Strong back & Strip length for Redbird

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Niko03
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat May 23, 2015 1:07 pm
Location: Milwaukee, WI

Strong back & Strip length for Redbird

Post by Niko03 » Sat May 23, 2015 3:04 pm

Hi All,

New "hopeful" builder here. I'm getting ready to pull the trigger on a build after 25yrs of reading and re-reading various tomes on strip building including Canoecraft. I think that's the general process, right? :wink

Anyway I'm trying to get my ducks in a row and was going to get going on the strong back, then order the plans and source the lumber.

1 So what length strongback do people recommend for the Redbird? will 16' work?
2 What length for the strips? Can you do it with 18' strips?

Just out of curiosity has anyone shortened the Redbird slightly, say, down to 17' by moving the stations slightly in? I wouldn't think of doing this unless it's worked with no adverse effects to the shape and performance?

Thanks. - August

edited for spelling

Stephen
Posts: 70
Joined: Fri Apr 18, 2014 12:36 am
Location: Eastern Ontario

Re: Strong back & Strip length for Redbird

Post by Stephen » Sat May 23, 2015 10:41 pm

I'm pretty sure Ted Moores built a Redbird on a 16' strongback in Canoecraft. If you look on page 115 you can see a picture of a Redbird stem mold butted up to station 7, with the very tiny station 8 mounted on the side of the stem mold. Because station 8 is even with the end of the strongback we can be fairly sure the strongback is 16'. A longer strongback would actually get in the way and make shaping your stems more awkward.

I have seen people on the forum who have altered the length as you describe. Opinions vary as to how to do it and whether it is a good idea. Here are a few samples: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=657#p4063 viewtopic.php?f=1&t=216

My read of these suggests that you may need to modify the stem molds or the end stations to get the strips to lie fair.

Is there an issue with boat weight or storage space that makes you want to shorten the boat?

Niko03
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat May 23, 2015 1:07 pm
Location: Milwaukee, WI

Re: Strong back & Strip length for Redbird

Post by Niko03 » Sat May 23, 2015 11:15 pm

Thanks Stephen.

I'm most likely going to build at designed length. A bit shorter would fit my garage building space a bit better. (My wife's car will still use half..my car will live outside for the build) When I built my house I had them add 3ft of depth and 2ft of width to the standard 20x20 garage so I could fit my workbench and table saw in the back and tools and lumber on the sides. Still it will be a bit tight. At 17'6" I'll only have about 8" free space at either end of the canoe and workbench, and garage door. I was thinking of diagonally arranging the strongback. Now I'm thinking of re-arranging my bench along the side it just might work well.

Looking at the pictures in Canoecraft, I kind of thought it was a 16' strongback, with the overhanging stem forms making up the difference to 17'6". But I wasn't sure if the overhang looked quite like the roughly 8" it would need to be.

Any thoughts on the plank lengths, do people use 18ft? Will that reach?

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Jim Dodd
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Location: Iowa

Re: Strong back & Strip length for Redbird

Post by Jim Dodd » Sun May 24, 2015 6:33 am

Welcome to the site Niko !
This site, as well as Ted's book will help a lot along your journey ! And it's a fun journey !

Building a 17'6" canoe, you would need to buy 18' planks to cut your strips from.
I started building in a small space. It's a pain to have to clean up every time you want to put the car back in, but you can do it !

Good Luck !

Jim
Keep your paddle wet and your seat dry!

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Cruiser
Posts: 625
Joined: Sat Apr 27, 2013 10:21 am
Location: Bowmanville, Ontario

Re: Strong back & Strip length for Redbird

Post by Cruiser » Sun May 24, 2015 8:06 am

Welcome Niko,

We just had the strip length discussion, here is the link:

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=4567

Moving your bench to the side will likely be a lot better for the build. Having the shop layout for access to the canoe will save you a lot of sidestepping, squeezing by and be more than worth the bother of moving a few things (IMO). I rearranged my shop for the first boat, then rearranged it again for my second boat, just to get better access.

Brian

Niko03
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat May 23, 2015 1:07 pm
Location: Milwaukee, WI

Re: Strong back & Strip length for Redbird

Post by Niko03 » Sun May 24, 2015 12:42 pm

Thanks Cruiser,

I saw that thread, it seemed like 18ft planks could do the job based on the comments, albeit with probably not much length to spare. I was hoping someone who had built the Redbird would chime in with the length they used, so I could be a bit more confident in purchasing the lumber.

Yes, the more I think about it, the more I think I will pull my bench from the end and set it up on the side, I also have another bench that is currently in my basement with the legs off. Set up next to my garage bench on the side, running the length of the garage, would give good support to working with the strips. It sounds good in theory.. (Now I just need to figure out what to do with the snowblower, lawn mower and, my boys 2 bikes!)

Niko03
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat May 23, 2015 1:07 pm
Location: Milwaukee, WI

Re: Strong back & Strip length for Redbird

Post by Niko03 » Sun May 24, 2015 12:46 pm

Thanks Jim

Once I start, my car won't be able to go back in! That's my incentive to keep going. So I can get my car back in the garage before winter really hits again. Wishful thinking I'm sure.

