Sunday, December 21, 2008

Project "X" : Building Blake's Pirouge Part II

©2008-2011 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
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It's cluttered, it's cramped, but at least it's my shop!

Well, by now everyone should have run out and bought a few sheets of plywood and said, "Hot dang Albert! Let's get on it!" Now remember, there are no free plans for building a pirogue. You don't need them, it's all by eye, and that is close enough!

When I last left you all we had the plywood cut to size. One side on all of the smaller strips is a factory edge. Stack all of them with the factory edge facing the same way. Take a marker and put a line across the factory edges, this way you will know which side goes down later. Now put them all factory edge down on a flat smooth surface. clamp the ends together. If you have a sharp block plane, take a thin curl off the top to even them up. Lacking a sharp plane get some 120 grit sandpaper and a hard block and run up and down the strips until they're evened up.

In order to join the side strips end to end you need to "scarf them." The ends are cut at a shallow angle so that they overlap by eight times their thickness.

Did you get that?

Right, I think I better show you in pictures.

This might be a better explanation than mine. Here's a link to a pretty good method of scarfing: Scarfing Plywood

Here was my first glitch. Using a 12 inch by 4 foot piece of MDF shelving that I cut down to two feet, I made the jig exactly ninety degrees, thinking I could adjust the shoe of the circular saw to the requisite 8 degrees. Except the blade would tilt into the jig rather than away. So I disassembled it and cut the edges of the MDF at about 10 degrees. Why 10 degrees? Because that is what is marked on the scale and its close enough.

I clamped it together, predrilled the holes, counterbored them and drove the screws in taking care to keep the edges square.

Now for the guide. From the woodcraft area of the big box stores get a quarter inch thick by inch wide and two foot long piece of oak. You will notice the sheet of thin magazine paper I laid between the fully extended blade and the jigs table. This bit of clearance will keep the blade from chewing up your jig. Lay your guide piece up against the circular saw's shoe and carefully secure the guide to the jig.

Glitch # 2: 10 degrees is too much. So I disassembled it again, and cut it at what is aproximately 7.5 degrees. Better.

Now to use the jig.

Warning: You will be using a saw with no guard and a whizzing blade capable of taking your hand off, cutting off your reason for wearing a loincloth, or worse- actually killing you. Don't do this if you are a nervous type, distracted, taking sedatives, have been drinking, or suffer from being a dumbass. Keep your hands away from the blade. And for the love of Pete, wear safety glasses at a minimum.

Line up your strips, they should be about two inches apart, and make sure every other board is inverted. This way at glue up time they match. Make certain they are securely clamped.

Glitch #3: When the saw cut is done, they should NOT look like this:

Bad Scarfing!!!

If I had done it right the feather edge would be very straight and very fragile; take care not to damage it.

I'm not sure what happened. My guess is that because I was not working on a steady platform and had to rig everything up, it just didn't work out
the way it should have. But no fear I have a back-up plan.

Butt It, and Back It!

The joints will be butted up and backed up with another piece of the underlayment. Certainly not as aesthetic as a scarf joint, but it's getting painted inside and out now... again.

The glue up isn't as nerve wracking as the scarfing cuts, but very important none the less. Get yourself a good glue like Tite-Bond (PVA) or Gorrilla Glue (Resorcinal). Have everything ready. Painters tape, wax paper, wire brads and a hammer, rags, wood scraps, and some heavy weights or clamps and a caul. You need to have a good flat surface to work on too.

Line up your pieces. Use a straight edge or any thing that is dead straight. You want to keep it aligned. Spread the glue on the backer piece making sure you have a uniform coating from edge to edge. I used my fingers.Notice the tape. I want to avoid getting much glue on the wood side. The tape will help to keep the glue from smearing on the wood. It also helps keep the strips in place and aligned.

Lessons Learned: By the way, the backer strip only needs to be 2 to 3 inches wide. I did it with six inch pieces and it makes a stiff straight section that doesn't fair well. Also keep in mind that you will be attaching chines and gunwales later on. The strips should butt up to the chines and the gunwales; it will make the installation much neater and stronger.

Tack them together.

The brads will keep the scarfs or in this case the strips and backer from slipping.

The excess glue needs to be cleaned off.

Now either clamp or weigh them down.

Finish the other side, and then get the bottom done. Now we're getting somewhere. It'll take shape soon.

That's as far as I was able to get today. Too many interruptions and mistakes on my part.

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

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

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