Miscellaneous Tips by John Lindman

Right now I am wrapping up a 17.5 ft Ojibway Old Style War canoe. This is similar to the Algonquin Old Style but the prow sweeps back whereas the Algonquin tends to be more straight up and down. It has the fancy prow lashings, etc. The ribs are soaking and should be bent tomorrow or the next day. In doing it I have thought of a couple of things you might find helpful.

When you build it is nice to follow a list of steps. It is so easy, even if you know what you are doing, to space-out or get distracted. If you work from a list it is safer.

The other thing is in making a large canoe that may have a 40 inch beam it may be tough to get bark that is 44 inches wide. You should always have your frame about 4 inches narrower than the width of your bark. Let's say you have bark that is only 32 inches wide. Make your frame 28 inches wide. Sew in your side panels. Assemble your gunwales with temporary thwarts that give you a beam of about 36 inches or so. Your stakes will flare out. Make sure every- thing is symetrical. I use a string running down the middle of the canoe staked out at each end. I also place a center mark on my temporary twarts so that the string lines up with these center lines. With my sides flared out I lash the gunwales. Then I install the permanent thwarts and only have to press out the gunwales a bit on each side to give me the 40 inch beam. When installing the ribs it usually bellies-out the bottom about 4 inches. You lose some of that when you flare the sides. If you want a canoe about 13 inches deep and you use this method then plan on getting one to 2 inches instead of 4 to your depth. The reason I say this is because your height measuring sticks need to be adjusted accordingly. It's easier to show than it is to explain.

If I can help you in any way let me know.

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