Friday, January 21, 2011

27 dollars and change plus a little bit of history!!

The attic has been cleared. Now it's time to to get things ready for the construction phase. A stitch and glue boat, unlike one built upon patterns, does not require a strongback or immobile frame around which the boat is built. Rather, the boat is literally "stitched" together and does not rely upon forms to hold the shape.  I read of an analogy of stitch and glue being like taking a banana and peeling it, eating the banana and then putting the skin back together.

Still, I wanted a full-length work surface on which join the panels to loft the panels, and upon which to lay the boat during entire building process.

I figured a ladder structure would be best - built of 2x4s - with an OSB top. I dropped by the local Home Depot and 27.00 later I had all the necessary supplies - right down to the 3" nails.

With the exception of how this platform is to be supported.  Therein lies the "history" as alluded to in the title of this entry!!!

Back in the early 1990's I worked at a local Home Hardware. To be honest, it was one of the worst jobs I've ever had. I knew my stuff - working in the power tool section - but the boss was a real tyrant! Not to mention the fact that I already had my BA in English and History!! While there a pair of steel workhorse braces went on sale because they were old stock. They were a great price and I snapped them up.

Not long after this my new wife, while on a trip to Halifax,  bought me a book by Skip Snaithe on how to build a stitch and glue kayak. I started right away and guess what I used to support the strongback on the craft??  - those steel braces I bought!! I began with earnest on this new boat! Then, in a twist of fate, I decided that working in a hardware store for the rest of my life was "not my bag" and I went back to school. "School" meant going to Dalhousie for two years to do my Master's Degree. It also meant abandoning the kayak that I started!! The poor thing was unceremoniously dismantled and, to this day, I keep finding bits and pieces of 1/8  plywood kicking around!!  The braces were packed away somewhere.

In 1997 we started building our house. We/I decided that I could do most of it myself - and I was right. Needless to say, those braces were used quite a bit during the construction of our house. 

In 1999, after working on the house for two years, we moved in. The braces were retired once again UNTIL!

In 2000 I decided that I was going to build a 20' Carolina Dory Skiff as per plans from Glen-L This was a craft that was built around forms. Forms meant the need for a strongback. Strongback meant I would need the braces once again,  I built this boat over two years - outside. We had a record snowfall that winter that collapsed my temporary shelter and completely snowed in the frame of the boat. The weight of the snow bent the frames but I managed to straighten 'er out, sheath'er up, glass'er up and come up with a great boat!! I still have her but since I've been kayaking, she's languishing on the trailer!!

Fast forward to Jan 2011. After a bit of searching I managed to dredge up the braces again. Called upon  once more for small craft, i.e., kayak, duty. I've promised myself that this kayak WILL be completed and that it WILL be the best piece of craftsmanship I've produced to date!! Mark my words!!

Here's the 18'x2' table. Note the black leg braces!

Just another angle!

Let the games begin . . .


  1. Things are looking great in your attic.
    But how are you going to get that long boat outside? Window?

  2. It will actually slide down the stairwell and out the front window on the second floor. The window and stairwell and lined up perfectly. Believe me, I checked and verified that it will work.

    Thanks for the interest and stay tuned!!