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Thread: Plywood Canoe Concept - Birchbark Style

  1. #36
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    Default Re: Plywood Canoe Concept - Birchbark Style

    I do not see the technique as a worthwhile pursuit until someone knowledgable comes up with video or still photos that show the important parts of the process.
    It appears to be pretty much standard birchbark-style construction, with the plywood substituting for the bark and the additions of some goo in tubes for calking and gloss varnish. A building bed is made and the sheets of bark (or whatever) are gored as needed and sewn together as they are bent and made into the shell. His gore pattern isn't exactly typical of most birchbark goring, but it's pretty close. Then the gunwale structure is made and lashed to the sheer line. Ribs are temporarily bent into shape using the hull as a form and then removed. Planking is laid into the hull (not attached) and the ribs are tapped into position. Their ends wedge under the gunwales, forcing them against the sides of the boat and pinning the planking in place as they are tapped toward the ends of the canoe. It's pretty much the same way it's been done for a long time, but with a different skin material.

    The varnished inside struck me as a bit strange though. Seeping varnish makes pretty good glue. One of the neat things about birchbark construction was that the ribs could be tapped out toward the hull's middle to temporarily remove them for access to replace split planks, broken ribs or if needed, for bark repairs. Then everything was stuck back together the same way it was originally assembled. Once you slather the inside with varnish and semi-glue the pieces together on these boats, you have pretty much lost the repair option. If it needs an interior finish, I'd rather see the pieces finished with something like Deks Olje #1 which would still allow disassembly. The satin oiled finish might also look more appropriate for the building style of the canoe. I don't think there is anything particularly revolutionary or mysterious about the technique used. It's just a clever adaptation to a modern skin material and some very nice workmanship.

    There were also some early wood/canvas canoes built where basically all they did was to substitute canvas as the skin using standard birchbark building methods.

  2. #37
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    Default Re: Plywood Canoe Concept - Birchbark Style

    Quote Originally Posted by trent hink View Post
    What is your point? Sears made a nice aluminum canoe back in the 80's and they didn't need to cut darts into it to make it. Grumman too.
    Aluminium is MALEABLE. Plywood is RIGID. Gruman was a big time airplne producer in WWII. When they went into liesure products like canoes they knew everything there was to know about shaping large panels of thin aluminium stock.

  3. #38
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    Default Re: Plywood Canoe Concept - Birchbark Style

    The problem with any aluminum that would come in at a decent weight is going to be hull stiffness. The hefty keel extrusion and cross ribs in a Grumman or similar aluminum canoe are critical structure to keep the bottom down and survive average use. Even so, when used in rocky rivers they will sometimes get a "broken back" where the bottom hogs up and will no longer stay down. It would seem counter productive to build the hull this way from aluminum and then have to rivet a whole bunch of framework inside, just to keep it in shape.

  4. #39
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    Default Re: Plywood Canoe Concept - Birchbark Style

    Here we go.. Making the butt joint now. Will make scarf joint tomorrow.

    But to attach an image in this forum is proving more difficult than the canoe build itself. I'll post some other day, epoxy is curing.

  5. #40
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    Default Re: Plywood Canoe Concept - Birchbark Style

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?f...type=3&theater Finished boat according to (more or less) Flo-Mo design. 4 gores instead of 5, slightly more back-curved stems.

  6. #41
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    Default Re: Plywood Canoe Concept - Birchbark Style

    Very nice!

    Nick

  7. #42
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    Default Re: Plywood Canoe Concept - Birchbark Style

    Very nice!


  8. #43
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    Default Re: Plywood Canoe Concept - Birchbark Style

    Looks like a great way to make a nice canoe!
    Very nice!

  9. #44
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    Default Re: Plywood Canoe Concept - Birchbark Style

    That came out beautifully. What does she weigh?
    -Dave

  10. #45
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    Default Re: Plywood Canoe Concept - Birchbark Style

    Prosim! Since you are the first and only successful builder of this design how about some details? How thick is the plywood? How did you bend it without breakage? Is there any internal structure like ribs? ( I can't view your pictures because my computer won't reproduce that format.) Is it glassed and how much does it weigh? Your paddling technique is better than most of the canoeists I've seen in America.

