Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Project "X": Building Blake's Pirogue Part IV

© 2009-2011 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
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Building a Homemade Pirogue
Part IV: Cutting, Building, and Installing the Ribs.

Making a pirogue without plans isn't very difficult at all. Not knowing what you are doing though, makes it more interesting.

I know its been a while since I talked about Project "X." But between Christmas, New Years, the Shot Show, Grandma's bad back, taking Charlie out for walks, and all that other stuff, I haven't gotten back to it.

So today I finally got a chance to hit the old garage and pick up where I left off. Back to building a pirogue!

I cut all the rib sections to size. They are actually about 3/4 of an inch shorter than the sides. When we add the rub rails they will sit on top of the ribs and cover the raw plywood edge... I hope.

Then I cut the laps in with my dado blade.

You don't have to be precise. But try to do the same thing to both sides. So if you cut your ribs at 15 degrees on the right, do the same on the left.

Cutting the laps for the ribs.
I had to remove the blade insert in order to use the dado blade. I should have made a zero clearance cross cut sled for this.

But even if you're off, a quick trip through the table saw later on, will square it away.

The middle rib has to be set right. It determines the width of the boat, and the flare of the hull. Make sure it is square to the top and bottom, and that the left hand side is the same distance from the front as the right. In other words make sure it is square to the centerline of the boat! I clamped it all together and then screwed it in place. The mid rib is actually square to the hull so it doesn't have to be beveled like the other ones.

Back to the other ribs. Since this is my first pirogue, I'm figuring out some things that I didn't realize. One of them is that you can adjust and modify the ribs with the saw to tweak them in place. At first I was trying to be real accurate adjusting here, tweaking there, and measuring angles left and right. Don't bother! Make sure that whatever angle you choose, you use it on both sides. Cut both sides equally and then rip the bevel in later.

I had to remove the blade insert in order to use the dado blade. I should have made a zero clearance cross cut sled for this.

Well, after the dados are cut, glue them together, and then clamp them. Make sure you use sufficient glue, you don't want a starved joint. I'm using Titebond II, it has a long setting time, and it's waterproof.

They'll dry overnight, and then its time to tweak 'em, and put them in!

Since I was a little off here and there, the first thing I did was trim the bottom. In most cases it was less than a blade width.

I had to remove the blade insert in order to use the dado blade. I should have made a zero clearance cross cut sled for this.

I put it in place and eyeballed the gap. The hull obviously narrows fore and aft, so the ribs need to do the same. If you don't trim them, the hull won't be as smooth or fair. Not really critical but aesthetically pleasing.

There is a fifteen degree bevel cut on this particular rib.

Among the things to be careful with:

  • Square the bottom of the ribs. This is probably the most important thing. If you do nothing else, do this.
  • Make sure the bottom of the rib is flush with the bottom of the hull before you glue and screw.
  • Countersink your screws before putting them in. This way you won't tear up the hull or split the ribs.

What I did was to use a square to make sure I was putting the ribs in perfectly square to the hull. Then I clamped it in place and screwed it in place after countersinking the holes. Then I repeated it on the other side, making sure I was square to the centerline of the boat.

Now I know this sounds lame, but I wanted to make sure everything was in fact square. I went back to the other side undid it, and then glued it , and rescrewed it in place.

I put the rest of them on using the same routine.

We still have to attach the chines, cut out the bottom and attach it.

When I'm done with building the pirogue, I will be redoing the whole project. My thought is to make a better tutorial than this disconnected series of posts. Hopefully I'll have some lessons learned areas that will help anyone trying to build a pirogue have an easier time of it.

Making a homemade pirogue is well within the capabilities of anyone with a modest set of tools. I would recommend it as a great family project, or an older kids project. The materials don't need to be top of the line, and a good bit of it can be scrounged up.

Follow the rest of the Pirogue building series!

Building a Pirogue Part I: Getting Started
Building a Pirogue Part II: Butt the Plywood
Building a Pirogue Part III: Measuring Up
Building a Pirogue Part IV: Cutting and Building the Ribs
Building a Pirogue Part V: Attaching the Ribs
Building a Pirogue Part VI: Attaching the Internal Chines
Building a Pirogue Part VII: Attaching the Bottom and Finishing Up

By the way this is my 99th post! Number One Hundred is one I've been working on since the Shot Show! It will be my first interview, and though it isn't outdoor specific, I think everyone will find it interesting and educational!

Best Regards,
Albert A Rasch
Member: Shindand Tent Club
Member: Hunting Sportsmen of the United States HSUS (Let 'em sue me.)
The Hunt Continues...

The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles


The Suburban Bushwacker said...

Really looking forward to your 100th. It is a really special post, a friend and mentor once said to me 'if you want to be a writer, WRITE' and the 100th post really proves that, yes you are a writer.
So glad you've stuck with it - and kept us entertained along the way
Your pal

Anonymous said...

Congrats Albert on #100 coming up. Looking forward to reading your interview.

Albert A Rasch said...

Thanks Fellows!

I really want to use a good piece, rather than my usual nonsense. I think this fits the bill, but I'm waiting on a little more information before I post.


hill said...

Too cool, Albert! Always been fascinated with boatmaking. Got to see some of it in Brazil. Can't wait to see your progress on this. Congrats on 99 posts, and love your new banner!