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Cedar strip stemless finish and bottom reinforcement
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Author:  Traveler [ September 4th, 2019, 11:44 am ]
Post subject:  Cedar strip stemless finish and bottom reinforcement

Hi all. Hoping to get some advice on a couple of questions for my first-time cedar strip build. It's a 15 foot Ashes solo that I plan to use for light tripping (eg 2-3 night outings in Algonquin).

The hull is now finished and ready for fibreglass of the exterior. I am pretty happy with how it has turned out but being my first build and a stemless design I have no feel fot how thick the bow and stern ends should be. For those who have built stemless in the past, what is the optimal thickness for the ends so they are not overly fragile (is e.g. 1/4 inch width enough, before rounding the edges, and assuming 2-3 layers of 6 ounce fibreglass is overlaid afterwards)? Have searched extensively for this information over the past several days and can't find anything useful, either on the internet or in the Gil Gilpatrick and Ted Moores books I have. Have just posed that question to the designer at Ashes as well, so might hear back from him soon but also wanted to try here, as I gather that several of you have done stemless builds.

My second question relates to reinforcing the bottom football. The hull is built with 3/16 strips and while tempting to go with just one layer of 6 ounce cloth to hit my sub-35 pound target, for peace of mind I have decided to add an extra layer inside and outside of the football, and look for weight savings elsewhere (gunnels, seats, thwarts etc). So given this, have people successfully used a lightweight Kevlar or other more exotic fabric (e.g. basalt or carbon innegra) for just the football under the fibreglass to improve collision resistance? It seems like it wouldn't be anymore complicated than fibreglass to lay up, given that it is a pretty flat area of the hull, but are there any significant benefits to be had in terms of durability versus $, or any pitfalls to watch out for? Or would 2 layers of fibreglass in and out (maybe with an outside coating of graphite epoxy to help deal with abrasion) be more than enough for my planned, "medium duty" non-whitewater use?

Have read a lot of posts on this site where people have done some pretty impressive layups for their canoes - hope to start moving in that direction with my next build or two but for now mine is a lot less ambitious than those, and as the window for getting out on the water this year is closing rapidly I am hoping to tap into your knowledge to help move me along. Many thanks and all the best


Author:  Stencil [ September 4th, 2019, 3:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Cedar strip stemless finish and bottom reinforcement

To answer your second question.
Yes two layers of glass is sufficient for your intended use.
If you want to up the impact resistance lay the second layer on the bias
as in at an angle to the first.
Good luck.

Author:  Alan Gage [ September 5th, 2019, 8:42 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Cedar strip stemless finish and bottom reinforcement

A second layer both inside and outside is overkill for your intended purposes. Even one extra layer is probably overkill, even with 3/16" strips, but sometimes you gotta do what makes you happy. Stick with fiberglass. Other composites might be stronger but it doesn't really sound like you need stronger. Other cloths are harder to wet out (it's not as obvious as fiberglass) and can even be heavier in a hand layup since they're usually thicker and can take a lot of resin.

As for stem thickness just do what looks right to you. There are lots of things like that when building strip canoes. It's really hard on the first one because you want someone to tell you how this and that should be. But every build is different and every person prefers something different. After you build a couple you'll realize there's a freedom in this.


Author:  Traveler [ September 6th, 2019, 2:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Cedar strip stemless finish and bottom reinforcement

Thanks for this guys - good advice that I will take, especially the "just do it" point by Alan, which applies to more than just the stem profile in my case. I read these replies late last night, just after I had set up my cloth for a double layer to epoxy this morning. Having slept on it, the first thing I did today was remove the football layer and go with just a single layer of 6 ounce. Just finished the first wetting out a few minutes ago (doing it alone was a bit hectic - hate to say it but I think I prefer sanding instead). Might be a paint job in my future as well - cedar clear coat looks good, but that has never been my priority and I can't say that the mishmash of colours I got from my 16 foot Home Depot planks does a lot for me.

With most of my "wilderness" time to date spent backpacking, I came at this project with light weight as a top priority (along with basic durability of course). And I thought I could get a canoe that meets my needs and goals without having to spend the big bucks for one of those sweet Swift canoes or packboats. So back in mid - July I bought plans for a minimalist canoe big enough for light tripping, cut my 3/16 strips from Home Depot cedar planking, and got started. And then I got distracted by the various, and often very cool, layup options for diy canoes - very easy to get swamped by information overload when researching all this stuff. But I need to remind myself that I won't be running rapids in this particular boat or attemptiing to cross Lake Superior. If and when I get to that point I will just build another one for that purpose.

Anyway, with just 6 ounce cloth and careful selection of options for seats, gunnels, etc I can be in spitting distance of a 30 pound, solo tripper - that will make me feel pretty good.

Thanks again, and all the best.

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