  11. #46
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    Default Re: Plywood Canoe Concept - Birchbark Style

    I only now discovered this thread. The first canoe shown caught my eye because it's a very similar shape to my old canoe which is a lovely shape but roughly made from fibreglass and very heavy. I have been considering taking lines from it and building a lightweight strip planked version, but this folded plywood process would certainly get me a finished canoe much faster.
    I also eagerly await an answer to the question of finished weight. :-)

  12. #47

    Thumbs up Re: Plywood Canoe Concept - Birchbark Style

    Quote Originally Posted by Aljosa View Post
    Finished boat according to (more or less) Flo-Mo design. 4 gores instead of 5, slightly more back-curved stems.
    This is certainly one of the best looking plywood canoes i've ever seen. Very interesting construction method. Congratulations!

  13. #48
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    Default Re: Plywood Canoe Concept - Birchbark Style

    Aljosa, congratulations on your two canoes -- both turned out really nice.









    I admire you for your no-nonsense attitude. In a so little time you managed to finish two lovely canoes while I am still struggling to finish the build of my solo canoe.
    Last edited by flo-mo; 10-27-2018 at 08:31 AM.

  14. #49
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    Default Re: Plywood Canoe Concept - Birchbark Style

    Aljosa -- Wow!
    Await dreams, loves, life; | There is always tomorrow. | Until there is not.

    Grieving love unsaid. | Tomorrow will fail someday. | Tell them today, OK?

  15. #50
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    Default Re: Plywood Canoe Concept - Birchbark Style

    Thank you all for the compliments! Some answers: solo boat weighs 17g and tandem one 24 kg. No ribs. Secret lies in using flexoply - plywood that is elastic in one direction and stiff in the perpendicular one. Hull is glassed on the outside - I used 160g/m2 cloth. Flo-Mo, you are living only a few hrs drive from me - I think we need to meet!
    Last edited by Aljosa; 11-20-2014 at 10:54 AM.

  16. #51
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    Default Re: Plywood Canoe Concept - Birchbark Style

    I've been following along on these canoes and I'm really impressed. Which direction should the plywood flex? I'm assuming the panel should roll like a cigar (along the longer side). I found some flexible ply in the U.S. at boulter ply. I might have to make one of these the next time I order from them.

    http://www.boulterplywood.com/FlexiblePlywood_4.htm

  17. #52
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    Default Re: Plywood Canoe Concept - Birchbark Style

    Quote Originally Posted by BenH View Post
    I've been following along on these canoes and I'm really impressed. Which direction should the plywood flex? I'm assuming the panel should roll like a cigar (along the longer side). I found some flexible ply in the U.S. at boulter ply. I might have to make one of these the next time I order from them.

    http://www.boulterplywood.com/FlexiblePlywood_4.htm
    Your assumption is correct.

  18. #53
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    Default Re: Plywood Canoe Concept - Birchbark Style

    Flo mo, can you give me a little insight on how you go about designing these? Do you just make paper models and then scale up to plywood or do you somehow model it on the computer first and then go to a model? I'm curios to know if it's trial and error or if you have some mathematical way to predict the 3D shape when you lay out the cut lines. I tend to build models in the winter when I can't build in the shop, and this seems like just the thing to keep me busy all winter.

  19. #54
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    Default Re: Plywood Canoe Concept - Birchbark Style

    Quote Originally Posted by Aljosa View Post
    Flo-Mo, you are living only a few hrs drive from me - I think we need to meet!
    Aljosa,
    it would be nice to meet you should you ever plan to visit Vienna.

    Or maybe you would like to attend the AOC ( Austrian Open Canoe) meeting next year (14.05. - 17. 05. 2015) in Carinthia at "Faakersee" near Villach. I will be there along with a lot of canoe enthusiasts from Austria and Germany. Here you can see pictures of this year's event: http://www.canadierforum.de/t8385f7-AOC-Treffen-3.html.
    I am pretty sure this nice couple with their "Frame Canoes" built by Hans-Georg Wagner will also be there:




    Quote Originally Posted by BenH View Post
    Flo mo, can you give me a little insight on how you go about designing these? Do you just make paper models and then scale up to plywood or do you somehow model it on the computer first and then go to a model? I'm curios to know if it's trial and error or if you have some mathematical way to predict the 3D shape when you lay out the cut lines. I tend to build models in the winter when I can't build in the shop, and this seems like just the thing to keep me busy all winter.
    Ben,
    it is simply trial and error. Although there is computer work involved, it is only because I am more comfortable using a CAD program than drawing the old fashioned way. I was lucky because the first two simple paper models I made showed me I took the right path. A couple of iterations led to the final design. I will see if I can find the old paper models and maybe post a photo to show the design evolution.
    Last edited by flo-mo; 12-01-2014 at 06:37 AM.

