Compound Curves

by Steve on August 25, 2008

Convincing wood to bend in one dimension can be rather difficult.  Forcing it to take a fair curve in two dimensions is frustrating.  Somewhere in Rollin’s book “The Wood & Canvas Canoe” he points out that if the design you’re building has upturned ends to the rails you will have less chance of adding to your burn bin if you steam the ends and bend them to the desired shape prior to installing them.  Logic should have led me to determine that the rail backers on the form would benefit from the same treatment since they hold the same shape.  Stubborn I guess – I tried to force one into place without the benefit of steam with the unsurprising addition of 16 linear feet of kindling to the burn pile.

After that, with only two rail backers left (no spare now) I got creative.  A turkey fryer, six feet of heater hose, and a five foot length of schedule 40 PVC and we were steaming.



Here you can see the rail backers bent into place on the bow of the form – they curve rather sharply up and in within a short distance.

I keep re-reading the caution in the book regarding building a proper and fair form: any shortcuts or mistakes will show up in every canoe that comes off that form.  Great…

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