Learning Curves 8




To escape the rain, I moved the canoe into the painting studio, and proceeded with fiberglass and epoxy.  The sealer coat was a bit tacky, positioning the fiberglass cloth was tedious, and it was late Tuesday afternoon before I actually started wetting out.  No turning back, so we quickly set up lights, and I finished well after dark.


Next morning, I fitted up a vacuum to the random orbital sander, and scuffed down the high spots.  Noisy work, but very little dust.


I found a design for horses to support a canoe on one of the websites, and couldn’t quite decide whether to build yet another set of horses, when Alice hit upon the idea of simply inverting the canoe-building horse.  A couple of straps and clamps, and I was ready to start smoothing out the inside for fiberglassing.

This hull is really narrow at the stems, my planes wouldn’t reach the last several inches, and gouges and chisels were not particularly effective.  The right tool, as usual, was just lying around waiting for me to find it.  This morning, I got out the yari-kanna, or spear plane, and it is amazing.  It takes about five minutes to figure out how to use this tool, and half a lifetime to master.  Next time, we’ll shoot video.IMG_1304


Strip planking created a really unpredictable grain pattern.  Typically, alternate strips run in opposite directions, like planing plantation-grown mahogany.  On flat work with rowey grain, you can skew the plane body to make a narrow shearing cut and plane parallel, one direction then the other.  Inside the hull, I couldn’t do that with the little hollowing planes, because the length of the sole and the curve of the hull limits the cut.  The spear plane can approach any place from the most advantageous direction, provided you can read the grain.


About michaellangford2012

Timber framer, boatbuilder, dreamer, writer, musician; collector of books, tools, aphorisms. "There is nothing, absolutely nothing…half so much worth doing…as simply messing about in boats."
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2 Responses to Learning Curves 8

  1. itznu says:

    Can you also use the spearplane as a throwing-plane, on far away objects that need planing?

    • No, but it would make a formidable weapon at close range. The old yari-kanna appear to be about four feet long with a blade long as your hand and razor sharp on both edges. I’ll bet even the samurai didn’t want to mess with carpenters.
      You’re in the northwest, right. The Haida crooked knife is probably a direct descendant of the yari-kanna, ocean currents being what they are.

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