  20. #55
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    Default Re: Plywood Canoe Concept - Birchbark Style

    Took me four paper models until I decided to make a 1:10 scale plywood model. Then a second plywood model until I felt confident enough to go full scale (there is another paper model to the fare left, the Gorewood Fast Rowboat which has an evolution of its own).




  21. #56
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    Default Re: Plywood Canoe Concept - Birchbark Style

    Do you have any construction pictures of this method I'm really keen to try but not sure I have the skill to do it.

    dave

  22. #57
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    Default Re: Plywood Canoe Concept - Birchbark Style

    Flo-mo has another thread about these canoes here:

    http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...irchbark-canoe

  23. #58
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    Default Re: Plywood Canoe Concept - Birchbark Style

    Quote Originally Posted by bbdave View Post
    Do you have any construction pictures of this method I'm really keen to try but not sure I have the skill to do it.dave
    I haven't seen enough to make a difference. So far there seems to be only a few individuals who have built a boat using this technique and I don't think any two are the same. For certain none of them have released enough details for a neophyte to attempt a build. A canoe hull made of 3mm plywood doesn't have much redundant strength and the methods used to give the hull a modicum of stiffness for even light duty seem to diverge. For someone experienced with the time to puzzle it out it could be an interesting challenge.

  24. #59
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    Default Re: Plywood Canoe Concept - Birchbark Style

    Last weekend Aljosa and I finally met in person at the Austrian Open Canoe Meeting at Faaker See.

    Aljosa came with his latest build which he had finished one day before he arrived, the third or forth canoe built within one year. No wonder he is called "The Fast One". After all I managed to bring my build to a stage where it was ready to hit the water although some finishing touches are still necessary. So we were able to compare and discuss our accomplishments and paddle side by side, exchange our boats and impressions.

    People really were interested in our boats -- they even asked us to have a little talk about the concept and the build of our canoes. Some of the paddling experts were eager to do a trial run and pleasingly the boats were judged as good.











    Last edited by flo-mo; 05-21-2015 at 06:03 AM.

  25. #60
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    Default Re: Plywood Canoe Concept - Birchbark Style

    Love the lighter coloured one, which design is that? What does it weigh, length, width? My daughter wants me to build her a canoe when I finish mine so looking for my next project.

    Tink

    https://tinkboats.wordpress.com
    http://proasail.blogspot.co.uk
    Last edited by tink; 05-21-2015 at 12:40 PM.

  26. #61
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    Default Re: Plywood Canoe Concept - Birchbark Style

    Hi Tink,

    it's my Gorewood 14' Solo Canoe (14' 1" x 29-1/8"). Weight is exactly 30 lbs which was one of my declared design goals.

    This was only possible to achieve because I tried to save weight wherever I could (hull made of 3 mm poplar plywood which is lighter than okoume though I do not recommend to use it, 3 oz. glass for sheathing the hull, careful use of epoxy, inner gunwales partly made of paulownia, seat and thwarts made of spruce).

    More information about the build: http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...42#post4547642
    Last edited by flo-mo; 01-19-2016 at 07:30 AM.

  27. #62
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    Default Re: Plywood Canoe Concept - Birchbark Style

    This has to be said. The white boat and the green boat trim properly and appear to have the correct amount of rocker. The brown boat although nicely built has too much rocker and will suffer from difficult handling in any type of adverse wind. The problem is called "lee-helm"and means the wind is trying to steer the boat in directions the paddler may not want to go. Having the front stem elevated also shortens the waterline and makes the boat slower and require more paddling effort.

  28. #63
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    Default Re: Plywood Canoe Concept - Birchbark Style

    This has to be said. Aljosa's canoe, the brown boat has just the right amount of rocker as this is how the design was meant to be. It is a tandem canoe very much like the strip-built prospector you see in this photo with a lot of carrying capacity which will keep it's agility even fully loaded.

