metal backing strips

Charlie Franks

Curious about Wooden Canoes
I'm in the process of building a form for a 15 foot wc canoe, and I'm wondering what gauge to use for the galvanized steel backing strips. I read in Jerry and Rollin's bible that they recommend 20 gauge, but Jerry's book on Joe Seliga mentions that Joe used 16 gauge. The heavier gauge probably does a better job clinching the tacks, but might be difficult to fit to the proper shape of the hull.

What experience does anyone else have? What gauge did you use, and how did it work out? I'm leaning toward 20 gauge, but thought I'd ask first.

I built a form about a year ago using 20 guage. I still remember how sore my hands and fingers got bending all those forty some bands onto the form. The 20 guage works just fine. Keep in mind that Joe has produced over 600 canoes. The extra thicknes might be worth it if you plan on going into production, but 16 guage is about 1/16" thick. I don't think it would be worth the extra effort for a few canoes. You might consider compromising on 18 guage if you think 20 guage is too thin, but generally though, I think you'll find that you can take Jerry and Rollin's recommendations to the bank.

Have fun and spend lots of time on the form. It'll pay back later.
Clinching bands

HI, I used 18 gauge too. Easy to cut with snips. Also, consider fastening them by putting the screws on the edge of the bands, no drilling required. I think I used pan head 5/8" if I recall. Works well.