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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

Wednesday 16 February 2011

I wish that I could claim the work done on this old 'cello as income! It would make my bank account happier. While this repair is saving my wife well over $1000 in repair bills, I'm not "earning" any money off of it and other work is not getting done, either. This is not a complaint, but a reality of work. Oh, well...

Anyway, in preparation to gluing the top, often referred to as the "table", back onto the rims, I needed clamps. Lots of clamps. And not just any old pipe clamp but what are called "spool clamps" which keep the pressure right over the rim so that you don't damage the top or the back of the instrument.

So I had to make these. Normally the plates are circles, but I made crescents so that the clamping pressure wold be over a wider area. This was a simple matter of saving some money, have you ever priced out 8" long 1/4" bolts?! I did, so I bought threaded rod instead and cut it into 8" sections. Even so, I would have had to make twice as many clamps if I used circles for pads.

Took me well over a full day to make all of the parts and to assemble these clamps. I can see why some people just buy them.

Cork lining on the faces in order to protect the old finish.

The old glue is scraped clean off of the rims. Over the years previous repairs have just added new glue to old till the glue bond was 1mm thick! One of the consequences of that build up is that the gluing surface area would keep getting smaller and smaller. When I took the top off it was apparent that not a whole lot of glue was keeping this thing together!

Traditionally, hot hide glue is used as it is reversible. This means that repair work done in the future is possible without destroying the woodwork, and that's important when the instrument will survive for hundreds of years!

The downfall of hot hide glue is that you have a very short working time before it starts to gel, maybe one minute if you are lucky! With such a long glue bead to apply, all the way around the rim of the 'cello, I didn't have much time to apply the glue and then to correctly position and clamp the top, so I decided to use fish glue. Fish glue is much the same as hide glue but has a much longer working time. The slower set up and drying time means that clamping time is longer, too, but so what? You just arrange your schedule accordingly.

All glued, and clamped, and enhancing the scenery of the canoe shop.

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