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Thread: Micmac plan modifications

  1. #1

    Default Micmac plan modifications

    I want to start out saying I'm a first time builder and for me to think I can build a better canoe with modifications would be foolish. I'm building the 17' x 34" from David Hazens plans and what I have run into is, I first had to raise the entire stem a 1/2" on the strongback to get it to fair with the bottoms of the forms that were placed as directed. That seems to be a good adjustment as everything looks good from that stand point. Next modification is with the sheer line. When I placed a strip along the sheer to see how it would look, It had a sharp hook downward from the end forms to the stem and overall looked to have too much of a banana shape. If the stem had not been moved upward on the strongback the hook would have been worse. My thought on this is that the plans are for a 15' through 18' canoes, the shorter the canoe the more banana shape It will have. Raising my temparary strip along the sheer 1" on the stems leaving a 17" sheer height matches the bottoms of the forms and makes a better looking sheer line to me. If this approach of flatening the sheer seems doable, would It be better to raise the sheer line at the stems to 17" or keep the sheer at the stems the same at 18" and raise the midship to 13" instead of 12".

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    Default Re: Micmac plan modifications

    Hopefully Todd Bradshaw will chime in here. He's built a few versions of this canoe.

    Usually, the stem forms have an allowance for the intended thickness of an inner stem, so moving it vertically by 1/2" will eliminate that allowance. This is not a problem if you plan to build a stem-less version of the boat similar to the methods used by Gil Gilpatrick. You will need to make a corresponding adjustment for the change to the sheer made by moving the stem forms. Moving it "up" from the strongback should flatten the sheer a bit at the ends.

    IIRC, Hazen calls for removing center forms of the boat to shorten it where the run of the sheer is flatter in the middle of the canoe, so it should have minimal effect on the sheer at the ends. I would suggest that you check your spacing of the forms if it isn't a fair curve. Also, look to see if the stem curve is longer than the desired position of the sheer on the stem forms - sometimes the curve is continued beyond the point of the sheer for use in laminating or steaming stems - I don't have my copy of the Hazen book and plans handy at the moment, so I can't comment.

    Don't forget that raising the sheer will likely cause you to raise the position of your seating and may make for a more unstable boat, or one in which you are "reaching" more over the gunwales as you paddle.
    "Anyone who says they like portaging is either a liar or crazy."
    - Bill Mason


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Victoria BC, Canada
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    285

    Default Re: Micmac plan modifications

    I built a 16 x 34 Micmac from Hazen's book 25 years ago. My building partner and I had never built a canoe before but we set up the building form/moulds as instructed, then spent some time making sure everything was fair, laying strips all over and adjusting as needed. Don't be concerned if your form isn't exactly to the measurements in the book, making it all fair is more important. When we started building, we also found the #1 moulds were a bit narrow so shimmed them out to keep the strips fair.

    When it was time to draw the sheer, we marked the end heights and the midship height, then used a batten (it might have been nice straight strip) and eyeballed the sheerline, standing well back for a good view. Once we liked what we saw, we drew it in then measured from the centre of the bottom to make the other side the same.

    We didn't consider these modifications, just adjustments to ensure fairness. I don't know if the patterns were slightly out or if we erred in cutting them but either way it all came together in a nice canoe that I still get compliments on when we take it out.

    Cheers,

    Jamie

  4. #4

    Default Re: Micmac plan modifications

    I am using stems on this boat even though the plans don't call for them. I cut the original outline for the stem forms then cut 3/4" out where the stems would be placed and mounted my Inner stems, bringing the stem form back to the original size. I read Gilpatricks book and If I recall correctly he bevels the stem forms to get the strips to meet at the point of the forms. Yes Hazens plans do show the stem form line extending beyond the center line for the bottom and stopping short of the center line for the top. Confusing for me why It was drawn that way. Point well taken on raising the sheer midship.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
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    Madison Wisconsin
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    Default Re: Micmac plan modifications

