THE STITCH & TAPE
For this, we will use one of
our canoes - the Christine - as an example along with some further photos from
A. Having marked and cut out
the plywood panel (plank) shapes sets of planks are planed up together (with the
Christine, the bow and stern are the same shape and therefore there will be 4 of
each shape - bow, stern, port and starboard).
B. Because the panels
(planks) are longer than the standard 8' sheet of plywood, the bow and stern
parts are joined - in this case with a simple glass tape butt strap.
C. The 2 bottom panels are
laid side by side and stitching is started along the
D. The bottom panels are
completely stitched along the centreline and the panels are held apart by using
weights in this case.
E. The next pair of panels
are stitched to the bottom panels - stitches are put in every 8" to
12" and may be scrap copper wire, garden binding wire or nylon cable ties
which are easier on the fingers.
F. The third set of panels
has been stitched into place and the first of the fourth and last set is also in
place - for a canoe, it is better to start stitching from the middle of the boat
and then work towards the ends. The picture to the right shows the Ptarmigan 17
hull stitched together with the forward ply bulkhead in place - note the
internal ply butt straps joining the panel lengths
together, forward of the bulkhead.
G. All the panels have been
stitched and wood battens are in place to brace the gunwales apart and a
temporary hardboard section has been added to get the hull into it's correct
shape - in this example, thickened epoxy has then been put into the chine seams
to "tack weld" the panels together before
taping the inside of the seams.
H. The inside of the chine
and centreline seams is glassed with epoxy resin and allowed to cure - the
inwales have also been fitted. The picture right shows the Ptarmigan 17 with
internal seams epoxied and taped and ply bulkheads in
I. The hull is turned over
and the outside of the seams is glassed and the bottom runners fitted prior to
cleaning up - in many cases the outside glass tape is
J. The finished canoe! - in
this case the materials were mainly household products - exterior ply, deal and
paints and therefore the costs are minimal - in the case of Christine around
This is just a quick over
view of the stitch and tape method - there are many variations - the tools
required are minimal - just domestic DIY tools and many of our stitch and tape
designs have been made by first time builders with no wood working skills.