Building the Lazy Weekend Canoe
March 23, 2013
When last we
left the Lazy Weekend Canoe, the sides were on, the chines and
gunnel were on, and the frames and thwarts were in. Time to finish
On the way to Toledo, I saw this: A truckload of MONSTROUS slabs
of timber, each at least 6" thick and 30' long, some maybe
3' wide. From what I could tell, it look pretty clear. Man, I could
make dozens of canoes from just one of those.
At the Boathouse, the first thing I did was take a chisel to the
toothpicks that had been glued into the screw holes of the butt
joints. A smarter man would have turned the chisel over so he wouldn't
gouge the wood.
Bottoms Up. I really do like this design - so clean, so easy, so
fast to put together.
We have hand planes and I tried one for a couple pushes - it's
plenty sharp and set correctly, but . . . the power planer flattens
the chines in seconds.
With warmer weather comes visitors. We stopped making sawdust to
talk to this couple who had motored their fishing boat up from Newport
just to have dinner at Pig Feathers.
Visitors gone, it was time to hit the chines with a quick run of
the belt sander. If you push a power planer too quickly, it leaves
little ripples in the wood. You'd think I would have learned to
just go slower with the power planer, but some lessons take a long
time to sink in. The trick here is to get the chine planed flat
so the bottom can be glued/screwed securely.
While I was working on the chines, Curt was making the frames for
the next Lazy Weekend - (12) 13 1/2" side pieces.
(8) of the side pieces need beveled. Each piece needs to be named
so we know where it goes in the boat.
I was trying something new: Using a router to cut the bottom to
shape. In theory, I should be able to tack the bottom piece down
with a few screws, then shave off the excess with the router and
an edging bit. In practice, the bottom shifted under the pressure
and made a real mess of things - we almost lost the entire bottom
piece. Fortunately, the screw-up wasn't that bad and we were able
After the router fiasco, I went back to the old fashioned way:
Tack the bottom pieces down, trace around them, flip 'em over and
use the saber saw to cut just outside the line.
The trick when attaching the bottom is getting the screws far enough
away from the edge you don't hit 'em with the belt sander, yet not
so far as to poke through inside the boat - it gets harder when
there is an overhang. I learned to make these guides when I built
Canoe. A careful observer will have noticed the Lazy Weekend
design draws heavily on the concepts of the 6-Hour Canoe.
The bottom is in 3 pieces, each butt-jointed to the other. I learned
this while building a Bolger
Teal. I picked up on using external from building boats designed
by Jim Michalak. All the
mistakes in the design are mine.
You cut the butt-plates after the bottom is attached. I like to
use a bevel gage to get the angle of the side, but you can just
as easily do measurements.
And then you glue and screw everything down. And that was enough
for the evening. It was off to Pig
Feathers for a beer,
Saturday started out very nicely - we had some visitors down from
Estacada. They had read about us in Via
Magazine and wanted to see the slough. They had a really nice
Hobie sit-on-top powered by a Mirage
drive. That's some cool technology right there.
Curt shaved off the toothpicks while I used the power planer to
true up the edged of the bottom.
After the power planer, a couple minutes with the belt sander got
things nice and smooth.
The final step was attaching the keel. Snap a line down the center
on the outside, drill some pilot holes, get a partner to hold the
keel in place and use some 3/4" stainless screws to hold it
The seats were dead simple. We made 'em 12" wide just to accommodate
a wide variety of people. It's all over but the painting for this