OTCA deck combing


Finally getting back to an OTCA project I've had for 2 years. Can anyone give me some advice on how to properly fit the combing to the deck?

1) Bend a combing first then cut the deck to match? or...
2) Cut the deck/inwale notch then bend the combing to fit?

I already tried # 1 and not too happy with the results - but maybe I did it wrong. (IMAGINE THAT!)

Hi Mike,

I think the bend first, fit later method is by far the easiest to accomplish. After bending, it is important to have the coaming tightly in place before making the end cuts. Otherwise, any further pulling into the curve after the ends are cut will leave gaps at the coaming-inwale junction. So, stem, bend, and fasten in place to the deck with as many of the final screws as possible (at least the three middle ones if not more). Then use a very fine-kerf saw like one of those flexible dowel cutoff saws (Sharksaw, for example) to make the coaming/inwale end cut at the same time. Remove coaming, chisel out the waste from the inwale, and the joint should be a tight fit.

Thanks for the quick response. I may be a bit dense so I have to clarify something...

From your description, it sounds like the semi-circle should already be cut in the deck. You then steam, bend and fasten the combing in place on the deck, then trim the combing and cut the end cut in the inwale using a japanese saw. After letting it set up a bit, then remove it, trim the inwale cuts to meet the semi-circle, and re-attach the combing, then have a beer.

Let me know if this sounds right. Is there a particular brand of beer you'd recommend?

Say "Hi" to the family.

Yes, cut the curve in the deck first, but remember that the curve flows into the inwale. I'd bet that in the old days, Old Town used a pattern on all Otcas. Best bet would be to make a pattern that includes the length and depth of the inlet into the inwales, mount the deck, trace the pattern, then cut and clean up the edge with a round-bottom spokeshave and sandpaper.

Then, re-mount the deck, steam-bend the coaming piece, and mount it tightly in place along the deck. Mark the depth of cut on the inwale at the coaming ends, then cut coaming end and gunwale together with the fine-kerf saw. This should ensure that you get a tight fit at the junction between the coaming and deck, and at the junction of the coaming and inwale- all with a smooth curve.

Beer? After, I suppose. If before, during and after, you might need to keep on drinking to keep your work looking as good as you thought it was at the time you did it...

Everything is good down here, but it has gotten quite sultry lately. We've had some great times at southern boat shows this past year. I hope life is happy and healthy for you too, Mike. Can't be too bad as long as you've got a wonderful old wooden canoe to work on!