About 30 years ago, I built an 18′ wood strip canoe. At the time, my family was young and I could only work on it intermittently. Over the course of six months, I had faired my mold frames, applied the redwood strips, faired the outside of the hull with a keen eye and applied the fiberglass cloth. Two months later I decided to take it off the mold to fair and fiberglass the inside. To my horror, the exterior hull bottom had a big dimple in the middle when removed from the forms. I immediately knew the cause. The humidity in my garage had skyrocketed since the outside of the hull was finished with fiberglass and epoxy. The unsealed inside of the hull had probably gained 4-5% in moisture content since the outside was fiberglassed. Continue reading →
Cover Photo: WOW, a 20′ Glen-L Riviera built by Mark Bronkalla
In June of 2000, Mark Bronkalla launched his homebuilt Glen-L Riviera. The20′ runabout was nearly complete but not yet named. The boat turned heads wherever Mark took it and the reaction from bystanders was a universal “WOW.” That’s how his beautiful Glen-L Riviera got its name.
Mark had never built a boat before and found lackluster information from first-time boat builders like himself. Websites or blogs with good information tended to end once the structure was built. Mark used his background in woodworking, marketing, and computer science to share his first-time boat-building experience to encourage and help other first-time boat builders. In this article, I’ll give a brief overview of this build where WEST SYSTEM® Epoxy was used. Anyone considering a build similar to this should consult Mark’s website, bronkalla.com, for more detailed descriptions of each step. Continue reading →
Super Fan Builds created this Groot swing set for one of their nominated Super Fans. The structure was made from a steel frame encased in foam and covered with fiberglass and WEST SYSTEM Epoxy. See the full video on Youtube.
I made this Dala horse in the style of the iconic Swedish horse as a Christmas gift for our first grandchild. I shaped the body out of a 3 pounds blue dock foam. I then covered the model with 3 1/2 oz crow-foot fiberglass cloth cut on the bias. I used WEST SYSTEM Epoxy and fairing fillers.
The body of the horse was primed and painted with acrylic water-based paint. The rockers are varnished fir. The horse is very lightweight and strong. When she isn’t riding it, our granddaughter enjoys pushing her horse around the house.
This stand-up paddleboard, commonly called a SUP, was lovingly handcrafted by Joe Pakkala. His attention to detail is impressive in the herringbone inlays and the non-skid foot pads incorporated into the epoxy’s finish. As opposed to traditional adhesive non-skid pads, incorporating the nonskid into the epoxy allows you to have a safe place to stand without covering the beauty of a natural wood finish.
Cover Photo: Modern voyagers traverse the water in a 26′ North Canoe.
Canadian Canoes has been building wood strip epoxy canoes for some 35 years. We’ve produced many thousands of western red cedar canoe strips from clear planks which originated in British Columbia. Eventually, we realized that ripping the strips one at a time then adding on the bead and cove profiles was terribly inefficient. With valuable input from Peter Feindel from Taurus Craco Woodworking Machinery, we used a milling machine to produce consistently accurate canoe strips. What once consumed five hours of monotonous work producing the strips for one canoe now takes about four minutes on the milling Continue reading →
After attending the 2012 Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival, I visited the Northwest School of Wooden Boat Building in Port Hadlock, Washington. School instructor Bruce Blatchley was excited to show off their one-of-a-kind boat project, Sliver. The 62-foot double-ended daysailer was designed by well-known yacht designer Robert Perry and commissioned by Kim Bottles of Bainbridge Island, Washington. The Northwest School students of the 2011 and 2012 contemporary boatbuilding classes worked on the project. For a school that teaches traditional wooden boat building, learning to build a hybrid of wood/composite construction using epoxy was a unique challenge. Continue reading →
Cover Photos: Our special issue on building features practical and simple techniques.
Building a natural finish wood-strip canoe can be exciting and a bit daunting, particularly if it is your first clear finish canoe. You’ll commit time and money to the project and your expectations may run high. Most people are happy with the results of their first strip composite project, but deep down they wish some aspect of it was a bit better. Continue reading →
Cover Photo: Ted Moores ties up SPARKS at the blue line at Kilmarnock Lock n the Rideau Canal.
After three years of painstaking work and many interruptions, Ted Moores of Bear Mountain Boats completed the Bear Mountain 30 Hybrid Electric Launch Sparks on June 22, 2010. The boat is unlike any he had built before.
The Bear Mountain 30 Hybrid Electric Launch is designed for low-speed cruising while using the least amount of fossil fuel possible. It normally runs on batteries charged by solar panels and shore power. When necessary, a diesel generator powers its electric motor and charges its batteries.Continue reading →
This article is Lesson 1 of a series. See bottom of page for links to additional articles in this series.—Ed.
Sparks is a science project. A professional builder working for a client has the responsibility of delivering the boat on time and budget with no surprises so we generally stick to what worked last time. But as a science project, questioning the way things are usually done, pushing the limits of the materials and then taking the responsibility becomes the objective. Because failure is anticipated with any experiment, testing is an important part of the project and has been a whole lot of fun with few surprises, mostly pleasant.