The Strip Building News

Fall 1998


Welcome to the fourth issue of the Strip Building News, a newsletter put together by Newfound Woodworks and Guillemot Kayaks. We would like to make this newsletter a forum for communicating strip-building news and techniques to and from our customers. If you have comments, ideas or techniques for the newsletter, please drop us a line. It will be hard to keep this newsletter interesting without your help. We are asking that to continue receiving this news letter that you subscribe. You may continue receiving issues for a little while as we are giving people a few free issues just to get the word out. See the subscription info on the back cover.


Newfound Rendezvous

The weather on the weekend of September 19th could not have been more ideal. The sun was bright, the sky was blue, and the water was warm for the second annual Newfound Rendezvous. Almost 100 strip-built boats were arrayed on the beach next to Pemigiwasset Lake as proud builders and curious prospective builders alike exchanged ideas and techniques and tried out the different designs. In a word, it was fun. But, one word is not enough to describe what it is like to see so many beautiful boats concentrated in one place. As one observer said, “There just aren’t any ugly boats here, they are all beautiful!” With that many boats in one place you might expect a few dogs, but there just weren’t any.
There was an excellent turn out of sea kayaks, Edgar and Judy Kleindinst and Jen Burns came with the Laughing Loon “Panache” they built while making a video for public access TV on Cape Cod. Jay Babina “Outer Island” design was well represented with about 6 examples. There were also beautiful examples of Guillemot Kayaks designs, including some with some really nice fancy stripping. George Roberts made it with a pair of his boats.

There were canoes of every size and description on the beach and in the water. Harry Hanscom brought 3 beautiful 18.5” White Guides. Tom Havey probably had the single largest disparity in sizes with a Mini-Grand Laker and a Wee Lassie. There were too many canoes to be able to fully appreciate each of them.
It wasn’t just canoes and kayaks. Ken Wallo brought a nicely done Adirondack Guide boat which he strip-built from plans he purchased at the Adirondack Museum. Tom Mazur brought his nearly complete 16’ Rangeley boat. One of the most popular boats to try was a 7’ sailing dingy.
There were a few demonstrations including: fiberglassing the inside of a canoe, Harry Hanscom’s staple-free stripping technique, veneer inlay, free-style canoeing by Caleb Davis, Jay Babina and his brother Phil demonstrated “Greenland style” kayak techniques, Paula Wanzer demonstrated canoe rescue techniques, and Nick Schade demonstrated some of the basic kayaking techniques. But, the real emphasis was sharing experiences and ideas, trying different designs, and the camaraderie of a gathering of people with similar interests.
On Sunday a contingent headed up to Squam Lake for a paddle. Although there was a good turn-out and everyone who participated enjoyed it, we will probably not include the Sunday morning trip as part of the event next year. People were having so much fun at the campground that it seemed a shame to leave when there was still time left in the weekend.
People came from all over. George Roberts came from Oklahoma. A large number of Canadians braved the exchange rate to attend, including John Winters the designer of Redwing Designs. The prize probably goes to Oliver Beckmann from Germany.
Organizing an event like the Rendezvous can be scary. Will everything work? Will the weather hold? Will the food be any good? Will anyone come? The general consensus is it was a rousing success. We owe this success to the participants. It is your enthusiasm that makes the Rendezvous so much fun. If you have any ideas or criticisms please don’t be shy. We are very open to suggestions on how it could be improved. Send your ideas to

Next Year’s Rendezvous

The 3rd Annual Newfound Rendezvous will be held September 17, 18 and 19, 1999. Mark it on your calendars. Some of the ideas we have for changes are:

These are just some ideas. If you have any comments or more suggestions, please pass them along.

Nick Moves Back to CT

Nick Schade of Guillemot Kayaks, who has been working part time at Newfound Woodworks in Bristol, NH for almost a year, is moving back to Connecticut. He is returning to Glastonbury, where he will devote his time to writing and designing as well as running Guillemot Kayaks. His address is:
Guillemot Kayaks
10 Ash Swamp Rd
Glastonbury, CT 06033
phone: (860) 659-8847

“Winter Cure” changing to “Cool Cure” <top>

MAS Epoxies has changed the name of their “Winter Cure” epoxy to “Cool Cure”. They felt that the “Winter” part was scaring off people from using this epoxy even when it would probably be the best solution for them. “Cool Cure” will cure down to 40º, but it is useful all the way up to 70º, with 60°as the optimum working temperature. If you are working in an unheated garage in the winter, spring or autumn, or a cool basement at any time of year, the standard “Slow” epoxy can be very slow in curing. When temperatures drop to the 60’s “Slow” can take several days before you can continue working on it. “Cool Cure” will generally be ready for additional coats the next day.
The rule of thumb for curing is for every 10° of drop in temperature, your cure time will double. For example, if it takes 24 hours for Cool Cure to come to a sandable, or final cure at 70°, it will take 48 hours for the same stage of cure to occur at 60°.

