Finding True Center on Bottom of Cedar Strip


Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes
Hey All -

Need a little help to make sure I'm finding the true center line as I work on the bottom of my Freedom 17'. I'm using Canoecraft w/ Bearmountain plans, but the explanation at this particular point isn't quite clear.

Ted writes "Working just forward of the No. 6 station mold, carefully shave the planking back until you can see straight down the mold center line." I understand this, but the he writes, "As a double-check for this cut, it is a good idea to project the center line from station molds number 0, 2, and 4 to the outside of the planking. Measure from the edge of the planking to the center line on the underside then transfer this distance to the outside."

Can anyone clarify this and / or offer opinions about other techniques to mark the true center line? Thanks in advance.

Where you are right now, it appears you've covered up your centerline in the middle form.

Beings you are building inner and outer stems. I would use the center of your inner stems, as reference points. It appears you have done this. Sometime strings can be distorted by a staple, or whatever.

I would mark the center with your string, and start trimming the overlapping strips at the middle. Try and sneak up on it, so you don't go past center. Maybe lift the strips towards the middle, and see if you can locate the center of the middle form. If you were diligent in setting up your forms. Your stretched string should right on the center of the middle form.

Looks good so far !
Good luck !

It's a little late for you but, when I layout my forms, I mark the center on each one, and use it for aligning the forms during setup to a string.

I also add 2 offset lines/marks 2" outboard on each, to help mark and trim the center strips.

Thanks to you both. Dan, I also included the step you describe, which - when I followed Jim's suggestion above, allowed me to slowly work my way towards the centerline I had put on the molds. Seems to have worked out pretty well (meant to take a pic, will do so tomorrow). Thanks for the help!!
Cutting center line and filling

This reply may be a bit late for you, but others may find it helpful.

What builders use is a "U" shaped jig to transfer center line on mold to outside of planking. This is done by holding the "U" sideways and fit over the planking so that it touches the center line on the mold and the other edge is used to mark the center line on outside of the planking. Mark each mold and then take a ruler or long strip to mark the center line down the outside. I always leave a little extra wood on center line so that I can adjust as I go by planing and sanding the center line so that second half strips colours match up nicely. I have a video of doing this on a kayak, but process is the same. And then fitting those second half pieces here
I always found it interesting that everyone has the mating point right at the middle - the most likely place to take a rap.

I strip from both sides alternating right and left up the interior stem with no exterior stem until getting to where the stem curves. As you round over and the stem is less sharp it becomes more of a meet in the middle affair but has a clear middle. Then as that transitions to flat or the stem ends - I run a strip right down the middle and another couple on either side. Then fill in the football fitting to these middle strips.

I think aesthetically it's nice having an arrow like effect and makes it easier for kids to know where to keep their bottom.