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YoBob's avatar

Anybody out there built a wood strip canoe?

Asked by YoBob (12753 points ) June 6th, 2011

I am removing a problem ceder tree beside my house and would like to do something really cool with the wood. I am considering turning it into a canoe. I am wondering if anyone out there has built a wood strip canoe and can provide feedback on the best books and plans for the project.

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11 Answers

Kayak8's avatar

I have a really good book (the title of which is escaping me but I will go look for it here in a sec). I really applaud your use of the tree in this way—many folks would just burn it!

I decided to check Amazon to see if I recognized the book I liked. Didn’t see it, so I will go to the basement to look, but in the meantime here is one that got high marks that I haven’t seen and this one is specific to cedar.

gailcalled's avatar

@YoBob: When I had a small cedar tree cut down because the deer had completely defoliated it, my b-o-l took the entire trunk and side branches for the edge of his pond. There the turtles rest, sun and have meaningful conversations about people soup. (Recipe on request.)

You can also make hand shakes or shingles and build a lovely chicken or dog house. My b-o-l did that as well, and added climbing roses on the side. Our local paper named it “Most Beautiful Chicken House of 2007.” Then the coyotes and foxes ate all the chickens. But the cedar siding is magnificent.

YoBob's avatar

@Kayak8 Thanks! I look forward to the title if you can find it.

@gailcalled Wow! sounds beautiful. This tree has a rather large trunk and I was considering milling it and making a sauna provided the branches yield enough for the canoe. I’d love to see pictures if you have them.

dabbler's avatar

I saw some really fine examples of wood canoes at the Adirondack Museum
Some were exemplary of the local manufacturers finest, and a few are artisan built.

majorrich's avatar

Our scout troop built a cedar strip canoe as a fund raiser. we raffled off tickets. We got the plans from an old woodworker magazine. Essentially a form is constructed to which the strips are stapled and glued together. Once the shell is completed, the staples are removed and fiberglass is laid over the whole works, It is sanded and smoothed then removed from the form. Fiberglass is then added to the insides and sanded again. We polyurethaned thecanoe, laid the gunwales and seats. all the boys got to sign the bottom of the boat before we finished it.

YoBob's avatar

@majorrich – Sounds like and excellent project!

I was looking at the larger lower branches I removed last weekend and am concerned about the length of strips I can cut from them. Was each strip you used a single unbroken piece long enough to stretch the entire length needed, or are you able to splice shorter strips together to span the longer lengths?

majorrich's avatar

The strips were all 6 feet long so we had to cut and splice a lot. I stapled my finger to the canoe a couple times. We mostly tried to cut the pieces to end at one of the spines on the form. Actually it worked out pretty good.
Using branches and unprocessed wood may cause problems due to the moisture content in the wood. The strips will shrink as the wood dries and cause cracking of the fiberglass.

YoBob's avatar

Thanks @majorrich – I intend to let the wood dry for a couple of months before using it. I’ll be spending that time educating myself on the building process. I’m relieved to hear that you can splice strips. I’ll try to avoid stapling my finger. ;)

AmyAussie's avatar

I built a canoe last summer.It was fun. I would recommend this guide link if you are serious about building boats,canoes and stuff.

have fun!

dabbler's avatar

Welcome aboard @AmyAussie what a great link for boat plans!

YoBob's avatar

Thanks for the link @AmyAussie!

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