I have almost finished building a new deck for Miss Nancy. I inlaid our Pathfinder Club’s logo with zebrawood.

Central New Hampshire Flames Logo on a canoe deck in zebrawood

Central New Hampshire Flames Logo on a canoe deck in zebrawood

First I drew the logo onto a couple of quarter-inch thick pieces of zebrawood. Then I cut it out with a coping saw and placed it on the deck (which I had previously glued up from maple and walnut). Then I hit it with a light layer of spray paint, because that seemed like a good way to trace it. Turns out, that’s not precise enough, so I ended up laying the zebrawood shapes on the deck again and tracing them with a sharp knife. Once I had the shape transferred, I deepened the cuts with a very sharp knife and scooped out the in-between with a chisel. That was the hard part. For whatever reason, the elbows on both arms took the brunt of the soreness. It took me all day yesterday to get it to where I could fit the pieces into the cavities.

Then I mixed up some epoxy, added a bit of ash sawdust (well… sanddust, since it was from sanding, not from sawing) and mixed that in. Having the sanddust in there gives the epoxy a more solid look, and I wanted that in case there were gaps between the zebrawood and its cavity (and there were).

With the epoxy mixed up and poured into the cavity, I set the zebrawood in place, and then poured more epoxy on top of it to fill in any voids. Then came a part that was even harder than scooping out the cavity – waiting for the epoxy to set!

I left it overnight. The zebrawood was about an eighth of an inch higher than the deck, but that was OK. I had borrowed Warran’s benchtop sander (he’s one of the Pathfinder staff members), so I turned the whole thing over on top of that and sanded it until the zebrawood was level with the deck and the spray paint was gone.

I still have to square off the bottom, and varnish the underside (that would be difficult to do if I waited until it were installed). I will varnish the top side after it’s installed, and I am tempted to cover it with a layer of fiberglass just to be sure that zebrawood stays in place forever (fiberglass is transparent when it sets up). Before I can install it, I have to measure the required bevels so that the edges are flat against the gunwales. It will be a rolling bevel, meaning that it is different up at the tips verses down at the base. That part is not easy either.

This deck is a bout 18″ long. It’s funny that something this small is even called a “deck,” but it is. The decks go between the gunwales at either end of the canoe. One normally thinks of a deck as being something that can be stood upon. I suppose you could stand on these, but unless your balance was exceptional, not for very long!