Classes from Caleb Davis

Those of you who attended the Rendezvous probably saw Caleb Davis of Tremolo Canoe & Crew give demonstrations on classic solo canoeing and making a traditional one-piece canoe paddle. If you saw him, you will know he is an engaging teacher who loves what he does. This spring (May 7, 1999) he will be coming to Bristol to teach a paddle making class and the next day (May 8th) he will teach classic tandem and solo canoeing technique. In the paddle class, students will make a traditionally shaped long and narrow canoe paddle out of butternut, ash or spruce. The class is all day and costs $50.
The classic paddling techniques class will cover the spectrum of canoeing techniques from safety, through design, to basic and advanced skills. It is the classic solo paddling that is associated with many of the great canoeing legends like Omer Stringer and Bill Mason. The class is all day long and costs $50.
Caleb will also be offering these same classes at next years Rendezvous. Please call Caleb to attend the classes this spring. Phone: (603) 563-5992

New Kayaks:

Newfound Woodworks has reached an agreement with two designers to make kits for their kayaks. Jay Babina is a devotee of Greenland style kayaking, his Outer Island design is a Greenland style boat well suited to that paddling style. Rob Macks’ Laughing Loon designs also draw strong inspiration from traditional kayaks. His North Star is a baidarka style kayak based on Aleut designs. The traditional bifid bow and transom-like stern are amazing examples of the flexibility of the strip-building technique.


We were surprised and delighted to see Ron Hockersmith’s Hiawatha make the Home Built section of the November issue of Canoe and Kayak. Jon and Sherry attended the Rendezvous and his canoe looks even better up close than it does in the picture. Good work Jon!
To the right is Tom Wyatt of Atherton, CA and the scale model of a Guillemot Double he made as a wedding gift for his daugter. He started with scaled down forms Nick had provided him. The boat has an electric motor and is remote controlled. Below are the forms for the model.

Techniques <top>


Sanding a stripper can be time consuming, but there are things you can do to make it go faster. The best way is to only do as much sanding as is necessary. When fairing the strips the goal is to make a smooth surface which is also ready to accept epoxy. First remove any big drips of glue with a scraper. A Pro-Prep works well for this or any paint scraper. A scraper works best if it is sharp. Keep a fine metal file handy to touch up the blade as it gets dull. Scraping the glue is usually not enough to dull it, but you want the tool sharp to begin with. After the major drips are gone, sweep or vacuum the surface to get rid of the loose bits of glue.
Next, plane the surface with a sharp block plane. You want to remove the major irregularities in the surface. The ridge between two strips should be smoothed out and any steps at butt-joints should be knocked off. Don’t be afraid of using the plane. With the plane set very fine you will have much more control than you would doing this task by sanding. You can easily remove just the wood you want if your plane is good and sharp. Remember, the goal now is fairing, this means you want to create long, smooth curves without any sudden bumps or dips. To do this, use long strokes with the plane. Do not concentrate on one place. If there is a low spot, you want to lower the area all around it so there is a smooth transition. High spots should be knocked off with a few short strokes of the plane then smoothed out with increasingly longer ones. The plane can be used diagonally to the grain as well as with it. For best results, hold the plane approximately parallel to the grain while pushing it diagonally across the grain.
When most of the major irregularities are removed, it is time for the fairing sander. To save yourself time, start with a very course sandpaper. 50 or 60 grit will do well. This stuff can remove wood pretty quickly so you need to use some care. It will also create deep scratches in the wood, so always sand with the grain. The fairing sander does not work well on inside curves. Instead use a foam or wood block cut with a curved face to get into these areas. Again, the goal is fairing, don’t try to make one small spot perfect. This can make a low spot. If you are trying to smooth out an area which is low, you want to transition the areas around it to make a fair surface down to the low spot. This requires that you sand with long strokes. Use your whole body and don’t be afraid to lean into it. If the sand paper gets dull, replace it. Don’t waste your time sanding with dull paper just to save the few cents of a new sheet. Sharp paper works faster and does a better job.
You are done with the fairing board or curved sanding block when you no longer see any glue on the surface of the wood and there are no visible signs of saw marks on the strips. Now you can go to a random orbital sander. 80 grit sandpaper is a good place to start, but you may be able to use coarser. The goal now is to remove the surface scratches left by the fairing. You want to make the surface of the wood uniformly smooth. Once again, the boat should be fair, so don’t concentrate in one spot. Work in 2 foot wide swaths from centerline down to the sheerline, then move over one foot so you over lap half of the section you just did. Swing your sander in smooth arcs over the section you are sanding, keeping the sander in contact with the surface and moving at all times. If you have to stop, lift the sander up. Many sanders will accelerate when removed from the surface. If you bring them back down onto the surface when they are going fast you can create a divot. Instead, turn off the sander, put it back down and then restart. You don’t need to wait for the sander to stop completely before using it, but let it slow somewhat. If the sander is still moving, bring it down while sweeping the surface so it does not dig into one spot.
When you can’t see anymore scratches and the surface is uniformly smooth, wet down the surface and let it dry. This will raise the grain, highlight scratches, and show up any remaining glue. Remove the glue and remaining scratches with further sanding, then sand the whole boat again with 80 grit sand paper. You do not need to sand any further than this. Finer sandpaper is unnecessary. The epoxy bonds best to a fairly coarse surface. As long as any scratches across the grain have been removed, further sanding will not improve the appearance of the boat. Excessive sanding with fine sandpaper on the Random Orbit Sander can cause dark red cedar to have a blotchy effect, since you are actually buffing the wood fibers.

