Building a Bob’s Special (Sounds more like some unknown Brandy doesn’t it?)
Early in the autumn, one dark night the three of us got together to look at various canoe designs. We ended up on an allround strip planked type with good stability and heavy loading capacity. It had to be a Bob’s Special from
We ordered the plans via internet, and two weeks later:
The message in my mailbox was pleasing, but still a cause for concern. The message said that there were a package for us from Bear Mountain Boats in Canada, but tax and handling must be paid before it could be delivered. The post office could do this for us, but then it would cost 12$. It was no option, I had to jump into the car and drive 30 min. just in time to get inside the doors before the office closed.
Before I left, I printed all the correspondence with the Bear Mountain… and that was a smart move.Tax and handling was calculated from what I brought with me, and it was essentiel that the order was in Canadian Dollars, not US. The price was almost cut in half because of that. From here on everything was easy. I paid the tax, went to the end of the desk, and got what I came for. The magic plans!! Less than 20 minutes was the operation, and now we were ready to start the building.
Day 1: Now we have started to build the «strongback» on which the stations will be mounted. It is built of 22mm pressed wood and will be stable. (We hope).
The strongback is done, and we have drawn the centerline and the we made the whole structure absolutely true and level. Quite important.
Erik and Odd working on the tracing of the moulds to the veneerplates. Carbon parer is laid underneath the plans.
Then it was time for the chief (myself) to use the jigsaw and cut out each mould. A bit oversized, and then planed off to perfection. This is done for each staion, and then it is time to mount them.
Three weeks later the mould is finished, and we are ready to start building the canoe. We can eye the shape of the canoe now, all we need to do is to mount the strips. Erh… where are they by the way? Well, we tried around to find someone who would cut them and make «tounge and groove» for us, but that was not an easy task. And the price would be rather high. We couldn’t afford that, at least not without wrecking a few marriages, so had to look for another solution. We will buy 1″ x 5″ planks and cut them ourselves. Then we will use a router to make the tounge and groove. It will be much work, but we believe it will pay off. We will cut down the cost to about 1/10th of the price of ready made strips. We have the tools to do the job, so please wish us good luck, we may not know what we have started.
Caugh, spit, hark…. Even 3 days after the cutting there is sawdust inside our ears, eyes, between our teeth, in our underpants and other places we will not mention here. A little piece of advice: Use a dustmask!!! Ok, we know that this should be the first thing to use when machining wood, but when the man in charge of that equipment leaves it all behind on the ground (the dustmask that is) outside his car….. He meant that we had shortened our lives with about three years because of that error. We hope that we will take those three years back during this project, through the satisfaction of building something to be proud of.
During the last couple of days we have tried several different solutions to make two strips of darker wood. We have tried to find a cheap way og making them dark, by colouring and other approaches. But we found a\out that the only way to do this properly is to buy the real thing. We have to find some cherry somewhere to do this. If we would use dark oil or any other way of changing the colour, we will have to leave them like they are. Any sanding or planing will destroy the result, and that will not be a good solution. After some time we found a place in Oslo that sell this kind of solid wood.
We are also ready to make the stems. They will be steamed to make them follow the mould. We have made the strips for this structure by birchwood. Quite light in colour, but still hardwood. It will be an exiting project. Can this really be done? We have heard of the steaming technique, but find it hard to believe that we can bend wood in the way we have to to make it fit.
Finally the cutting and routing is done. We had to use two days for this job, and the next time we will use a weekend instead. It is too much work to do in an evening. We worked until around midnight, and that is not so popular at home. We bought cherry from Isene-Jordan in Oslo. The length was not ideal, about 215 cm. It should have been over 240 cm, so we could do with just one joint, but it will work. All we need now is a week in the shower to remove all the dust. And then it is off to some serious strip planking.