Down to the real thing!

..not Coca Cola.

After several hours with cutting and routing, we are now ready to start the real building of this yacht, or barge.. The inner stem and stern was steamed for 45 min. in a homemade steamtube. Then they were bent to shape over the mould and clamped in place. The only problem we had, was that the planks were far too long so we had to cut them down a bit to make them fit. Then they fit snugly, and the result was amazing. We never thought that it would go this smoothly. The next step is to glue the inner stems with epoxy resin.

02.11.00 :

 Ahhhh…. The first plank is fianlly in place, and the second, and the third… Alt last we are beginning to see the results of all the tedious work up to this stage. And the sight is not an unpleasant one. The cherry tree gives a nice touch of class to the project between the norwegian spruce. We bought 20 cheap plastic-clamps and they have surely made their effort to make this project successful. They have been used to almost anything and we find new uses for them all the time. We gave 1$ a piece, buy similar if you intend to build anything, not just boats. We are now three proud boys beginning to see what this can be in the end. Even the ones that were not too happy about this building, are now beginning to have faith in us. Let’s get to it, let’s Cano! 

Friday 10.11.00

Some progress today. 5 new strips on each side. It is getting harder to bend the strips in place now. There is a severe twist at the turn of the bilge, but it is not more than we can cope with yet. If it gets worse however, we might need to out in some stealer strips, just to make things easier for us. We hope we can do withouth them though. Far more important are the terms of the building that we are developing, as time goes by. We have today given the project a name. It will now be called «The Icebreaker» Can’t explain in few words why, but it all started with Odd Harry saying something about the shape of the canoe. Erik and I made a question about something that didn’t look quite right in the profile of the ship. There was something odd near the stem, which was arranged afterwards by pulling out a few staples. Well, the remark gave us a good laugh, and gave the project a name.

The next item to get a name this night, was the beetle that can be seen in the background. Erik intend to fix the old car, I believe it is a 1972 model, and it will from now on be referred as «The official canoe company car». Anyway, it is pleasing to see the result of our work now. If any of you out there dream about doing something similar to this project, it is just to get to it. Don’t wait until it is too late. Erik mentioned something about things that could go wrong today. Never, ever talk about anything that can go wrong, if you talk about it, thing will surely go wrong! We even thougt that this had happened when we stood near the end and eyed up the profile. There was a dump near the stem. The fear took us all. What was wrong?? We had measured, tested and lined up everything, so there couldn’t be anything wrong, but the eye don’t lie. There was something wrong. We looked at every possibility to make up the mistake, and finally pulled out a few staples. Everything fell into shape imideatly. The whole problem was as much as 1/16 of an inch. (1,5 mm) hardly possible to measure, but the eye saw it at once. That told us that the best tool you have is the eye. Use it as much as you can, look at the project from all possible and impossible angle to make sure anything is perfectly in shape.


Another night with planking. Odd Harry was ill tonight, so it was just the two of us working like mad. We learned something today. The radius for the bead and cove on the strips are too large. When we turned the bilge, the stress in the bending of the strips made some visible gaps between the strips. This also dramtically reduces the gluing suface.

We reduced the problem with 100 grit sandpaper, taking off some of the bead on the inside of the strips. The rest of the gap will be filled with thickened epoxy. We will use a smaller radius next time when machining the strips. One of the pictures show how much we must bend and twist the strips in order to get the into position. We were lucky to use the cherry-strips before we got to the turn of the bilge. It would be a challenge to fit those strips where the bend is this large.


Even more planking tonight, but no pics this time. Forgot the camera at home. I’ll se if I can take a few fotos during the weekend. It is getting easier now. We don’t have to bend the strips that much any more, as the bottom approches. The strips are almost lying flat now. We can see the contours of the canoe as it will be now, and she looks like a beauty to us. We have almost got to the top of the laminated stem now, one more strip and we are done so far. Then it is just to fill in the botom of the first side, cut the centerline and go on with the other side. We counted the remaining strips today, and it seems like we must have another day of cutting and shaping new strips.


