Help support the WCHA Forums by making a tax-deductible donation!

In over my head

Discussion in 'Guestbook' started by Nomadbob, Aug 12, 2014.

  1. Nomadbob

    Nomadbob Want to be

    Hi all Bob here from the deserts of southern Ca. Odd place to canoe I understand. Like others I canoed years ago starting with a simple department store canoe which served my family well. Prior to and since then I have always admired the craftsmanship of handmade canoes but always believed them to be beyond my reach.
    Over the past 4 years I have passed by a small pawn shop outside Indio Ca. where a wood canoe sat on the roof of a shed baking away in our 115 degree summers. I finally gave in the other day, stopped in and made my offer of $50 due to the condition of the craft. The front end is split open, fiberglass will need to be replaced, one seat is partially there, the other missing, and railing will also need to be replaced. Oddly enough the two hand made paddles are in great shape! Although I consider myself a fair wood worker with an extensive assortment of the required tools this will be my first shot at major boat repairs.
    As mentioned previously I live in the desert so I will not begin working on this project for another month when our temperatures finally drop below the 100s. At least this way I have plenty of time to watch videos and read how too articles for repairs. I will welcome all observations and help. I am happy to have found your forum. Bob _DSC0012.jpg
     
  2. Greg Nolan

    Greg Nolan enthusiast

    Welcome to the WCHA. You will certainly get informed answers to any questions you might ask as you go along with your project, so don't be bashful about asking for advice.

    There has been a lot written in these forums on repairing/restoring cedar/fiberglass strip canoes -- two threads you might start with are:

    http://forums.wcha.org/showthread.php?10550-reinforcing-woodstrip-canoe&highlight=todd+bradshaw

    http://forums.wcha.org/showthread.php?3081-Fiberglass-Structural-Strength-Old-Town-Trapper

    And don't forget to keep posting pictures -- we all like to see how projects are coming along.

    Greg
     
  3. OP
    OP
    Nomadbob

    Nomadbob Want to be

    Thank you

    Greg thank you for the welcome, I will post pictures forsure and read the post which you have listed for me. I am excited to get the project underway. Bob
     
  4. Todd Bradshaw

    Todd Bradshaw Sailmaker

    I really wish folks would stop doing this.......

    Buying an old beat up stripper is like deciding you want to take up horse racing and buying a three-legged horse...... Sure, you could fit him with a prosthetic leg and spend hours of time and lots of money trying to teach him how to run again, but he's never going to win a race - if he even finishes one. :)

    The brutal truth about these boats is that they are almost never a bargain - at any price, including free. They involve much more work, much more difficult work, and nearly as much money to "restore" as starting from scratch and building a new boat - and they will never come out anywhere near as serviceable and good looking as the boat you could have built yourself by simply following the directions in a good book.

    Unlike wood/canvas boats which can be repaired, cleaned up and restored piece by piece as needed, strippers are a very different story. The hulls stop being an "assembly of parts" very early in the building process, and while still being supported by the molds. After that, you are basically dealing with a hull which is essentially treated as a single piece for the remainder of the process. Removing a single "piece" (like the outside fiberglass, for example) is a huge, tricky job that may allow the entire hull to fall apart because it no longer has the support of the molds to keep it together. When the end result (even if you succeed) is going to be a clear-finished wooden boat that is covered with water stains that you were unable to remove, it just isn't worth it.

    You got two decent paddles for $50, which isn't bad, but before you start investing a lot of time and money into what is obviously a three-legged horse, pick up a copy of "Canoecraft" or one of the other good books on building strippers, read it and look very seriously at building a much better boat in a much more controlled and logical fashion. What you "saved" by starting with an old beat-to-death stripper is not actually saving you anything.
     
  5. OP
    OP
    Nomadbob

    Nomadbob Want to be

    Thank you Todd

    This is sound advice which I will certinly consider. In actuallality I did not purchase the boat to save time or money; however, I don't want to spend more money on repairs than it would cost to build one from scratch. I was in the process of making plans to building a large wood paddle board which I would most likely never use, just because I wanted a big wood project. My second thought which you should certinly comment on was to use the boat as a form for which to build a new shell around. I would really like to hear your thoughts on this. I feel the finished boat would only be an inch wider,and not much longer. Like you mentioned I am really not out anything crazy at this point, just up a creek with two paddles, no boat. If the boat is really that far gone; with out being too sack-religious, I could cut it in half and make to decent book cases from it! I appreciate all comments and thoughts, they might just save me from a several $100 mistake. Bob
     
  6. Todd Bradshaw

    Todd Bradshaw Sailmaker

    The thing about strippers is that even though it's a pretty big project to build one, it really isn't particularly difficult and these days the process is well documented, step-by step. Rebuilding a trashed one, you are pretty much on your own and faced with a much more difficult project that is seldom likely to turn out a particularly nice boat. The new boat will cost a bit more for the wood in the hull, but you are essentially going to have to replace everything else anyway with the old one - all the fiberglass, the gunwales, at least one seat and probably both, a deck. etc. Not to mention all the bass-ackwards destruction and construction supplies. Plus....we don't know what design that canoe is or whether it's even decent enough to bother reproducing in any form. It's no fun to tie up a whole lot of time and money in any boatbuilding project, only to find out the first time you drop it in the water that it's horribly tippy, unsuited to your needs, or otherwise not going to work well for you.

