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Stapleless Construction Simplified

Discussion in 'Strippers, Stitch-n-Glue, and Other Wood Composite' started by garypete, Jan 8, 2019.

  1. garypete

    garypete LOVES Wooden Canoes

    A powerful little spring clamp from Harbor Freight and a piece of 1/4" dowel makes stapleless construction much easier in most cases. clamp & dowel.jpg
    The padded rubber feet won't mar soft woods like red or white cedar and the spring is powerful enough to hold in even the toughest places.

    Between stations, the dowel and spring can be pushed down hard enough to obtain a hairline joint. push on clamp.jpg clamping system close up.jpg

    Once it's pushed down as hard as you need, wipe the glue from the outside and inside of the joint with a damp sponge.
    wiping glue drips fron inside.jpg

    To hold a strip without staples at the stations, you'll need longer dowel pieces, the length determined by how much power is required to hold the strip against the station until the glue sets enough to remove the clamp. stapleless clamp step 1.jpg

    To exert downward pressure on the strip against the station, push the end of the dowel down against the hull and temporarily hold it in place with quality duct tape. stapleless clamp with duct tape.jpg

    Cheap duct tape won't hold well enough; you need the good stuff. I use Gorilla T-Rex tape but I'm sure there are other tapes which have strong enough adhesives to hold the end of the dowel down.

    I use Titebond III and find the glues sets enough hard enough that I can remove the duct tape, clamps and dowels in about 20 minutes. If I clamp and duct tape a strip at each station on one side, it takes about 20 minutes to do the other side, so there's almost no waiting around for glue to dry.

    So with a combination of clamps and dowels between stations for hairline joints, and clamps, dowels, and duct tape at the stations, you will be able to build stapleless without the complex clamping arrangements often used in stapleless construction. clamps in use.jpg

    In the picture above, I used the clamps between stations but stapled at the stations for most of the stripping. Then when I discovered how well the long dowels and duct tape worked holding the strips against the stations, I ended up no longer using staples.

    In especially tight areas of the bilge toward the ends of the hull, I found that two clamps on the dowel piece provided plenty of power to hold the srips inline for hairline joints there also. stapleless with two clamps.jpg

    If you wipe glue carefully both inside and outside, it will greatly simplify sanding the inside of the hull–except at the stations where you can't wipe the glue. I solved that by leaving a 2" section of strip without glue at each station. You can easily determine where those areas will be by clamping a new strip a little space away from the hull and pencil marking a line 1" away from each station–the No-Glue Zone.

    no glue at  stations.jpg strips held 1:4 away from hull.jpg

    The inside of the hull is then perfectly glue free, which makes sanding much more enjoyable without first having to scrape glue globs everywhere there was a station.

    After fiberglassing the above hull with epoxy–the first hull I tried leaving the 2" No-Glue-Zone at stations–the was no wicking of epoxy at those places to the outside of the hull. After fiberglass and epoxy are on the inside and outside, I doubt there is any decrease in hull strength at the N0-Glue-Zone places, or at least not enough to matter.

    The powerful little spring clamps cost under two bucks at Harbor Freight. A cheap price to pay for a vastly simplified system of building without staples.
  2. Jim Dodd

    Jim Dodd LOVES Wooden Canoes


    Inner tube keeps pressure on the strip, IF it slips a little, does yours ?
    $1.50. $1 for the clamp at Home Depot Inner tube from Wally World ( tube makes 12). Plastic tubing $.09, a foot.
  3. OP

    garypete LOVES Wooden Canoes

    As shown above, Jim has also developed a simple, ingenious, and inexpensive way to hold strips tightly together. If using uniform strips with accurate cove-and-bead milling, there is now no excuse for joints between strips which are not tight and perfectly hairline.
  4. Mark Heinrich

    Mark Heinrich Curious about Wooden Canoes

    I think the big challenge with canoes versus kayaks is that there is a lot more bend to the strips as you round from the bilge to the bottom. This amount of bend can challenge a spring clamp's holding power.

    If the strip doesn't take a great deal of force painters tape applied with tension is sufficient. For the sides this will work fine.

    For my last canoe I used bungies and the equivalent of dowel (scrap bead and cove split to just above the bead) to protect the cove.

    I have wondered if tapering the strips a bit will reduce how much they are bent - essentially making the football longer and skinnier. This would require a commitment early on in the material preparation if using bead and cove but for fitted strips you could do it as you go.
  5. Jim Dodd

    Jim Dodd LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Hi Mark. Protecting the cove can be done in a variety of ways ! I found in use, that a small piece of plastic tubing ( 1/4"OD) Zip tied to my inner tube Spring clamps, bungee cord, or L- blocks works great ! They are always where you want them, not dropped on the floor. And they work !



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