|Thanksgiving Day project|
While everyone else was watching the Macy’s Parade, I began to work on my canoe. I’ve had this canoe since the mid-80s and it’s still in decent shape except that the gunnels had begun to rot. I had changed the gunnels once before, in 1992. In both occasions, I found a small sawmill who would rough cut the gunnels. Right now, there is a lot of ash available (in 20 years, this won’t be the situation as the Emerald Ash Borer is wiping out the Ash in this part of the world). A guy who often has breakfast at one of the local diners and does logging has a band-saw mill. He had some 20 foot ash logs he was rough cutting into planks for someone else and was able to cut my strips out so some of the slabs. After cutting them, I took them to another friend who has an incredible planner and we worked the strips down to 7/8” by 3/4”. When I did the gunnels in 92, I oiled them first, which is what most people recommend. This time, I decided to spar varnish the gunnels before I placed them on the boat. I put three coats of varnish onto the gunnels before Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving was a wonderful day here—I was able to work outside without the need of a heavy coat. I placed the canoe on a set of sawhorses and began to take the out the seats and thwarts. Then I took off the first side of gunnels, saving the stainless steel screws, and to replace the old gunnels with a new set. To do this, I start at one end and with four clamps, began to drill countersink holes for the screws. When I did this in 92, I had only one drill and used a screw driver (and my forearm was sore for three days). Now I have two drills and even splurged on a special countersink bit. I’d drill a hole and then drive in the screw. Slowly I made my way from one end of the boat to the other, putting the gunnels on both sides of the ABS plastic. What I didn’t count on was having a number of screws to be stripped out and so on Thanksgiving Day, wasn’t able to finish the project. Another issue came up in that there was a crack at the top of the bow that appeared when I took the gunnels off. It wasn’t large (maybe 3 inches) starting at the top. I decided that now is the time to take care of this, so I sanded off the area and placed a piece of fiberglass on both sides of the skin and sealed it in. ABS is nice to work with since fiberglass adheres to it. It was also great to have nice enough weather to do the fiberglass work outside.
|Canoe sitting on ground with a dusting of snow|
My one purchase on Black Friday was a dozen stainless steel screws at the local lumber yard. I then finished up the project. Of course, it was now sleeting (which turned into snow) so I had to work inside the garage. I finished up the gunnels and then fitted the seats and thwarts, drilling holes for their bolts and bolting them in place. Soon, my boat was back together and ready for some winter canoeing.