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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 29, 2007
Gluing the seams -- 2:30 hours

Well, yesterday I made my first mistake.  I followed the instructions in the book carefully and mixed up an 8 ounce batch of epoxy and thickened it to ketchup consistency with silica powder.  Then using a syringe I started injecting the glue into the seams.  In about 5 minutes the syringe became hot and the glue pot started to produce noxious vapors.  I took both outside immediately.  I realized that I had been using the West System type 205 Fast Hardener.  This worked out OK for the stems particularly since the wood flour mixture slowed down the cure rate, but the straight stuff in a larger container sets up too quickly.  Today I went out and bought a can of the 206 Slow Hardener (at $33.00) which gives a 20-30 minute working time.
My second mistake was to start again with an 8 ounce mixture.  Again in the larger container the epoxy began to set up before I could use it all and I had to take it outside to prevent the fumes from being a problem.  So far I have ruined 2 of the 6 syringes that I had bought.  From that point on I worked with 2 to 4 ounce batches and re-used the syringe, wiping it off between batches.  I used small yogurt containers for mixing.

The application process itself is pretty simple, carefully running down each seam and filling the "V" with epoxy from as deep in as the syringe will go.  I over filled a few seams and the glue ran over the edge at the stitches in several places.  Fortunately with the slow cure epoxy there's lots of time to wipe the drips off before they harden.

I had a few gaps in my seams that leaked through to the inside of the hull, and again I was able to wipe off the excess before it hardened.  This was on the side where I had tightened the stitches, the other side that my friend John had done were all OK - his seams were tighter than mine.  There will be a little sanding to do, but not much.  Before I filled the top seam, I taped the inside because I could see a tiny sliver of light through the gap in some places.  I removed the tape after a few hours before the epoxy fully cured.   I may not have needed the tape as there was very little glue at all on the tape, but it made me feel better.
Here are some shots of the seams so far.  Tomorrow I remove the stitches and re-fill the seams to level them out.

Here's a movie made from images taken every minute as I glued the seams,
time invested today 2:30:

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