Freedom 16/NorthWest Merlin

You don't know which boat you should build to suit your personal needs? Please post your questions here and our many contributors will surely have some good advice.
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anthony karakas
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Freedom 16/NorthWest Merlin

Post by anthony karakas » Wed Sep 14, 2011 11:13 am

Hello everyone,

I am contemplating building either of the above boats. I have a couple questions:

1. I know it is a solo canoe, but could a small person (110 lbs) come for an occasional short ride, kneeling in front perhaps? I am 200 lbs, and we would not be carrying any other objects.

2. Each design seems to have a curve in the hull (shouldered tumblehome?), right below the gunwales. What is that all about? Is it necessary?

3. I'm open to any suggestions on other solo designs up to 16'. My garage is too small to build a 17'...Thanks for any and all advice :eyebrows

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Moonman
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Re: Freedom 16/NorthWest Merlin

Post by Moonman » Fri Sep 23, 2011 8:44 am

No problem for the larger Freedom Solo to carry an occasional passenger at that weight. Asymmetric solo boats are trim sensitive though so ballast accordingly. Not sure about the northwest boat though.

The shouldered tumblehome is just to allow a better paddling stroke (more vertical), than would normally be the case if the max beam continued all the way up to the gunwales. You can also look at Greenvalley Boatworks for John Winters designed Osprey and Shearwater. A lot of builders here have had success with the Freedom Solo though. Even a small tandem might be an idea if the passenger will be a more than occasional thing.

I'm sure that whatever you build will be a great boat.

Moonman.

anthony karakas
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Location: st louis Mo

Re: Freedom 16/NorthWest Merlin

Post by anthony karakas » Fri Sep 23, 2011 3:27 pm

Thanks MoonMan; The Freedom 16 seems the ideal canoe for me, i just don't feel comfortable with the hard chine.

Any feedback on building that hard chine?

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Patricks Dad
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Re: Freedom 16/NorthWest Merlin

Post by Patricks Dad » Sat Sep 24, 2011 7:59 am

Building the hard chine was a bit tricky. I looked at it for a long time before I decide I simply didn't like the looks of that sharp corner either. It was just begging to get banged up and to scrape my knuckles when I paddle... So rather than build that chine as designed, I simply took the corner off of each form with my belt sander until I had a 3/8" flat spot that split the angle evenly. I then started with a 3/8" strip on that surface and built up and down from there with regular bead/cove strips. This made the angle of the joints at the shoulder chine much more manageable and the result less of a sharp point. It rounded over nicely when I sanded the hull without any worries of sanding too thin. It was easier to glass too (I would guess).
Randy Pfeifer
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BearLeeAlive
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Re: Freedom 16/NorthWest Merlin

Post by BearLeeAlive » Sat Sep 24, 2011 12:49 pm

The Kite I am building has sharp chines, and they were not that much trouble to do. I am not sure if they are exactly the same as on your canoe though. Here are some shots of what I did. I went stapleless, and built some jigs for clamping. The only staples I used were in the sheer where it would be covered by the gunwales.

Here is the sheer completed. Where I met the shoulder, I cut a bevel on the shear strip.
Image

Here is the first strip on the shoulder, I did a bevel on one side of it too.
Image

This is the shoulder completed. I just ran the strips past the chine for a minimum of 1/4" to cover the first strip on the main part of the hull.
Image

Here is a shot of the first strip on the hull, the excess from the shoulder was just planed off later. This strip was beveled to match the joint at the shoulder.
Image

Another shot of this first strip from the inside. I used these small blocks to hold the strip in place between stations ensuring it did not bow in.
Image

And we are off to the races with the rest of the strips.
Image

When sanding down the outside of the hull (where I am at now), I rounded over the shoulder on the chine a fair bit, it turned out quite nice. I have no shots of that yet, but will grab some soon.
-JIM-

anthony karakas
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Re: Freedom 16/NorthWest Merlin

Post by anthony karakas » Sun Sep 25, 2011 7:56 am

Randy & Jim; thanks for the ideas and pictures. MoonMan had suggested i look into the Shearwater design; I read about it on the Green Valley website, but there are no photos. So i can't tell if it also has shouldered tumblehome. Did either of you consider the Shearwater design?

Another question: Was it difficult raising the hull off the forms?

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Patricks Dad
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Re: Freedom 16/NorthWest Merlin

Post by Patricks Dad » Sun Sep 25, 2011 10:08 am

I don't have any experience with the Shearwater design (sorry).

