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
||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
||The construction starts with building a strongback
to hold the forms.
||A“bead & cove” is routered on
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
||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
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.
…If you Build’em, you can Repair’em…