    Of course if you paddle solo and have to handle some wind you need to trim accordingly. Without any wind and no need to hurry it is convenient to paddle from the front seat sitting in the opposite direction.



    This is the description of Bear Mountain Boat's Chestnut Prospector 16 and I think the same applies to Aljosa's canoe:
    The Chestnut Canoe Company built this "workhorse of the North" to meet the specific needs of the prospector - good maneuverability through whitewater and wilderness, with capacity to carry substantial loads. The 16' Prospector features a flattened, shallow arch hull with its fullness carried into the bow and stern, good depth amidships to maintain freeboard and deepened ends to keep paddlers and gear dry. The rockered keel-line makes it very maneuverable in whitewater. This was the favoured canoe of the late Bill Mason, Canada's premier paddler..."it is amazing that such a large-volume tripping canoe can also be so beautiful to paddle solo in the leaned position - canoe ballet, as I call it. It is the ideal all-round canoe."
    Last edited by flo-mo; 05-22-2015 at 02:07 PM.

  29. #64
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    Default Re: Plywood Canoe Concept - Birchbark Style

    These boats are so pure in their design and beauty itäs jawdropping. Almost one year ago I did attempt a slight modification of flo-mo's awesome drawings. I have promised flo-mo to tell my story about it here and I will post it in the near future.

  30. #65
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    Default Re: Plywood Canoe Concept - Birchbark Style

    Quote Originally Posted by flo-mo View Post
    This has to be said. Aljosa's canoe, the brown boat has just the right amount of rocker as this is how the design was meant to be. It is a tandem canoe very much like the strip-built prospector you see in this photo with a lot of carrying capacity which will keep it's agility even fully loaded.

    Of course if you paddle solo and have to handle some wind you need to trim accordingly. Without any wind and no need to hurry it is convenient to paddle from the front seat sitting in the opposite direction.



    This is the description of Bear Mountain Boat's Chestnut Prospector 16 and I think the same applies to Aljosa's canoe:
    I just looked at my copy of the Chestnut Prospector plans and it is indeed heavily rockered. That is becaused it was intendeded to carry heavy loads and needed to be able to maneuever when hull is deep in the water. The fact that it is a historic and prooven design does not exempt it from wind-born difficulties when paddled lightly loaded and trimmed with it's front stem well out of the water.

  31. #66
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    Default Re: Plywood Canoe Concept - Birchbark Style

    On this very day, I had to paddle a few km against heavy wind. As Chuck predicted, with the bow this high, I had some difficulties of course. Then I kneeled in front of the carrying yoke, canoe trimmed bow-heavy (correct trim for upwind paddling) and I came ashore without any problem. The reason why I made a big rocker is that the river that I mostly paddle on has lots of small cascades. When we run them, water often splashes over the gunnels and into the lap of my good lady in the bow. She gets soaked and I get yelled at - something to be avoided

  32. #67
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    Default Re: Plywood Canoe Concept - Birchbark Style

    This just has to be said : the brown boat has what appears to be the perfect amount of rocker for a general purpose boat !
    this is what a boat with a 'fair amount of rocker' looks like (Milbrook boats MJM with me in the saddle)

  33. #68
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    Default Re: Plywood Canoe Concept - Birchbark Style

    Just noticed there is a German company which offers very nice canoes built exactly to the method that is the topic of this thread: Canadian Traditional Craft



    Actually I am almost certain their Guron design (in the background of the photo) is an only slightly modified copy of my Gorewood 14 except for the more traditional approach of the execution.






    I do not blame them for doing so, because by discussing the building method (which BTW is not my invention), providing the cut-pattern for free and elaborately documenting the build of my canoe it was my intention to motivate others to look into it, maybe improve and refine it, which they obviously did.

    I only wish there was a hint where the inspiration and the cut pattern for the plywood came from which would have been nice.
    Last edited by flo-mo; 06-08-2015 at 07:39 AM.

  34. #69
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    Default Re: Plywood Canoe Concept - Birchbark Style

    Ed and I went to the Beale Park Show yesterday, and on the way out we passed a small boat museum, so we popped in. What a treasure chest, 4 sailing canoes from the 1850's and this wonderful Birchbark Canoe.
















    Brian

  35. #70
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    Default Re: Plywood Canoe Concept - Birchbark Style

    and the seventh pic


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