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by Glenn Sirmans - Milledgeville, Georgia – USA

I remember when, in my pre-teen years, wanting a boat with outboard for Christmas. Instead, that Christmas morning was bitter-sweet when seeing a beautiful, light blue fiberglass canoe in the living room floor. I was able to “try-out” this fine craft in a flooded pasture across the road that same day. It was a “rainy” Christmas and the lust for an outboard motor “waned” very quickly. This started my love for canoes. The Canoe represents freedom, adventure and the ability to slip quietly down the creek to see wild-life, Indian-Style. I still have this canoe today after 36 years. (It’s been repainted.)

I still have this canoe today after 36 years.

When I started working with wood, I would think how (almost) impossible it would be to build a real Cedar Strip canoe. After building a few “stitch-n-glue” boats the desire to do a Stripped Canoe grew stronger. There are two books that pretty much cover every thing on Strip Canoes, from making and caning your own seats, building paddles, and doing a fine varnish finish.

Building a Strip Canoe by Gil Gilpatrich.

CanoeCraft by Ted Moores.

The construction starts with building a strongback to hold the forms. The strips are ripped on a table saw and a “bead & cove” is routered on the edges. This edge allows a close fit with the curved edges of a canoe. This bit is sometimes called a “Canoe Bit” and is a big help with the hull construction.

The construction starts with building a strongback to hold the forms.
A“bead & cove” is routered on the edges.

The strips are glued along the edges and stapled to the forms. Masking tape is used to prevent gluing the hull to the forms. This is where the fun starts, mixing and matching the different colors of the wood from side to side. The stems are made from Aspen, steamed and shaped on the stem forms and glued together with epoxy.

The stems are made from Aspen, steamed and shaped on the stem forms and glued together with epoxy.

The seat was made using Gil Gilpatrick’s instructions; the cane material is the vinyl plastic type for outdoor use. Making the seat is easier than it looks. It turned out to be very comfortable.

The seat was made using Gil Gilpatrick’s instructions.

The final weight before varnishing, to my delight, was 47 lbs. I was amazed how the boat strengthened with the epoxy going from a “green-cure” to totally cured in 3 to 4 days. The build has been very enjoyable. Anyone thinking of doing one of these should “dive-in” and go for it…..

I’ll list the Wood “recipe”……the choices are mainly used because it’s what I could fine at my local lumber place….

Gunwales- Poplar, ¾ inch by ½ inch. They are tapered and steamed on each end to curve to the high profile.

Inwales- ¾ inch by ¾ inch Red-oak, the “scuppers” are routered. This gives it that traditional look and also helps with bending to the shape of the canoe without loosing much strength.

Decks, Thwarts and Seat Frame- Red-Oak. The decks I shaped with a disk grinder and sanding wheel.

Hull- White Cedar, ripped from 1 by 6’s. You get a good color variation with each board.

Stems- Aspen. This is a dense and very “bendable” wood when steamed or soaked in water.

Contrasting colours of the timber.
Classic lines forward and aft.
Finished Canoe

Reference: BearMountainBoats.com

…If you Build’em, you can Repair’em…

*****

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