Cedar Strip Canoe Build # 38 Starting On The Gunwales

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Blog entry by farmerdude posted 02-26-2016 10:59 PM 1785 reads 1 time favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Today I will start to work on the gunwales. I have some material half ready. I am using white ash. Here is what there is to work with.

I need 16ish feet for the outside. The wood I had was not in great shape, so the pieces are 8’ and shorter. I have to make a scarf joint where they will meet, and will lose some length in each joint. The book calls for a 12” joint so I need to use three pieces to make each run. The joints need to start at 12” and taper to nothing. I made a quick sled for this job.

Then I put on a scrap piece to keep the offcut from flying up.

Thing were going well and I put the screws form the sled away, and then…...

I hope this is not a sign of the coming day. Here are the pieces ready for joining.

I put the pieces together and mark them so I won’t have to fool with them when I put the glue on.

I make the glue with the epoxy and add cotton fibers, this makes a very strong, and waterproof glue. You just want to make small batches so you have time to clamp them without the glue setting up before you are done.

The only place I have in my small shop to glue up something that long is on the floor.

I let them cure overnight, and the next day it was time to remove the clamps. They will need some serious cleaning up to be able to use them. I did this with a plane and chisel.

Now to work on the two for the inside. When you put them on, you screw them from the inside. First find the center. Now you need to mark them for drilling, and countersinking every six inches.

I’ve been putting this part off, but now is the time. I need to sand the hull again before putting on the gunwales. It’s easier to sand it now than it would be later, so here we go again.

It’s getting late but there is one more job I want to get done before I quit. The gunwales need to be “painted” with an epoxy mixture to seal the wood to prevent rotting. The book suggests doing three sides, leaving the top for later. This way the side that is against hull will be sealed to keep the water from soaking in. Keeping in mind that the longest ones are over sixteen feet long, where on earth am I going to put them to paint them? Looking the shop over I realize that the canoe is hogging up all the prime real estate. So why not do the gunwales in the prime spot. I did a little cleaning and put the canoe on top of the table saw. This leaves the canoe cradle open. Yes, I have a plan.

There you have it, the gunwale stock is glued up and painted with epoxy. Now I just need to let it cure overnight and then I can put them on the canoe. You may have noticed that I have not updated for almost a week, some of you know the website had a problem with posting pictures. I am not good with computers so it was a struggle trying to figure out the whole third party picture hosting thing. By the time I was starting to get it, the site is fixed. This is a good thing. Now I can get back at it. So that explains my absence.
Next up, putting on gunwales. See you then.

-- Jeff in central Me.

9 comments so far

View Redoak49's profile


4355 posts in 2596 days

#1 posted 02-26-2016 11:28 PM

I wait for your updates and really enjoy reading them.

View JoeinGa's profile


7741 posts in 2614 days

#2 posted 02-26-2016 11:41 PM

Yep… what he said :-)

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View English's profile


682 posts in 2084 days

#3 posted 02-27-2016 12:34 AM

Jeff, That’s a good looking scarf joint, nice and tight. Glad you were able to get back to blogging, I’ve been waiting on the update.

-- John, Suffolk Virgina

View Andre's profile (online now)


3011 posts in 2413 days

#4 posted 02-27-2016 12:40 AM

I say perfect timing, had to run out to the coast for a few days so got back in time for your next update! This is a great blog so many little thing I had never considered! one of these days going to have get to it! Thanks for giving me some much needed inspiration to give it a try.

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View JimYoung's profile


339 posts in 2194 days

#5 posted 02-27-2016 02:24 AM

Whew! I was going through canoe withdrawal!

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

View Bobsboxes's profile


1400 posts in 3271 days

#6 posted 02-27-2016 04:09 AM

Great blog, having fun watching this progress. Thanks for sharing.

-- Bob in Montana. Kindness is the Language the blind can see and deaf can hear. - Mark Twain

View hoss12992's profile


4166 posts in 2500 days

#7 posted 02-27-2016 06:07 PM

Great job buddy and VERY well explained. I check daily for updates. I have a neighbor that is 12 yr old. No father so he has adopted me for that roll. The other night we were working in the shop and he mentioned something about he would like a canoe. BAM. So I told him about you and your blog and pulled them up for him to read. He got SOOO excited and I now have another cedar strip canoe added to the build list that we will do together. He now ask daily if you posted another update. Thank you

-- The Old Rednek Workshop

View farmerdude's profile


670 posts in 2646 days

#8 posted 02-27-2016 08:24 PM

hoss, glad to see a young person taking interest in wood working. It’s nice that he has someone to help guide him along. I know both of you will enjoy the build when the time comes. Thanks for filling me in.

-- Jeff in central Me.

View farmerdude's profile


670 posts in 2646 days

#9 posted 02-27-2016 08:26 PM

JimYoung, sorry to put you through so much. I will try to do better.

-- Jeff in central Me.

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