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Building a Sassafras 14 ft. stitched lapstrake canoe
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HOME 1. laying out
the planks
2. cutting
3. gluing
4. rabbeting
5. stitching
6. shaping
7. filleting
8. gluing
9. removing
10. filling
11. gluing
12. gluing
13. glassing
14. glassing inside 15. glassing
16. decks and
seat mounts
17. installing
18. epoxy
19. sanding 20. varnishing 21. finishing up 22. launching storage BILL OF
This canoe was built from plans in the book "The Canoe Shop"


July 27, 2007
Shaping the hull -- 6:48 hours

Yesterday as we worked at stitching the hull planks together my neighbor John Grill and I mused about how these ends were going to fold up and form a vertical stem, it seemed daunting.
Well, it went quite quickly, the planks just sort of fell into place.  Then came the hours of tweaking and sighting down the lines and tweaking some more.  That number 3 plank plagued us with it's extra length!
By clamping 2 boards across the stems we could sight along them to see that they were parallel.  Then by placing a square on the stick that is used to hold the thwart open to the right dimension we could be sure that the stems were square to the gunwhales.
We eventually determined that I must have measured the length of the #3 plank too long.  Either that or the plans were wrong.   So I cut the plank off at each end with a saber saw - my first sacrifice to the boat gods!
Before tightening all the copper stitches, we trued the saw horses and made sure they were parallel to each other so the hull would settle out true.  Then we worked along the hull from center line to the top seam tightening each stitch to bring all the planks together snugly.  The boat feels stiffer now.
John left me to complete the bulkheads which I lofted from plans in the book and cut out as a matched pair.  Here I am test fitting them.  The book says that bulkheads are tough to fit, but I had no problems, other than having to remove 1/4" from the top edge.   I later realized that this was a mistake, and the plans were right.
I drilled holes through the bulkhead and the hull so I could stitch the bulkhead firmly to the hull.  The upper planks pulled in nicely as I tightened the copper wires.  Since the bulkheads are essential to the structure they also define the shape of the bow and stern.  I also drilled a 1" hole for a drain plug as these are watertight flotation compartments too.
The completed hull now looks like a canoe at last!

I didn't do a movie movie today.  But here's what she looks like at the end of the day:

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