JK’s Central Florida Canoe Build- Chapter 2- Glueing, Sanding, Searching

Brian Schultz recommends using Gorilla Glue to laminate the gunwales together. In my naivete, I bought Gorilla Wood Glue while purchasing supplies, way back last year. Not the same stuff. I watched the lamination video again before starting my laminating, and realized that, unlike Tom Wolff, I had The Wrong Stuff. Another trip to the hardware store ensued. And hey! Buy a couple more clamps while you’re at it!

In Chapter 1, I admitted to not being a woodworker. Many of the tools needed for this project were off my radar. One of them was a device called a “plunge router.” Brian showed what it was in his video. Now I have to buy one. No used ones on Craigslist. I read lots of reviews, and am going with the Chicago Electric. Yes, I know it’s probably a POS. I’m not buying a $500 router to build a single canoe, sor-ree. Hopefully it will make the 50 holes I need.

Another device was a wallpaper steamer. This was actually hard to find, and I’m not talking Craigslist here. Neither Ace Hardware nor Home Depot had one unless purchased online. No, I don’t want it next week. I’m an American, of course I want it now. The local Lowe’s had one, I hope to pick it up tomorrow. The ribs are already cut. I want to get them bent and into the boat as quickly as possible.

A zillion clamps…

Armed with a flat board, a zillion clamps of various configurations, three blocks, 24 ounces of the real Gorilla Glue, and the very important surgical gloves, I watched Brian’s video one more time, then commenced to gunwale glueing. The process went as close to Brian’s video as a goober who’d never done this could do. The spring clamps were hard to put on- these 70-year-old hands kept needed rests, kept cramping up. Aging is an adventure unlike any other.

I probably used too much glue, ’cause a lot of chisel scraping was needed afterwards to remove the excess. I left the clamps on overnight.

While the glue cured, I sanded my stringers, something I started yesterday. Brian recommends rounding the stringers with a tool called a “Slickplane.” I almost bought one. Then I figured I would just sand them down. I already owned a sander.

This project started with 100 grit sandpaper. The first stringer took about 40 minutes. The switch was then quickly made to 60 grit sandpaper. The remaining stringers took 15-20 minutes each. If I intended to build more canoes, I would certainly buy the Slickplane. As it is, the stringers are sanded, with round edges, and that task is completed.

It was a lovely day to be outside!

Friday, I visited my friend Mike Conneen, the table saw guy, to cut my gunwales. He does such amazing work- I’m lucky to have a friend like him. The gunwales came out beautifully. I picked up the router and the steamer on the way home. With any luck I’ll have a mostly framed canoe by Tuesday morning.


View posts by John
born cambridge massachusetts planet earth 1952 graduated medford high school 1970 drafted 1972, two fabulous years in the us army bachelor of science university of massachusetts 1980 married susan surprise 1980 moved to florida 1984 son maxx showed up 1988 son alex showed up 1990 first book (fishing the everglades) published 1993 lifelong paddler life keeps rolling along

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