    I assume that the reason you had to raise the stems is because the plan shows a stem form (which you build the stem over) rather than the stem itself, which would come out the wrong size if you built your stems the same size as the form. Why you are adding stems to a boat which clearly doesn't need or benefit from them is another question. In Hazen's stripping method there is no sheer strip. The side strips are pretty much level (we used to kick them up slightly toward the ends to combat an optical illusion caused by the sheer line that can make perfectly straight side or accent strips look like they sag downward at their ends). There should be no reason to raise the sheer line anywhere. As for the seats, the standard Micmac seats have always been mounted to the hull sides, not hung from the gunwales. This is because the hull is substantially deeper than most in the area where the paddlers sit. This is one of the things that gives those designs such a dry ride in big waves . In order to hang the seats from the gunwale, you would have to use awfully long bolts and spacers, which tend to swing, feel rather flimsy in use, and could possibly split the gunwales.

    You are certainly free to do whatever you want to the design, it's your boat. However, in my personal opinion after paddling, building and selling a lot of canoes over a lot of years, the 17x34 and 18x36 Micmacs are about as close as one can come to the "perfect" all-round canoe. I would be very careful about fooling around blindly with the design - especially if you've never built a canoe before. The chances of actually coming up with one that works better are extremely poor at best.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Micmac plan modifications

    My plan Is to start the strips level then fill in the bow and stern areas. I just clamped a strip along the bottom of the molds to see what the sheer would look like. I'm probably just sweating the small stuff too much. When I mark and trim the sheer line as Jamie suggested, It really won't matter if the bottom of each mold is flush with the trimmed sheer.

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Micmac plan modifications

    Quote Originally Posted by steve stanfill View Post
    My plan Is to start the strips level then fill in the bow and stern areas. I just clamped a strip along the bottom of the molds to see what the sheer would look like. I'm probably just sweating the small stuff too much. When I mark and trim the sheer line as Jamie suggested, It really won't matter if the bottom of each mold is flush with the trimmed sheer.
    Be very careful - I wouldn't do that. You don't want to start with the strips perfectly level - on longer canoes it can give tho appearance that the boat is hogged - an optical illusion. If you bend the strips up towards the sheer at the ends by just a little bit (and I think you'll find they conform the the forms better...) you can avoid this.
    "Anyone who says they like portaging is either a liar or crazy."
    - Bill Mason


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
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    Madison Wisconsin
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    Default Re: Micmac plan modifications

    Stare at this first photo for a few seconds and watch the lower line sag at the ends as your eye tries to average the two.


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    These are the same two lines and the lower one is perfectly straight. Out on the water, your strips will look like they sag toward their ends, just as they did in the upper drawing. As Canoez said, this is not something you want to get wrong because it will bug you forever. You generally need to raise the ends of the mid-side strips by 1"-2" on a canoe that size for them to hold their own visually against that sheer line curve and look "level" - even though they really are not.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Victoria, BC., Canada
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    153

    Default Re: Micmac plan modifications

    I'm not the expert that Todd and canoez are with the strip method having only built a couple but I strongly agree that it's not a good idea, visually speaking, to start with the strips level. There's a couple of the Hazen Micmacs in my neighbourhood (his book was quite popular here a while back) and both were made with level strips and they do look hogged.

    A trick I used when I made my Bear Mountain design (suggestion from my pro boat builder friend) was to tack a long strip at the center form on the sheer and let the ends hang loose. I let it sit for a few days (I don't think you'd have to leave it that long, it just worked out that way in my case) and then chose which end I found the most pleasing and that was the line I used for my striping. Gravity made a nice smooth curve that got away from any hogging look but not too much so the banana look wasn't there either.

    But that's only my opinion and as Todd says, it's you boat..
    "Take good care of the earth, for it was not given to you by your Grandfathers but loaned to you by your Grandchildren."

    Native American Saying.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Micmac plan modifications

    Thanks for the tips on starting the strips, I've never read that in a book. The Illustration with the two lines really proves the point Todd, I'll be sure to use an upward curve. I was actually going to set up my transit in the garage and start them gun sight straight.

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