New Products <top>

Tie Down Straps-

Made for us, these are black with The Newfound Woodworks’ logo silk screened onto the pad. The strap is 15’ long and your canoe is protected from abrasion by the buckle by a webbing pad. $16.95/pair

Mesh Gear Bag-

Large bag for your PFD’s , sprayskirts, booties, etc. Gear dries fast, sand shakes out easily, makes rinsing gear a snap. Full wrap around handles. Red or green. $31.95 each

Canoe Seats-

Made from durable outdoor fabric with 1/2” foam and fiberglass support battens. These are excellent seats with back for use in Wee Lassies or other solo canoe; or use them right on your canoe seat in a tandem situation. They also can double as camp chairs. Red or green: Standard $37.95, Deluxe $41.95




Maine Boat Builders’ Show: March 19, 20, & 21, 1999, Portland Maine.

The Angel Fund Redbird <top>

In August 1997 a lone gunman killed four people in Colebrook, NH. By the end of that sad day the gunman himself had been killed. Although we didn’t know any of the victims, we were outraged and dismayed that something like this could happen in a small New Hampshire town. In January 1998 Bill Vecchio stopped at Newfound Woodworks to get information on our cedar strips and canoe building materials. Bill said he wanted to build a canoe to raffle off to generate funds for the survivors of the Colebrook tragedy. He had a canoe design in mind when he came to us, but when he saw our Redbird canoe he knew that this design would generate the most interest because of its aesthetically pleasing shape. In the spring of 1998 we supplied Bill and (Lt) Chuck Jellison with all the materials to build the Angel Fund Redbird; this is Bill’s description of the process…….
“The events occurred on August 19, 1998 when Carl Drega killed two state troopers, an attorney, and a newspaper editor in a shooting rampage that lasted 3 hours. Four other law enforcement officers were wounded in the mayhem.
These events hit home. Scott Phillips, one of the troopers killed, was related to Chuck and me. Obviously the tragedy hit harder for Chuck since he had a close working relationship with the two troopers and was familiar with the other victims.
Soon after the tragedy a fund was set up for the families of the victims. Chuck and I came up with the idea of building a canoe to raise money for the fund last January. The year before I had been involved with a similar project at my daughter’s school to raise money needed for the 8th grade graduating class. Building the canoe in the school at night and on weekends, we were successful in raising $1400.
Our original intention was to build a small 14’ stripper; however, after my visit to Newfound Woodworks, I saw a dream craft, the Redbird. Our project was then set to go.
Michael was involved in every step of the building process, advising us on techniques, methods, and properties of the materials used. We put up our first strip in April and completed the craft with our final coat of varnish in mid-August.
Besides providing the “shop” space (his garage) and his labor, Chuck was instrumental in organizing ticket sales. We were able to display the canoe at several state fairs, festivals, and finally at the Lancaster Fair. He also distributed raffle tickets to others who dedicated their time and energy to sell tickets.
In addition to the canoe, we had another prize, a Limited Edition Annalee Doll. This 50th Anniversary NH State Trooper doll was generously donated by Carl Gahagen of Meredith. Carl also donated many hours selling raffle tickets in the Lakes Region.
The winning tickets were drawn in the grandstand at the Lancaster Fair on Labor Day. The hard work and effort by all those involved raised $18,500 for the Colebrook Angel Fund. Joe Ippolito of Colebrook won the Redbird canoe and Mike Finch of Massachusetts won the Annalee Doll.”
We are proud to have been a part of this worthwhile effort. This shows the possibilities of fund raising in conjunction with stripbuilding. This could also work for schools and scouting organizations.
We were contacted by Joe Ippolito of Colebrook and asked to sell the Redbird canoe for him. He is 77 and doesn’t feel comfortable paddling a canoe any more. We have the Angel Fund Redbird on display at the shop; Joe is asking $2400 for it.

Subscription Information

The Strip-Building News is published on an “as-possible” basis. This will hopefully translate to 3 or 4 times a year. It will include tips and techniques for constructing strip-built/epoxy boats and other related news. If you would like to continue receiving this newsletter, please send $10 for the next 5 issues to: Strip-Building News, Newfound Woodworks, 67 Danforth Brook Rd, Bristol, NH 03222



Back to the Strip Building News Home Page