Bending Ribs in Mark's Garage

Maybe some of the other posters will remember.There was a post about a guy that had been a wood buyer for quite a few years he posted about getting rid of a supply of white cedar.Some where long lengths. He would have delivered to last years assemblySorry I cant remember more than that.Maybe this post will jog someones memory or he will get in touch with you.
Very impressive work Mark
Hi Mark

Beautiful work. My hat is off to you. I have often marvelled at the detail in the construction of these canoes. Your description of the process has provided some answers but not the one I am most curious about. How do you shape the tapered planks? This has always seemed to me to be a real obsacle to any kind of production efficiency. Are you able to mechanize this step or is it purely hand work?

I am also curious about how you learned to build these canoes. As far as I know, Walter Walker is the only continuous link with the past in building these boats and I was aware of only one other builder who had learned from him and was continuing this method.

Keep doing what you are doing.

Thanks Doug.
The planks are all identical except the two wide keel planks and the accent strips. The keel planks are at least 2 1/2" wide the whole length, it's easier to make the 90 degree twist with a wide board. The accent strip is an inch wide the length of the canoe, just because it looks better that way.
I'm a little unclear on how they tappered the strips at the factory. The nearest I can tell they had a dedicated table saw or better yet a band saw, on which they ran the strip through while mounted on a template. I'm assuming they ran the template against a short fence. The tapper is so gradual it only needs to be done on one side of the strip. Since I don't need to be as efficient as the production guys used to be, I mount my strip on a long hard board and plywood template. I get good results by using my router with a ball bearing guided straight cutting bit, then a rabbiting bit.
The few strips that run in the chine, or turn of the bilge, are back side dressed in the center of the canoe with a convex plane iron. This helps to avoid splitting. On these same strips that turn the sharp arch, the inside leading edge of the rabbit is also touched with a block plane to make a tight joint on the outside. I hope this answered your question, I'll try to post some more pictures in the next few days.
Hi Mark

Thanks for the explanation. The template and router approach was one that I thought of while trying to imagine how you would proceed. These boats are obviously very labour intensive. After asking you how you learned to build these canoes I found your post in which you talk about the video of Walter Walker. I give you full marks for undertaking this work on the basis of a video alone. Since there are few people doing what you are doing and there is obviously a fair amount of interest in it, it would be great if you could demonstrate your work at one of the Assemblies. I know the logistics would be difficult for you but it is something to keep in mind.

Thanks again

It's finished.

I finished it about a month ago. Boy is it sweet, the best one I've built yet!

Now on to the next one. A good buddy of mine found a saw mill that could saw me up some basswood in long, wide lengths. I'm going to try a "wide board, rib and batten.



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Very nice.

It's still a ways off, but if I can, I'm coming down for Canoecopia next year just to see your boats in person.

Jim Okkema said:
Beautiful Mark. Have you put it in the water yet?

I've had it out a few times. As you know we are a bit short on water in the rivers around here, but I've had it out on the Sugar, and Pierce Lake.
It paddles great, I think I'm on the right track with this design. I'm going to put a bit of tumblehome back in to the next one, along with another inch of rocker.