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A new pirogue project in Tallahassee

PeteStaehling

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Aug 23, 2020
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With that background I am guessing this is going to be a very precise well built boat. Can't wait to see the pictures You might want to practice up Posting a picture or 2 It's not really hard but I keep forgetting how to do it
I don't plan for it to be anything fancy, but hopefully it will be competently built.
 

PeteStaehling

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Aug 23, 2020
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A quick update...

I have some new frames built of some nice cedar ( I set aside some heavier ones that I made earlier).

I have some rails scarfed to length of the same nice cedar. If the weather is decent enough I will open the rollup door and the kitchen door so I can feed the long lengths through the thickness sander. It might be unorthodox, but for pieces like this I prefer to use the thickness sander rather than jointing and planing. This is especially true since it is so flexible that flatness isn't really meaningful.

I have some stems made up and ready to go other than trimming to the length I decide on. I was thinking of deeper sides that I am now considering. At the moment I am thinking 11", but could still change my mind and go with 10".

I am ready to cut into the 4mm okoume and will soon have to commit on length (probably 14'), but I have to decide how to manage shop floor space. I have a two car garage sized shop, but it is chock full of benches and machinery arranged in three aisles. I can leave it in mostly the same configuration and do most of the work outside, moving things in and out, or I can cram things together temporarily eliminating the center aisle. I don't need anything in there to work on the boat. Much of the work would more easily be done with more space outdoors any way though. The bandsaw and table saw are easily rolled outside for working with long lengths.

Leaving work outside isn't happening for the next week or so since there is rain in the forecast every day.
 
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Kayak Jack

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Aug 26, 2003
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Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
Pete, those rails will NOT end up being straight pieces. They WILL be curved. Don’t make the first set with your expensive wood. Make a template, (best to make separate templates for left and right sides?) out of cheap stuff..
 

PeteStaehling

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Aug 23, 2020
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Pete, those rails will NOT end up being straight pieces. They WILL be curved. Don’t make the first set with your expensive wood. Make a template, (best to make separate templates for left and right sides?) out of cheap stuff.
Too late for that, but they are flexible enough to comply to the curves of my canoe without a huge struggle so I don't think they will be a problem to fit up on the gentle curves of the UJ pirogue. Fingers crossed.

Funny thing... Despite having really straight almost all vertical grain they developed quite a bit of a curve from internal stresses when they were ripped, then after sanding to dimension in the thickness sander relaxed back to almost straight.

I am curious how I'd make them anything but straight? I have a hard time imagining sawing them curved, are you talking about steam bending them, soaking them and putting them on a form, or something else?

I'd think that the goal in milling them would be to have as little runout of the grain as possible and then bend them to fit the curve. The canoes I have owned that had wooden gunnels were all like that including the one I replaced the gunnels on. The dinghies and the rowing dory I built were as well. So none of the boats where I have installed rails ever had bends that required more than sawing straight rails and bending them into place. I can see where with a design with more extreme curves that might not be possible though.
 

PeteStaehling

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Aug 23, 2020
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It may depend on how much I manage to free up indoor space vs moving things in and out of the shop to work I need to do, but...

I am considering how to do the ply scarf cutting and glue up. Given the layout of the UJ pirogue parts I am considering just scarfing the two whole sheets together first. I figure it will be easier to keep everything straight and aligned. I have a circular saw fixture that seems to cut nice scarfs across the width of a sheet in tests on cheap 1/4" ply. I don't think I can handle the big panel on the table saw, but I do have an 8' aluminum saw guide for the circular saw, so I could cut half way move the guide and finish the cut.

If any of that sounds like a terrible idea I could rip the two sheets on the table saw, cutting off the sides before doing all the scarfs.

Thoughts on why I should back off of any of that?
 

seedtick

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Jul 22, 2006
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Denham Springs, LA
My experience with rails is that they are more flexible in one orientation over the other. Support the rail on each end and put a weight in the middle to make it sag. Then flip it over and check the sag. The orientation that sags the most will indicate how you want to attach the rail.

Scarfing a full width of plywood (4’) is difficult if you’re not experienced at it. Much easier to cut out your sides - don’t forget to slow for the scarf- and scarf the side pieces. That way you only have to make about a 12” scarf. Same thing with the bottom, using an 8 foot panel the scarf joint will not end up in the middle and will be smaller than 24”
 

PeteStaehling

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Aug 23, 2020
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My experience with rails is that they are more flexible in one orientation over the other. Support the rail on each end and put a weight in the middle to make it sag. Then flip it over and check the sag. The orientation that sags the most will indicate how you want to attach the rail.

Scarfing a full width of plywood (4’) is difficult if you’re not experienced at it. Much easier to cut out your sides - don’t forget to slow for the scarf- and scarf the side pieces. That way you only have to make about a 12” scarf. Same thing with the bottom, using an 8 foot panel the scarf joint will not end up in the middle and will be smaller than 24”
Thanks. That makes sense.

