Day 14 arrives… now I really have spent 2 entire weeks on this project, and it is almost finished. But today was an odd, and not so much a fun day. Today felt more like day 13 should have, that’s if I really believed that number 13 means bad luck.
Before I got to Roger’s place I wondered if my canoe originally had external wood stems as well as the keel. So day 14 started with a difficult conversation. Roger said the canoe originally had external stems, evidenced by a visit to the junk bin of spare pieces I had brought on day 1. The pieces he showed me were badly broken so it was difficult, to nearly impossible, to see what they had originally looked like. Since I still don’t know who the original builder was, and therefore don’t have any drawings, I was doubly in the dark.
Roger explained that external stems did nothing functional, so builders haven’t added them for a long time. Sensed my disappointment he offered to make some if I really wanted them… stressing, however, the time (and therefore extra cost) for no real functionality. He also reminded me that, although we had used as much of the original parts as we could, the canoe was already not historically rebuilt. The added inner gunwale, along with the epoxy filled holes would drive historical canoe fanatics crazy. I did, after all, want to actually use the canoe rather than mount it on my living room wall. So I spent the next quarter-hour thinking about my options, while I sanded the parts before the next varnish. By then, although still conflicted, I decided to forgo the external stems. After all, I first need to find the original builder and plans before even trying to fabricate what they looked like. I can always add them in a later year.
Since it was a sunny day I did the second, and full strength, varnish outside. This helped showing the results of my work, and any missed sections. Soon after I started, however, I kept getting bothered by mosquitos and a lot of wasps that seemed to like the varnish smell. Before I finished I had successfully managed to spill the varnish on my hand while escaping from a pesky wasp, as well as varnishing the hair on the back of my head trying to swat one away. (I told you it was not a fun day). To round off my day, one of my freshly varnished thwarts fell in the grass resulting in me trying to pick grass and dirt out of the varnish. Not much fun.
Still, the finished product did look great, particularly the mahogany decks that had dried lighter overnight and were again thirsty today. Only one more varnish coat to go, but that will have to wait another week. Taking some final pics of my beautiful canoe I prepared to depart.
Before I left, another canoe came in for repairs. This one looked like it had just come from the set of a horror film. Along with badly rotted gunwales, the red hull looked like it actually had veins. It was wrinkled, discoloured, and bulging in many places. I did a second check to make sure the owner wasn’t Vincent Price, Freddy Krueger, or possibly Herman Munster. (I told you it was an odd day) A challenging job for Roger, but I’m sure something he’s seen before, but I’m sure I haven’t. Day 15 coming in a week.