    I won't say that it would be absolutely impossible to build a stripper over an old hull, but it's quite close, and a very illogical way to try to build one, compared to the existing and proven methods. Buy a book, read it, follow the instructions, work carefully, avoid thinking you have a better idea if you don't yet have the experience and you can turn out a very nice canoe. It may not be perfect everywhere, but it will work fine and still dazzle the peanut gallery. The place that beginning strip builders tend to go off the rails is almost always in deciding that they have a better way, or that they know more than the author when it comes to the weights of the materials (fiberglassing layups in particular). It very often comes back to bite them later when all they really needed to do was to follow the plan. In your case with this old boat there really is no plan available. Considering that and the amount of deterioration and neglect evident, it's quite a gamble and hard to be very optimistic about the potential outcome. You might as well put that effort and money into something that you can eventually be proud of.
     
  7. Kathryn Klos

    Kathryn Klos squirrel whisperer

    I doubt anyone would take issue with your purchase becoming a bookshelf. We "old canoe nuts" shake our heads over some 'ol girl that could have been salvaged for use on the water but was sawed in half--- some ribbed, wood/canvas oldie that could have been brought back to its original state. I once saw an old aluminum canoe that was turned into a mailbox, and it made me smile. An old stripper re-purposed as a bookcase seems the perfect thing to house books on canoes and canoeing.

    Keep us informed re your project(s)! And welcome aboard!
    Kathy
     
  8. OP
    OP
    Nomadbob

    Nomadbob Want to be

    Book case it is!

    Todd I want to thank you for the thought and experiance your responses show. Given your explainations combined with the fact I really don't need a canoe added to my already large collection of toys, I believe my best course of action is to convert this project in to two matching book cases. I am sure my wife will be much happier with these as well, I will fell like I have at least in some small way salvaged someones hard work. I will still pickup one of the books you have recommended; a nice addition to canoe style book cases, then when timing is better follow a proven plan/design.

    I will still continue to read this forum to become more informed, and maybe have a better idea of what to build for my needs and skill level. I had no idea before beginning to research this boat that wood/canvas was even an option! Thank you for the advice, Bob
     
  9. OP
    OP
    Nomadbob

    Nomadbob Want to be


    Thanks Kathy, my wife has just informed me she is much happier with the book case idea, especially since that was suppose to be my next project! I would be all too happy to post some pictures as it moves along. Feeling welcomed already, Bob
     
  10. Todd Bradshaw

    Todd Bradshaw Sailmaker

    Sounds like a plan Bob. However...... we all know that sooner or later California is going to fall into the ocean, so you still may need a canoe (especially during Shark Week). You can also buy model kits for strippers if the book peaks your interest. When I built my big fur trade canoe, I needed to test my plan for stripping up the boat's ends, to see if the building forms I had designed would actually work and produce the proper shape. So I assembled them and made a test end - essentially the first (or last) two feet or so of the boat. It worked and I went on to building the real thing, but I kept the test end. I eventually mounted it on a plaque and hung it on my wall. When someone would ask about it, I'd just say "Yes, I shot that one last summer in Canada."
     
  11. Larry Meyer

    Larry Meyer Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    When I saw this post I thought Todd would jump in. He is plainly very knowledgeable, intelligent, and articulate. A real gentleman in fact. His posts are always thorough and impeccably put.
     
  12. OP
    OP
    Nomadbob

    Nomadbob Want to be

    so right



    Well you got that right where I live is 63 ft below sea level, but the sharks here are on 2 legs! As for a new boat I am not even sure a stripper is the way for me to go at this point, I now have more options to consider, and much more research to complete. Thanks again for the advice, I feel very good about my decision, and my purchase given the new direction. Might even get my wife to make a custom stained glass piece for accents! Bob
     
  13. OP
    OP
    Nomadbob

    Nomadbob Want to be

    Thanks for the support Larry, Bob.
     
  14. Dan Lindberg

    Dan Lindberg Ex Wood Hoarder

    Bob,

    After looking at the image of this "canoe" closer, you might be disappointed in even book shelf's from this thing.

    Dan
     
  15. OP
    OP
    Nomadbob

    Nomadbob Want to be

    Oh have a little faith. That's the great thing about shelves you can make one out of just about anything. A couple doors, custom stainglass back lit and a coat of something to hide the repairs and you are good to! The shelves will hold the boat together to make the necessary exterior repairs. Lucky for me my wife has a custom stained glass business, and I already do her wood work. Bob
     

Share This Page