April 3

Hey Chuck,

The 1/8" plywood strip canoe was a failure! Even so, I still think the technique will work. Though it is tedious, it might be worth while for certain applications - especially Mouse and Toto sized utralite craft. The problem was massive failure of the Titebond II glue. It failed at about half the seams, resulting in a big mess. I can't blame it all on Titebond, they mean it when they say the temperature must be above 55 degrees F! We had the heater on while gluing, but turned it off when finished for the night. I incorrectly guessed the shop would maintain heat long enough for the glue to cure. Some nights were well into the low twenties - so it was my fault. The glue at the failed seams was crystallized to the point that it had very little adhesive properties. We worked an afternoon trying to save the hull, but it was no use. There was no practical way to clamp the seams on the middle strips. So, she got a Viking burial on the burn pile.

Not giving up THAT easy, we immediately started another project. Another canoe we call Hawbuck. It is a highly modified Prospector reminiscent of the square sterned canoes that were common 70 or 80 years ago. Unlike the typical canoe with a transom, the Hawbuck maintains its max beam all the way aft. Tomblehome beginning about four feet from the transom gives the hull the appearance that the transom narrows, this effect is compounded by a shear line that mirrors the bow (to a point) and gives the hull a symmetrical shape like its canoe cousins. An inch and a half rocker was maintained forward, none aft. Made to be powered full time, I think she'll easily take a 9.9hp, although an air-cooled 3.5hp would do the trick - especially if you were in a situation where you needed to portage.

Seats will be ash and cane bases with stadium style seats on top. A couple of special considerations for power are an extra layer of 6 oz cloth on the outside and two thwarts instead of the more traditional single thwart (for a 16 footer). Matt, who is assisting with the construction will also be the owner/operator, so his personal desires on inwales, scuppers, deck configuration, and a covered (canvas) storage area between the thwarts, will make the Hawbuck an original.
Is it still a canoe? I'm not sure, it looks canoeish, but also has a lot of skiff properties. The transom is a full 17" high to raise a short shaft outboard to max operating height (minimizing overall draft). Maybe the "experts" can say what she is when we lift her off the forms. We are about ten days beyond these photos and have "rounded the bend", having yet to mar the hull with a staple. Turns out the experimental process we were using for the plywood prototype was perfect for building a traditional strip-built without staples! So it wasn't an exercise in vain after all!

Larry Pullon

April 9

Here are current pictures of the Hawbuck project. Note the two frames attached to the strongback near the stems. These frames allowed Matt and I to use small boards to hold the strips in place where they twisted the most. The system worked well and strips can be installed single handedly, although it was far easier with two sets of hands. Just about all the strips since the last photo were put on one at a time. At first I worried the slow pace would be boring, but now I find I'm building a boat with hardly any impact on all the other things we have to do around the house - low impact boat building!

As soon as Matt sands for a week or two (it is HIS boat) we'll start making the cane seats and other components.