I should have been making the cockpit flooring in the motor canoe using some creamy coloured quarter sawn Alaskan Yellow Cedar, but the timber did not arrive due to the snow and ice and I should have ordered it earlier. So I changed the workshop schedule and set about ticking off some smaller jobs.
The steering wheel was on the list. I had found an old four spoke cast bronze wheel in a friends collection of boat bits, it was just the right size but needed a new Mahogany rim. Steve, the engineer, had machined the boss to fit the original spindle and put a new bush bearing in the brass flange, all I had to do was make a rim.
It starts with setting out the diameter on a piece of old ply and marking out the scarf joints. The rim is made up of four sections jointed together with a butt and feather scarf. I cut out the four sections over size and cut the butts with a router then cut the scarf roughly on the bandsaw before finishing off with a paring chisel and planes. Then I glue it all up with a load of clamps on the ply board to keep everything flat. After that its cut the inside and outside diameters with a jig saw and bandsaw before setting about it with the spokeshaves. The conflicting grain directions make for some tricky work so you have to concentrate. Then the sanding begins and you hope you have left enough wood to allow for everything you will remove with the abrasives. There a lot of sanding, going down through the grits until there are no cross scratches and the thing is smooth and ready for a wash coat of varnish – it fits as well.
The Yellow cedar arrived on Thursday so the workshop smells of sweet cedar as I machine it to size and start to fit the flooring.