Last week Wayne trimmed and set the ribs permanently into the canoe. All that was left today was to fine tune the positioning of each rib with a mallet to get a fit that was straight and true. As a preliminary step, the hull was doused with boiling water to ensure that the bark would stretch to accommodate each precision adjustment. Once satisfied with his work, Wayne flooded the canoe to test the bark for leaks. To Wayne’s great satisfaction, there were only a few minor leaks, reflecting the excellent quality of both the materials and workmanship that have gone into this particular canoe. These leaks will be closed in the final step: pitching the seams.
While the ribs were being fine-tuned, the preparation of the pitch began. Raw pine pitch, which is near solid at room temperature, was heated in metal cans to decrease its viscosity. What bubbled up was a thick black liquid, which was then strained through burlap to remove impurities. This was the first step in preparing the pitch, which will be finished tomorrow and then applied to the canoe.