Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Tech Tip Tuesday

After the outside of the hull has been fiberglassed, we take the hull off the forms (hopefully it didn't stick anywhere!) and create a cradle to hold the canoe while we work on the inside. I use the forms to create a "female" profile out of plywood that is a bit short so that no plywood bits stick up. We usually pick two patterns that are about a third of the way in from the ends. We then use a piece of foam pipe insulation to cushion the plywood and attach mounting blocks to put these patterns on the strongback. The pieces get slid in from either end until they hold the hull snugly in position. We mark the locations, remove the boat and screw the mounting blocks in place. I'll get a better picture of this simple set-up and post a picture. I prefer this to cradles made with carpet as work isn't happening on a swinging canoe.

Cleaning up the inside of the hull is usually my least favorite part of the building process. If you have done a good job on the hull building and glue clean-up as you build, it usually isn't too difficult. Getting the glue off requires some work 'tho. I used to use a curved cabinet scraper to remove most of the glue until I discovered the tool below:

It's a molding scraper from a company named Pacific Handy Cutter and is called a Pro-Prep Scraper. It works very well and holds an edge for a long, long time. While I don't often recommend specific tools, this is one that I will. It's available from a variety of stores including Hamilton Marine and The WoodenBoat Store. I prefer the scraper blade shown above, but I do modify it just a bit by rounding the sharp corners. This keeps it from gougeing the hull. After this, a bit of sanding with a random orbital sander and some 80 grit paper, finishing up in the ends by hand, and you're ready for more 'glass.

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