Cedar Strip Canoe Build # 16 Fairing The Hull

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Blog entry by farmerdude posted 01-03-2016 12:12 AM 2591 reads 2 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Time to fair the hull and make it look like something. Before I start I have to finish the repair from last time. I just used a chisel to clip it off and a sanding block to shape it a little. Don’t have to be too fussy because I’m fairing the whole hull so I will make it look better then.

I grabbed a couple of block planes. I guess I’ll stick with the low angle one. Hopefully less tearout with that one.

I closed the mouth up fairly tight, that should help also.

Here are a couple of examples of spots that need to be taken down.

I also like to use a chisel to knock off any glue, that should help keep the plane sharp a little longer.

The hardest thing about planing a canoe hull is the strips going in different directions, you never know when the grain is going to change from one strip to another.

If I have too much trouble in a certain area, I’ll use a card scraper.

To me it is a good sign when you don’t get long shavings, just small stuff in the plane, I see that as a spot that doesn’t need much work.

Still going.

If I’m not sure about a certain spot I will use a pencil. I just rock it back and forth, that will tell you if you have any flat spots.

I have the whole setup on wheels because my space is limited and it helps to roll it around to get at different areas. The problem with that is when using the plane it wants to roll away from you. I used scrap pieces of strips to make two of these.

They work really well. I think if you push hard enough it would tip over before it would roll over the strips.
In the next picture, the area to the left of the plane is done, the right is not. I’m not sure you can even see the difference.

In the next one, the area to the left of the picture is done, the right not. You can also see that I already got a nick in the plane iron. I just sharpened all the tools before I started the canoe so I must have hit some glue.

I’m not much of a photographer, but I think fairness of hull is not easily captured on film.
So, I’m done planing and scraping. It’s time for the fairing board. I call it the torture tool. It’s made from 1/4” plywood. Two pieces of dowel. I used a piece of plastic cutting board my wife was done with. It keeps the thin plywood from breaking. I used a piece of old sanding belt that I had given to me that didn’t fit any of my tools. It is 16” long and just under 3” wide. I think it’s 40 grit.

Here is what we have after about an hour of the fairing board. I think you can see some improvement.

Time for the random orbit sander. Paper is 60 grit.

The sander is way more fun than the fairing board, but it has it’s drawbacks. You need ear plugs. The cedar is thin and the canoe is hollow. This makes for a lot of noise. Also, the lower edges of the canoe sometimes come away from the stations because there are no more staples holding it there, so you get a lot of vibration. That makes even more noise. There is also a lot, LOT, of dust. This brand of sander doesn’t seem to catch much of the dust in the dust bag. Dust mask time. I like to roll it outside for this part of the job, however, there is this situation…....

Guess I’ll stay in here next to the wood stove.
When you do empty the dust bag, save the sawdust. You will want some of it later.

So, I’m not sure how long I sanded but my wife came out and told me I was going to miss supper. That is unacceptable. I wrapped it up, vacuumed it off and this is what we have now.

So that is where we stand now. I hope you can see that the hull is looking pretty good. It looks fair to me, and it feels fair, so I think that it’s where it needs to be. I have a few things to do tomorrow morning, but I may be able to get in the shop later in the day. If I do I will update tomorrow night.
Here’s the tally this far, I think I made a mistake on my math in an earlier blog entry.
Cedar – $90.00
Router bits – $30.00
1 gal. poly – $46.00
3 boxes staples – $10.00
2 rolls tape – $8.00
10 chip brushes – $8.00
seat cane – $25.00
sanding discs, 60 grit, 50 pack – $20.00
Total – $237.00
See you next time.

-- Jeff in central Me.

9 comments so far

View hoss12992's profile


4166 posts in 2497 days

#1 posted 01-03-2016 03:23 AM

That is looking really good buddy

-- The Old Rednek Workshop

View English's profile


682 posts in 2081 days

#2 posted 01-03-2016 03:46 AM

You have it looking pretty good. Looks like that cedar is sander friendly. Looks like that fairing board is a killer!!

I hate saw dust, I have COPD so I can’ t handle it. I have a small homemade cyclone on my wet vac. I use a hose from a Cpap machine, one end fits inside the sander fitting where the duct bag fits on. The other end, I force into the 1 1/4” vac hose. The cyclone catches about 98% of the dust. Then I have a air cleaner over my sanding area. It gets most of what gets airborne. On my boat build I sanded either wood, Epoxy or paint for a total of about 400 hours out of a 848 hour build.

-- John, Suffolk Virgina

View Andre's profile


3002 posts in 2410 days

#3 posted 01-03-2016 03:52 AM

She is starting to look real good! Looking at your fairing board reminded me that somewhere in my shop there is a auto body strap sander and paper from when I used to tinker in old cars, I thinks it will work real good for that task! You should try the Veritas PM-11 blades from Lee Valley, put one into my old 60 1/2 and don’t think that I have sharpened it yet. Looking forward to the next update!!!!!!

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View JimYoung's profile


338 posts in 2191 days

#4 posted 01-03-2016 02:57 PM

Looking good. I don’t envy you all the sanding.

Do you have to be careful of getting flat spots around the forms, or is that not a real problem?

-- -Jim, "Nothing says poor craftsmanship more than wrinkles in your duck tape"

View bushmaster's profile


3770 posts in 2886 days

#5 posted 01-03-2016 03:57 PM

Half done 90% to go, out side looks great and fun to do, the inside is not as easy. but do-able.

-- Brian - Hazelton, British Columbia

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3470 days

#6 posted 01-03-2016 07:01 PM

It’s a very interesting blog. Nice work.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View farmerdude's profile


670 posts in 2643 days

#7 posted 01-03-2016 11:25 PM

Thanks, everyone.

-- Jeff in central Me.

View farmerdude's profile


670 posts in 2643 days

#8 posted 01-03-2016 11:28 PM

Jim, haven’t had any trouble yet. Of course, that doesn’t mean it won’t happen.

-- Jeff in central Me.

View farmerdude's profile


670 posts in 2643 days

#9 posted 01-03-2016 11:31 PM

English, I may have to try a cyclone later. On my first canoe I kept track as well as I could and it took about 200 hrs. to build, 100 hrs. of it was sanding.

-- Jeff in central Me.

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