Outwale Jig or bending form for Old Town 16'


Curious about Wooden Canoes
I'm in the process of bending white ash to fit the stem ends of an Old Town 16' canoe. The outwales are completed and all that is left is to bend the outwales to the stem curvature. I would like to know what kinds of jigs or forms have been used for best results. I plan to soak the ash ends for a couple of days and then probably boil them.

Would appreciate any and all information. Thank you.
I'll bite: It depends on the amount of bend, or the radius. I assume you mean bend the outwales to the shape of the shear up to the stems. If you are bending 'wales for a guide or 50 pounder, it's easier. An otca, HW, or Charles River, Like I just finished, is harder.
Consider soaking for several days. More for kiln dried. Less for fresh cut. A jig, form, or fixture for bending is the same as for a stem, more or less. I make two, one for each end and do the whole thing at once. I also make it double wide so both outwales are done side by side. Make the radius a little tighter to allow for springback.
The form has to have a way to hold the end as you bend it over the outside of the radius. AND a metal strap/band should be on the outside of the gunnels to hold the wood and help it not to split. The form may only be 3 feet long depending.. After an hour of steam/boil, then put the end in the form under the part you made to hold it down (rather than try to use a clamp on the end). Bend the rail down as the wood gives, don't go faster than the wood wants to. Once it's all the way down, then clamp the gunnels at the inboard end of the form. You could get fancy and fasten ears to the form and have holes thru the ears and put dowels through as you bend it down. I wish I had a photo but I can't find any.

For a flat sheer, I fasten at the middle and work my way out to the ends, steaming as I go. I use flexible, collapsble sewer hose from the camping section of the big box store. I boil the water and direct the steam into the end. the sewer hose is like an accordian and is slid back out of the way as I work my way from middle to end. Of course you have to do it four times.

It's probably alot easier to see it than to decifer my written instructions. Ash is cheap so don't fret if you break the first try.
Thank you Dave Wermuth: Your response was appreciated and gave me additional insight into the problems of bending outwales. Will soak the ash for several days and boil for as long as needed. I will also try the 'double' form you suggested. In a previous try the outwales twisted on my form and my attempt failed.

Are the outwales completely finished---by that I mean have they been sized, rabbeted and radiused ready for final installation when you steam them?

yes, all finished except sanding/varnishing. If the radius is steep and the rails want to twist, try using ears along the sides of the form and put dowels thru to hold things down. Wedges go under the dowels to make things tight. I've got a video of the process but can't figure out how to add. I may be able to attach to your email?
Dave Wermuth---thanks again. As I was redoing my bending form I thought of the twist problem and have added ears or wings to the form--hopefully to stop any twisting that may occur. I have also decided to do only two (there are four pieces--need to be scarfed) at a time since time is of no consequence. My rebuilt form now has 4 places for dowells with wedges. The outwales are now soaking and will let them soak until at least Friday and at that time start the boiling process. Will be glad when and if this outwale busines is completed.
I would be interested to view Dave Wermuth's video or film showing the outwale installation.
Dakin1020, it would be great if you could post a few pictures of the form and in procees pictures as you proceed. I think many of us have questions about this process and possible a few pictures would help. Thanks, Macky
Allright Dave. The video shows exactly what you said. The video makes it easy to understand. Thanks, Macky
Dave Wermujth: Thank you for the videos---Informative and to the point. The outwales are soaking and will begin the boiling process in a day or so. Form to be used is similar in construction to that you used for bending the stems.
Back to the Drawing Board!!

My last attempt to bend the outwales to the stem on the Old Town 16' has ended with me be no more successful than the last attempt. However, I can say that I am learning--not fast but painfully slow.

The boiling went off in good order and after an hour + the outwales were ready to go. Put them in the form and started my bending process. Almost immediately they started to twist. I'm trying to bend two at a time in a double form. I thought I had prepared for this event by making blocks that would fit the vacated rabbeted area of both outwales. However, this did not take the twist out and finally gave up for the day. Tomorrow is another day and I'm sure I'lll be giving some thought of a better way sometime between now and tomorrow.

I believe the white ash was ready to be bent but the twist won out today!
My last attempt at bending the outwales has ended without success. The wood was ready and available to be bent but the twisting caused the failure. I thought I had made accommodations for the event of twisting with wood plugs for the vacated rabbeted area but they bent anyway.

Tomorrow is another day and between now and then---my mind will be working to come up with a solution.

Any advice for someone who has the patience but not the knowhow!!