Put on 24 strips in seven hours today, which is pretty good, cooking right along in a groove. Then I hit a curve, came to a stop, and decided it was a good time to quit for the day.
Cedar strips bend very easily in one direction – back and forth – which is what makes them so wobbly. But they don’t bend much at all in the other direction. Add a twist and it really gets fun. The first twelve strips up the hull are pretty much flat runs, bending in the easy direction, so these went up quick.
Then you get to the turn of the bilge, where it transitions from the “sides” to the “bottom,” and the little buggers start to fight back. There’s a twist at the bow, where each strip goes from horizontal to vertical, and in the middle they want to pucker and pull away from each other because you’re now bending them in the hard direction. It’s the same principle behind an I-beam, or rafter or floor joist – they don’t like to bend in one direction, so you use that to your advantage and use that direction for support. In this case, though, you WANT them to bend in that direction, too, and just have to push harder and come up with creative ways to make them stay flat.
I’m using 9/16” staples, the long ones, but even those are no match for the little angry strips of wood. In tough spots the strips pull away from the forms and pop the staples right out. Digging through my toy box of clamps, and improvising a bit (see above), I got the first real troublemakers to lay flat. Not pretty, but it worked. After strapping or clamping the wood back down had to go back with a hammer and tap the staples back in. May have to rethink this.
You use a lot of staples. I’m about halfway up each hull and have used over a thousand already. I figured my hand would wear out driving in all those staples, so I bought one of those nice electric staple guns, a Stanley, and it’s a piece of junk. After doing just two rows of strips I never know whether it’s going to fire or not. It’s a real pain to work for ten minutes to get every piece in place, then pull the trigger and have nothing happen. I went back to the old manual stapler and it works great. I’ll just have one Popeye forearm when I’m done.