As for taking the hull off the forms, that's easy. I always remove each form from the hull one at a time leaving the stem forms in place. Once they are all removed, I remove the screws holding the stem forms to the strong back and lift the entire craft with both stem forms off the strong back. Each form is easily removed by a tap toward the center of the hull and then a twist to get it past the shoulder chine.
Randy Pfeifer
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BearLeeAlive
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Re: Freedom 16/NorthWest Merlin

Post by BearLeeAlive » Sun Sep 25, 2011 10:41 am

Anthony, the Shearwater has a long sweeping chine similar to the Kite I posted. Both are John Winters designs. I really like this look, and that is why a used the Kite instead of the Osprey.
-JIM-

anthony karakas
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Re: Freedom 16/NorthWest Merlin

Post by anthony karakas » Mon Sep 26, 2011 9:27 am

Thanks again to you both for your counsel; Martin from Green Valley replied to my email and said the Shearwater design is too big for most people. With that opinion i think i will stick to a 15' solo design instead of 16'.

Randy, any feedback on how your Freedom 15' behaved in the bwca?

Also, i just finished the Ranger 15'; if you're interested i would gladly trade you my forms for yours. :thinking

For that matter, if any one is interested in my old forms, you are welcome to them; i don't have enough garage space! I can't seem to upload a picture of them; file is too big; i can email to any who might be interested...

BearLeeAlive
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Re: Freedom 16/NorthWest Merlin

Post by BearLeeAlive » Mon Sep 26, 2011 10:36 am

Anthony, I had traded lots of emails with Martin. He certainly is a helpful guy. He even sent me lots of photos of various stages of the build of his Kite. He dissuaded me from going with the Shearwater due to it's size, though through emails with John Winters, he suggested it might suit my needs. I still need to finish it, and give it a whirl, but my I really think my Kite stretched to 15'-6" is going to give me that wee bit more load capacity I desire. I sure do love the lines of it.
-JIM-

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Patricks Dad
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Re: Freedom 16/NorthWest Merlin

Post by Patricks Dad » Mon Sep 26, 2011 11:11 am

Anthony,

I really enjoyed paddling the Freedom Solo in the BWCA. I took both a regular bent-shaft canoe paddle and a 240cm kayak paddle. On windy days (most of them), I used the kayak paddle and had no handling problems. Other days I used the canoe paddle. I was carrying a Duluth pack weighing about 45 pounds in front of me (my seat was set about 3" behind the design position and balanced the pack load quite nicely). I would gladly take it on such a trip again. I prefer to paddle the canoe with a load in it as it adds quite a bit to the stability (my seat is probably a bit high - 2" below the inwale). The canoe is plenty light for portaging and easy to get from Point A to Point B (be in on the water or over land).

You are welcome to my forms (with appropriate license fees paid to Bear Mountain Boats - unless you already have purchased plans) but keep in mind that they are modified for a 3/8" strip at the shoulder chine. Shipping costs might be a concern however. I don't have an interest in building the Ranger 15' at this time.
Randy Pfeifer
(847) 341-0618
Randy.Pfeifer1@gmail.com

anthony karakas
Posts: 39
Joined: Fri Apr 29, 2011 2:37 pm
Location: st louis Mo

Re: Freedom 16/NorthWest Merlin

Post by anthony karakas » Mon Sep 26, 2011 9:08 pm

Randy, thank you for the generous offer. You may be right about the shipping costs; i will look into it, and if it is not prohibitive i will contact you. The only other variable i must consider is the 3/8 strip you mentioned. I buy my strips from Noahs; i do not have a router and router table (i've never worked with one). While i could rip the strip, i lack the means to bead & cove it. However, it seems if i want a solo canoe, there is no way around the shouldered tumblehome issue, so i must solve the problem one way or another.

Jim, looking at your pictures (most excellent btw), i'm wondering if you only beveled your strips that make the chine transition, or if you beaded/coved them?

BearLeeAlive
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Re: Freedom 16/NorthWest Merlin

Post by BearLeeAlive » Mon Sep 26, 2011 11:30 pm

All the strips were all bead and cove, with the exception of the two beveled joints which I ripped on the table saw, and touched up (did a rolling bevel) to fit. I had chosen strips before I routed the edges and just left them square, but if you bought your strip pre-milled you could just rip off one edge.
-JIM-

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