped
The stem has been steam bent just right!

The ribs are steamed to soften them up
so they can be bent around the form.
The ribs bent around the form
Emily begins planking with a full length
quarter sawn garboard.
Nailing the garboard on.
Shaping a plank at the bench
The hull is almost planked up.

The hull is planked and ready to be
removed from the form.
The hull being removed from the form

Once removed from the form, Emily begins
joining the stems, rails, and decks together.
Cutting the deck pattern out on the band saw.
Test fitting the deck
 Here are just a few of the restorations we are working on.

Here is an Old Town OTCA,
probably one of the most recognized wooden canoe models.

The longer decks suffered rot and old age and need to be replaced.
We steam bend the stock for the new decks over a jig.
Once dry, we remove the stock and cut the decks out.
Here a pattern is being made from the old deck.
The pattern is then traced out on the new stock.
Once cut out and shaped the new decks are installed.

Next are new coamings, steam bent trim members that
dress the inside curve of the deck.
An Old Town sailing canoe with sponsons
Dylan canvassing the sponsons
Sponsons are air chambers that aid in stability of the canoe.
Sponsons are canvassed and ready to be filled.
20 foot Chestnut Olgilvy
A nice little Chestnut 10 footer
A closed gunwale sailing canoe
A sport boat
Yup, this one is going to need some work!
A Carleton
Another Old Town OTCA
A nice little 12 footer that was built in northern Quebec
by a local guide long ago.
An HB Arnold courting canoe
There are a few ribs to be replace in the Arnold.
The construction is closed gunwale, as most Charles River canoes are.
Here you can see the pencil line that was drawn on by the builder.
The waste was then removed with a chisel to create the taper.
You can see the taper here.
It is interesting to see how they went about this nearly 100 years ago.
We do it a little differently when building our
closed gunwale or courting canoe reproductions.
Different method but same results.
Around the Shop
The new workbench is moving along, albeit slowly.
Fitting the mortise and tenons
A test fit on the mortise and tenons which are draw bored.
The base is assembled.
Big courting canoe, small courting canoe
Hand splitting a white oak log for stem stock 
Gunwales being steamed
Steam bending decks...
....and more decks
Dylan varnishing in the paint room
More canoes in the paint room
Temagami Traveler ready for outer stems, keel, and gunwales
Dylan prepping the outer stems with a scraper.
This gives a nice smooth finish.
Outer gunwales being installed on the Traveler
The Stanley No. 57 universal spokeshave.
It is not used as much as the other shaves in the shop
but when needed, it's the only show in town.
It has removable and adjustable handles and can be used like a rabbet plane.
Doesn't get any better that!