Below is a list of useful tools to have at hand when starting a project
(small and medium preferably)
For shaping stems pieces, gunwales
and other finish work.
The Surform™ scrapers
to fair the hull; it will make quick work of it.
and framing square
A general framing square and a sheetrock T square is best, and they
are for the lofting of the forms.
If you do not already have one and will be buying one, pay a
few extra bucks and get a decent one with a vacuum
attachment, it will be worth it.
Nothing special about this, however, make sure you have one
that feels good in your hand as you will be using it a lot.
or flat tipped screwdriver
If you choose to strip your hull using staples, this tool will pull
out all of the staples you put in the hull while stripping.
Drill bit with counter sink (#6 and #8),
These will mostly be used for attaching the stems and if you
choose putting screws into the gunwales. They are
inexpensive and will make the job of getting those screw
heads flush much easier.
You should have 5 or so around. They are extremely helpful when you need
and extra hand to hold down a piece of wood or hold up the cloth while you
fibreglass the inside of the hull. Also, when using epoxy as glue, not only is it
not necessary to have high pressure clamping, it is undesirable. The idea of
epoxy as a glue relies on the ability of the epoxy to absorb into all pieces
being glued. When too much pressure is applied, the epoxy will squeeze out.
Teakettle or Wallpaper Steamer
This is one of the ingredients of the poor mans steam box. You will need this
for steaming the inner and outer stem pieces as well as the deck supports if
you are building a decked canoe.
5-foot section of 3 inch PVC pipe capped on one end
Use this over the teakettle spout or the end of the wallpaper steamer for your
steam box. By simply stuffing a few hardwood strips up the pipe and adding
steam you will be able to bend the stems and supports to what you need.
There is absolutely no better tool for shaping the stem pieces and shaping your scarf joints than
a belt sander; it will make quick and accurate work of it. However this can be accomplished with
files, planes and the oscillating hand sander.
Oscillating spindle sander or disc / belt sander
This is an invaluable piece of equipment if you can hook it up to your orbital sander. It provides
a much healthier environment not to mention far more pleasant working conditions. Although you do not need it to build the boat.
You only need this once to snap a line down the strongback. It will make the job easier and more
accurate. If you don't have one you will have to very carefully measure out the centreline of the
strongback and draw a line with a pencil. If you plan on using the strongback from more than
one boat you may want to consider using a circular saw set to a 1/8 inch depth and cut down the
chalk line to make it permanent.
A box of pencils
Include this here because of the great nuisance it is to constantly be looking for one and
you will need one often. You can either buy a box now or count the number of times you will
hear yourself say "Where the heck is that pencil".
Hot glue gun
If you are building without staples, this is our preferred way to
keep those strips in place while drying. If you are building
using staples then it is not absolutely essential to have one,
however, it is extremely helpful for temporarily attaching blocks
Hole Saw or
You will need a 2 to 2 1/2 inch bit or saw for drilling holes around
the edges of the stem forms. These holes will be used for
clamping down the inner and outer stems during the steam
bending and glue up phase. Either one will do though I prefer to
work with a Forstner bit for drilling holes. Complete sets can be
had for a reasonable price.
Japanese back saw
Sometimes known as a pull saw, these saws are invaluable
for their flexibility. used extensively for cutting off the
ends of strips flush to the stems, notching out support
members for the decked canoes, sizing up the gunwales and
a host of other jobs. Inexpensive versions can be found at
the local big box hardware store.
You will likely on need a good 3/4 inch chisel if you are good with a chisel.
However, I highly recommend a good set of basic sizes. If you fancy yourself a wood worker and you
donít already have a good set of chisels, then this is your opportunity to get a set. A good set of well maintained chisels will last a lifetime.
and a pack of razors
This will become one of your best friends as you whittle down the
strips to fit. Be sure and get a pack of extra blades. You will blast through a dozen or so building a
stripper. A dull blade will cause frustration and bad cuts that you will be tempted to use, not to
mention the increased likeliness that you will cut yourself trying to plow a dull blade through the wood.
You will use this for cutting the decks and the forms mostly, though if you have a deep-throated band
saw, by all means use it.
Mitre box or
The mitre box will make quick work of scarfing the strips together,
However, if you have a mitre saw, so much the better. Most Mitre saws will cut to 60 degrees on one
side of zero and 60 degrees is good enough when talking about scarfing strips together. Let me make
a huge disclaimer here. A 60-degree cut on a gunwale is definitely not enough for a scarf joint.
3 inch C Clamps (At least 20 for a canoe)
There is no way around it; you will need these to put the gunwale in place. If
you only do one gunwale at a time you will need 20 for a larger canoe, if you do
both sides at the same time you will need twice that many. Other than saving
time on the project, there is no need to clamp both sides at the same time.
1/4 inch round course File
During the stripping project, there will be a number of strips that will have to be cut and fitted into the
hull. Mostly this is either when you are using filler and relief strips or when you are stripping the
bottom of the hull. When you cut strips to fit into another strip you typically like to keep the bead
side in tact and cut away at the cove side. When you do that you will have to replace the cove to
match up with the adjoining strip on the boat. This is the perfect tool for that. Typically clamp the
strip in a bench vice and spend about 15 seconds or so filing away on the edge that was cut and
end up with a perfect cove.