I did some measuring and some moving of benches and machines. Ripping first also looks like it will be easier for the way the space is working out. So between the two factors it is looking like a slam dunk. There is an intrusion into one corner of the work space that would be a lot of trouble to move and that would make squeezing around an almost 16x4 sheet problematic. Once the sheet is ripped things look better. If we ever have a nice dry day again I'll take the table saw and some roller stands outside and rip the plywood.
 

PeteStaehling

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Aug 23, 2020
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It looks like lots of rain today and probably in the upcoming several days so I am not sure when I will cut plywood. I need to open the rollup door and work at least partially exposed to the weather when breaking down full sheets if I want to use the table saw.

If I get impatient I could use the circular saw and the 8' aluminum guide. I'd still need to open the roll up door and take the full sheet out and back in on the other side of the shop but with only a few seconds of exposure. So I would only need a short break in the rain. Actually using the circular saw and the guide probably isn't a terrible idea. I have not used it much, but my dad who I inherited it from used it all the time. His table saw was one of those old (1940's?) Sears Dunlap ones with a tilt table that was maybe only 12" wide. He had an improvised wide fence held on with c-clamps, but handling full sheets alone was tough. Heck handling full sheets with two people wasn't easy, but we did it many times.
 

Kayak Jack

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Aug 26, 2003
13,714
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Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
A table saw can be a dangerous sonofagun. Dad used one a lot. One day, when he was about 70, the saw grabbed a piece of wood and sent it flying. There was a hole in the wall where it hit.
I have a portable jig saw. My thought is that if something is going to get cut a bit raggedly, better it be a piece of wood than bone. Particularly one of my bones.
I also have a Japanese hand saw. It’s my cordless saw. My cordless drill has a little go-around handle.
 

PeteStaehling

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Aug 23, 2020
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Well I got a break in the rain and moved the sheets to the other side of the shop. I made the cuts with the guide and a worm gear circular saw. I have to say that given the way my shop is set up it was a safer more pleasant process. The cuts are straight accurate and clean. My shop really isn't set up for working with big sheets of plywood though.
 

PeteStaehling

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Aug 23, 2020
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I hadn't either. I bought it for heavy duty work with slabs, but found I liked it for almost everything. A lot of pro house framers use them. They are big heavy beasts. The blade is typically on the opposite side which I find is easier to sight along. I really prefer it for most usage.
 

PeteStaehling

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Aug 23, 2020
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The side scarfs are curing so I will be assembling before too long. I will be cutting the sides to length and wonder about where to place the scarfs. Should I avoid placing them in the center at the frame or place them right at the center frame? Since the uncut sides are almost 16' and the boat will be 14' I do have the option of offsetting the scarf joint from the center quite a bit if there is any advantage.

I am guessing it probably doesn't matter much since the bend is gentle and the scarfs should be plenty strong.

I guess I have the same question for the bottom.
 

beekeeper

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Mar 4, 2009
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My builds probably have more flair and bend than a UJ pirogue built to plans. I position the side scarfs on the end with the least bend as close to the stem as I can. Less stress on the joint and the scarf has less effect on the fairness of the sides.
I put the floor splice on the opposite end.
Might want to consider placing them under a rib. This will reinforce and hide them.
 

PeteStaehling

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Aug 23, 2020
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My builds probably have more flair and bend than a UJ pirogue built to plans. I position the side scarfs on the end with the least bend as close to the stem as I can. Less stress on the joint and the scarf has less effect on the fairness of the sides.
I put the floor splice on the opposite end.
Might want to consider placing them under a rib. This will reinforce and hide them.
I doubt that I can make them hit the rear rib. I'll have to check.

I also considered that moving them as far to one end or the other as possible also makes for more usable leftover pieces., not that that should be a huge factor.
 

beekeeper

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Mar 4, 2009
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I doubt that I can make them hit the rear rib. I'll have to check.
I forgot you were building with plans. Probably too late or more work for what it would be worth to you, but you could have used 2 splices and had them fall on the ribs. UJ builders should be able to advise you about what they did.

If you are concerned with max. strength or need to fair the sides you could add a rib backing the splice.
 

PeteStaehling

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Aug 23, 2020
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I realized that while the scarfs in my pirogue sides looked okay the pieces were not aligned right. I spent a good bit of time checking them when epoxying and clamping. Not sure what happened. I debated over whether the amount or error was something I could live with but ultimately I cut them off and am trying again. I hate to waste the epoxy, but it didn't waste much plywood and I have plenty of time.
 

Kayak Jack

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Aug 26, 2003
13,714
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Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
To me, scarf joints were WAYYYY more bother than worth. I butt jointed (there went at least 37 or 38 seconds) and covered the joint with a piece of 4mm plywood with edges beveled. (A whopping 3 minutes.). If the joint is stronger than the parent material, why do anything more?
Job done, joint strong, sipping a beer. Just me.