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Reply to "Doors and window curtain attachments"

About 5 years ago one of my native Hawaiian friends asked me to help him rebuild a 70ft long 150 year old koa canoe. He was a master canoe builder and was very exacting. The koa boards that we were using cost around $1M for a 1/4 tractor trailer load. We even saved the sawdust.

There were hardly any flat surfaces and absolutely no rectangular boards, but we could handle most of the curves with japanese saw work and a lot of sanding.

The bow was different. Mac showed me how to bend the koa planks using a steam pipe. It was basically a pipe angled at 45 degrees with a metal boiler at the bottom end. You take a big propane burner and point it at the boiler. You stick your lumber into the pipe and drape a towel over the open end and then let it steam for a few hours. Then you bend it into place and clamp it for a day or so depending on the thickness.

Trust me, there are a lot of koa canoe building details that I'm leaving out and yes, I wasted some wood. Mac is an ex-Marine so I learned some phrases that I'm pretty sure are anatomically impossible.

Long story short, if you are feeling frisky, try steaming the wood.

Mac telling me that I'm more trouble than I'm worth:


That's the plank that I'm supposed to fit into the gap (several days later, it worked):


The stern view and you can see the kind of bending needed at the ends:IMG_20170610_084053Good luck, Ed. Let me know if you want to do it in koa!


Images (3)
  • IMG_20160729_150323
  • IMG_20160729_150243
  • IMG_20170610_084053
Last edited by Michael Pickett