Stephen
Posts: 70
Joined: Fri Apr 18, 2014 12:36 am
Location: Eastern Ontario

Re: Strong back & Strip length for Redbird

Post by Stephen » Sun May 24, 2015 2:52 pm

Very chivalrous of you, some guys evict their wife's car from the garage. :wink

As for 18' plank length, it would definitely work for a 17' canoe. The usual rule is to add 1' to canoe length. For a 17' 7.5" Redbird, it MIGHT work, I don't know, but there wouldn't be much overhang to speak of. Some strips you install will need a lot of torsion to get them to lie flat, and it's nice to have some overhang so you can do this little twisting trick with a C-clamp: http://www.greenval.com/planking3.jpg Food for thought.

If you think shrinking by 6" would help, but you don't want to modify the plans, how about a different 17' canoe? The Traveler canoe from Newfound Woodworks looks very much like a Redbird. I know nothing about it except what the website says. It's an asymmetric design like a Freedom 17, so you wouldn't be able to solo paddle it by sitting backwards on the front seat. It's also about 2" beamier than a Redbird but otherwise seems very similar.

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Cruiser
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Location: Bowmanville, Ontario

Re: Strong back & Strip length for Redbird

Post by Cruiser » Sun May 24, 2015 7:48 pm

With strip lengths, the first little bit and the end little bit ("little bit" is the technical term) seem to always to get damaged or not quite cut, coved and beaded perfectly, so plan maybe 4" of waste per length of strip, the boat it self will likely need length plus 6" for the actual strip length "on the boat".

So Randy's post for strip length being canoe length plus 1 foot, is pretty close to what you will end up needing, you may be able to go a couple inches less, but it adds to your stress level IMO.

You touched on something that made me remember something I didn't plan on with my first build, it's easily remedied, but easier to plan ahead. That is some sort of strip storage, they really shouldn't just lay around, that is a recipe for damaged strips.

They are delicate and need to be stored and supported until you use them, this is a pic of what I use now (down the left side). I went to a little more work simply because I plan on doing a few more boats.

Image

Brian

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Grumple
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Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia

Re: Strong back & Strip length for Redbird

Post by Grumple » Mon May 25, 2015 12:07 am

Just to add to what Brian said, even being careful, I tended to lose a bit off the end of a number of my strips from things like the odd case of planer snipe and router entry/exit during milling, so I was happy to have had extra length.

Also, speaking of damaged strips, etc, I'd highly recommend making some extra when you mill. I've had to toss some of mine due to damage/bad knots, and decided I didn't like the look of a few, so I'm going to be cutting it closer than I originally intended!

Niko03
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Joined: Sat May 23, 2015 1:07 pm
Location: Milwaukee, WI

Re: Strong back & Strip length for Redbird

Post by Niko03 » Wed May 27, 2015 12:06 am

Thanks everyone for your suggestions.

I looked a bit at the Champlain, nice, but for some reason the Redbird is stuck in my head. I'm mostly a lake paddler with the occasional lazy river thrown in, so I think that the Redbird is a decent choice for those purposes. It also has the size for me to take my two boys along, and I like that I could sit in the bow for solo outings since its symmetrical.

All logic aside, the lines are burned seductively in my mind. Enough so to put up with the agonizing over lumber length. --- Really?!, you had to be 17" 7.5"? Why not 17' 2.5"? And of course it's a full 2ft from 18' to 20' when most of that will be chopped! Still thinking about it though. With the Redbird's big recurve, it seems that there are only a few strips that really stretch the full length. I have a feature in mind that will span a half dozen strips or so, right in that area, so I will be adding length in those strips. I will ponder some more as I hunt the elusive lumber and most likely play it safe with the longer stuff.

I've been heartened by seeing other people's build spaces and knowing that some beautiful canoes have been born in some relatively cramped spots. I did a test layout of my build space and brought up my spare bench from the basement. I'm thinking that I'll move my table saw up to the front of the garage in line with the bench, and then move the workbench, currently at the end of the garage, in line as well. The bikes will go in front of my wife's vehicle. The tape measure on the floor is max beam. I should have 2 feet clearance at each end, as well as room for a couple of access points through the the benches. I think I'll put posts attached to the benches to support the lumber above head level when not in use. You'll notice that I've pretty much decided to put the benches in between the vehicle and the canoe, instead of along the wall. Better safe than sorry....(aside from my wife's, at times, creative parking, my boys will throw those doors open without a care.). That should work, don't you think?
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Patricks Dad
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Re: Strong back & Strip length for Redbird

Post by Patricks Dad » Thu May 28, 2015 8:17 am

The Redbird in Canoecraft is (I believe) shown at the full 17'6" on a 16' strongback. I did build the Redbird at 17' by simply shrinking the space between stations a bit. Worked out fine. In general this is an OK thing to do if the change is truly small. A more radical change should be reconsidered.

I think worked with 18' strips and had plenty of length (for my 17' redbird). Did I have an extra 6" to give? I think so, but don't remember for sure (it was about 10 years ago and the scraps - I saved every one - have been used in paddle handles over the years).

As for strip length on the Redbird, I suggest you build your 16' strongback, set up your forms per the standard length canoe and then measure the longest strip needed. If you find that 18' strips are too short, you could then readjust a bit to shorten the canoe to match your material or scarf the few strips that will be too short (there will be plenty of material from other shorter strips).

Enjoy your build (and post pics!)
Randy Pfeifer
(847) 341-0618
Randy.Pfeifer1@gmail.com

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