Here are the pictures of the last nights effort. The yacht is taking shape now and we are pleased with the result so far. Haven’t done any major errors so far, even though some of the work could have been better. A few gaps here and there and other smaller errors, but nothing that we can’t cope with. After all we are amateurs! Erik will be away for a few days now, so we will probably use a few hours to make more strips instead of laying more planks.

One side is complete! It was somewhat hard to apply glue vertically. We made it though. We were 1mm (1/8″) short on what we hoped should be the last plank so we had to apply one more short strip. Isn’t it always like that? Just short of the target? That last, short plank was hard to bend into shape as well, so we had to apply both clamps and screws to make it lie like it was supposed to. Well, we are at a milestone now, as the first side is complete, and we used some extra time to eye up the work so far. NICE!

Now we will cut the centerline, and go on filling in the bottom. Odd Harry has renamed the canoe. It will from now on be referred to as Bongo1. He drummed a bit on the shell last night, got the jungle look in his eyes. He pictured himself canoeing down the Okawango river while cannibals warming up the pot too cook a giant meal.


Nothing much has happened lately. We have cut more planks, and are now ready to fill in the rest of the bottom.


Finally we are getting somewhere. This is beginning to turn out like a canoe. We have cut the centerline, and will begin to adapt the strips from the other side. First we marked the centerline, and then we chiseled down close to this line. The last bit we used a block plane to get the line square. It was not easy to keep the block plane at a right angle, but the result was successful in the end. From now on it will be a lot of measuring to adapt the strips from the other side of the shell. We must make this right from the beginning. The right angle is drawn onto the strip, and then cut to shape. We must also concider the vertical angle at first, so this will be tedious.

Christmas is near ahead, so I do not know how much we will do in December. Family and relatives do also need their share of attention. You could use some time ahead to find the ultimate design of the canoe of your dreams. To order the plans for that canoe would be a nice Christmas present or what? Merry Christmas and a happy new year to you all.


A new year and a new millennium, (The real millennium!!) and more canoe. A few extra pounds were gained to our bodies during Christmas, and they kept us warm in the cold January night. We have now done a bit more planking, and will soon be done with the whole hull. We believe that when the next night of building is over, the hull will be complete. All in all we have 9 more planks to go. And the result of our efforts are improving all the time. To bad though, that we must go trough this learning process. It would be nice to be experts from the bottom of the project, but then again; We are only amateurs. And this is an amateur project, and the result is pleasing after all. We have passed the areas with the most stress and bend now, and all the fitting and filling fall nicely in place. Thight and snugly! We have also set up a jig for steaming of the outer stems. We will probably steam them next time.

Odd Harry proudly presented his brand new jigsaw today. We are all like kids when it comes to new tools. A lot of ooohhhs and woows was heard in the workshop tonight when he also told us that he got a brand new battery drill with an extra battery for Christmas. His mother had told him not to use that new drill for canoe building, and kids always respect their mothers so he didn’t bring that drill with him tonight.


Almost there! Just the last filler piece left now, and the whole hull is complete. What will be the name of the baby was the theme of the night. And night it was. We worked a bit over scedule in order of finishing the hull. We didn’t quite make it, but next time…….. Promise!! 

We are getting quite proud now. She is turning into a beauty with a few minor defects, hardly visible. Our craftmanship has increased a lot since we started off a few months ago. And if we can do it, so can you! Just go ahead, and please tell us how you are doing. The next step now will be to install the outer stems, and then start planing off the surface.

We should somehow raise the temperature in the workshop, but we are not sure how to do it. When the temperature outside is way below freezing, it seems to be hard to get the temp higher then a few degrees above freezing. Perhaps we should move the whole project to another, warmer location. We will concider this in the time ahead.


The canoe is now fully stripped… eh. That came out wrong. The last piece of strip is layed. It looks good! To bad the ignorant foreman had forgotten the camera. The event was celebrated with waffles made by Gunn, the wife of Erik. Thanks a lot.

We are looking for a better workshop at the moment, as the temperature is pretty low now. We are facing epoxy work soon, and that resin demands a more humanly temperature. So we hope to find something in the area that will suit us, and the canoe. We are also working on the stems, made of birchwood. Sorry for the lack of pictures here. It will be well documented later in the project.

More to come…