stem curves

Jan Bloom

LOVES Wooden Canoes
Would anyone have a good outline of the stem curves for a 17' OT HW. Both bow and stern have rotted away in the deck area on this boat I recently bought. Probably sat on the ground upside down.

It also is missing most of the outer gunwale and the inner is broken on one side with ends rotted away. The "bad side also no longer hold a proper outline. No surprise there. As it is "symetrical outline" I plan on bending new ones to the one side that is good then just reversing them to use on the other side. Does any one see a problem with that?

A previous owner had replaced some ribbing but some of it does not line up properly with the hull lines. I thought of running some temporary reinforcement on the outside of the hull then I was going to resteam with hot wet towels and push out to get better alighment. Are there any other ideas short of replacing the misbent ribs.
Ran into the same problems with the Guide I'm working on. If it's just the last few inches of the stems just use cardboard, trace the curve below the damage and eyeball a fair curve up past the damaged area. Replace the tips with splices to match the cardboard template. The only pre-bending you need to do on a rail is the upsweep at the tips along the decks. A fair curve along the length of the rail is influenced by the shape of the decks and thwart length/spacing. Make sure you have an accurate pattern for replacement decks and the proper location/length for thwarts and the shape of the hull will be correct once all the parts are in place.
I am going to have to look at that inwale and see if it will fall into line with a "fair curve" when looking down. As it is now it has straightened out quite a bit and I am not sure that it will just pull in place when all is refastened. It looks as thought it was laying on the ground or against something in that area. The outwale needs to be completely replaced as all that is left is about 4 ft. The stems need more than just a few inches replaced but I will try to follow your suggestion in regard to an outline.


J. Bloom
I misunderstood - thought you were talking about replacing a broken inwale. The new outwale might pull it back out. Try clamping a long 1x1 or 1x2, whatever you have that will flex, along it and see if it pulls it back in line. That should give you an indication of what a new outwale will do in regards to the flat spot. If that doesn't work you may have to splice an new section into the inwale where the flat spot is. The link below to my Guide restoration might help - lots of pictures regarding similar issues.

If my HW were only in as good a shape as your Guide was to begin with. Both stems need much longer splices. I was going to trace the rail curve out on a piece of 2x4, clamp that "flat area" up and let it sit. As I have no warm work shop I am going to stabilize everything and hoist it up under the rafters til spring. This will give me time to make a good restoration plan and mill wood. Also get 3 violins done.

On another note I really liked the look of the replacement decks you made. Looks a lot like the lightly figured Cherry which I have too much of.
Good eye - they're out of curly cherry. I left a little extra meat on them for bending and had no problems. Couldn't bring myself to use oak even though that would have been "correct" according to the build sheet! Sounds like you have a good plan. Setting up over the winter should do it and if it doesn't take all of the flatness out the flex of a new outwale in the spring should do the rest.

Violins... wow! My hat's off to you, Jan. I've been considering trying a guitar but have too many other projects going at the moment :)