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Lots of stuff goes on in this shop, located in Lorette, Manitoba.

Primarily it's the building and repair of classic wood & canvas canoes, and the making of premium canoe paddles. I also do custom boat building, composite fabrication, and special projects. A growing passion of mine is the making of classical guitars, I'll post about that, too.

I want to be able to share with my clients the progress of their commissioned work. Later I started thinking that there might be other people who are interested in what goes on inside a wooden canoe shop operated by an artist and a recovering teacher.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me by email, phone, or by post. My mailing address is:

Red River Canoe & Paddle
24249 River Rd
Lorette, Manitoba
R5K 0Z6

Friday 19 December 2008

Here"s the "How-to" of doing a back side rib repair. As I've already got the slots cut, the next step is to prepare the splint material. I used White Cedar as it has the same structural properties as the original rib wood. Its important to prepare them quite thin, maybe 2mm maximum. Thicker than that and the splint will not conform to the rib shape, thinner and it won't have any ability to overcome any distortions that the fractures create in the old rib. 3 splints should be enough for each rib repair.

There are several ribbands held in place behind the ribs. These serve to generate some continuity of shape in the repaired ribs. Once the rib repairs are done and the epoxy cures, the shape is set forever, so we need to ensure that it sets to the correct, fair, shape of the canoe.

Epoxy is used for this repair as it is completely waterproof, strong, and with the proper fillers, has excellent gap filling properties. Its very difficult to achieve perfect joinery in this type of task, so everything that helps is used.

The splints are started to be clamped in place. Also not the stringer clamped in place along the keel line. There was a lot of planking removed for this operation, including the planking along the keel line. With that gone there is no structure left there to keep the canoe shape from distorting; the spaces between each rib can be reduced and made permanent if not attended to.

Some of the broken ribs had multiple fractures, so long repair had to be done.

Clamps! Lots and lots of clamps are needed for this job. The splints don't need to be clamped in super tight, but snug enough to be held in position well. Too often, beginners over clamp epoxy glued joints, squeezing out the epoxy and starving the glue joint.

I only had enough clamps to do half of the rib repairs at one time. So this job had to be done over two days. Its all done now, so the next task is to shape the splints down to the curve of the original rib, and then start putting all the removed planking back. Well done, this repair will be almost as strong as a new rib. I say almost because I haven't had the nerve to stress test the repaired rib!

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