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To bead and cove or not to

Discussion in 'Strippers, Stitch-n-Glue, and Other Wood Composite' started by erbinsky, Feb 4, 2009.

  1. erbinsky

    erbinsky Canoeist/Builder

    I've built a couple of strippers as well as several s&g boats and Ihave a question.The strippers I built , I built from instuctions out of books I bought from this website.The particular book I followed didn't call for the strips to be beaded and coved.Glued edge to edge with plenty of staples to hold them tight untill the glue dried then covered with 6oz. cloth and epoxy.These canoes turned out beautiful and I had no trouble selling them. My question is why bead and cove? Is it just for appearence sake ,because you need fewer staples? If my understanding of epoxy/fiberglass covered wood is correct the structural strength comes from the glass , not the wood so why bother? Or am I mistaken
  2. Canoez

    Canoez Paddle Bait

    You can build a beautiful boat by beveling the square-edged strips to get tight joints. The bead and cove certainly helps out with the aesthetic appearance of the canoe if it is going to be bright finished - particularly for those with limited experience. I find that for my students, who are all novice boat-builders and tend to be woodworkers of limited proficiency, the cove-and-bead helps to speed up the actual boat building process and give good cosmetic results at the same time. We show the students the other methods, however.

    I've build boats by beveling square-edged planking to make the strips tighter and have heard others on the forum who just seem to strip the boats the best they can and fill the gaps later with thickened epoxy. Personally, I don't prefer this, but if you need to build a quick-and-dirty boat or will put on an opaque finish, I don't see an issue with it.

    Ted Moores shows some other methods in his book, including a ship-lap planking method.

    There are pitfalls to the cove-and-bead, however. It does take longer to mill the strips. (We speed things up with a dual router table assembly - both sides of the strip are cut at once - takes about 40 minutes to do ~1200 linear feet of strip stock) Strip thickness is critical (I should say minimum strip thickness - a little thicker just gives a little more thickness to fair off.) You could plane your stock before cove-and-beading, but we find the saw finish on our strips to be fine. Cutter sizes other than for 1/4" strip are not easy or inexpensive to find, so if you want to strip in 3/16" thickness, you may need to get creative. The edge of the cove side can be fragile so you need to handle and store strips with care. While milling stock, if you feed it too fast, these fine edges can chip out. Consistancy of the strips is important.
  3. Dave Wermuth

    Dave Wermuth Who hid my paddle?

  4. OP

    erbinsky Canoeist/Builder

    I read this before I posted my thread. It was the last coment that prompted me to post. I thought I was the only one to build strippers this way.
  5. Canoeal

    Canoeal Canoe/kayak builder/resto

    Bead & cove.

    I have been building strippers in my shop for over 20 years, and I have made strips about every way imaginable, including using a skill saw to cut strips on my first two (not recommended). I built them with hand beveled square edges until 2000 when I went to bead and cove. I built a router set-up for doing both sides in one pass. The biggest difference betwen bead and cove and square edge are speed and accuracy. While it takes longer by an hour or two to mill the strips, it saves a lot of time in the assembly. If you mill your strps accurately, the boat goes together evenly with less staples and less sanding.It actually takes less time to strip the canoe. Attached is a picture of my bead and cove set up.
    Al Bratton

    Attached Files:

  6. Dan Lindberg

    Dan Lindberg Ex Wood Hoarder

    Intestesting that the discussion is about the merits of B&C versus square cut and beveled, and no discussion about staples or no staples.

    IMO, the staples area much bigger "issue" then whether the strips are B&C or square. And of course I don't like staples holes, I wouldn't consider building a stripper with staples, or with splices for that matter. I also don't do this for a living, so I don't care if it takes 6 weeks to strip a canoe.

    BTW, I do agree with Al that the B&C makes it easier to lay the strips even. With the beveled, I usually use 1 or more small spring clamps between the forms to hold the strips "evenly" positioned to each other. It works Ok until I get careless with the glue and put on too much, then it's a mess. :(

    Last edited: Mar 3, 2009
  7. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    Having built exactly one stripper, I have to agree with Dan: it's not the B&C that matters, but the staple holes are the one thing that I don't like about this boat. If I ever get around to doing the next one...
  8. Douglas Ingram

    Douglas Ingram Red River Canoe & Paddle

    A little bit of paint will cover up those staple holes real good.:)

    As for building with no staples, my standard advice is this: Make sure that your woodworking and finishing skills on the rest of the boat are up to the task.

    Who will care if there are no visible staple holes if the rest of the canoe looks like crap?
  9. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    Well, I'm reasonably confident in my skills. Within the first year after launching it, a guy was admiring it at a put-in. He said they see a lot of home-builts come through the shop, but he wouldn't have picked this as one of them. I didn't know it at the time, but "the guy" was Vic Hurtowy, then manager of Chicagoland Canoe Base... so I took that as a complement!

    The boat is B&C, because the kit came that way. That was a few years ago; it has taken some lumps, and I've stripped & replaced the 'glass inside & out after cracking it up last spring. It has "Character Marks." These 'glass things are not easy or fun to fix.

    When it's done, I'll start on my '46 Otca, in canvas, please...

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