• Making a Cedar Strip Canoe

    Hi everyone

    When I joined I promised to write up the building of my canoe once i'd built it. Having put it in the water on wednesday, here goes!

    Not sure why I chose these plans, knowing nothing about canoeing ( i do a lot of sailing and rowing and thought canoeing looked fun!) i ordered the plans from Green Valley boat works - www.greenval.com in canada. I cant recommend these guys enough - really helpful, and they replied to any email queries immediately. As well, the plans were really clear for a first-time canoebuilder like myself. If anyone's interested, the design is a Kipawa.

    These aren't a tutorial, just more of a diary of how we did it...

    Anyway, i put the first strip on on New Year's day... I nailed each strip to Each station mould and put staples in between to hold the planks close together. A flawless way of doing this is to use an intricate system of clamps, but I didn't really have the time - it takes a lot longer to do it this way!

    The planks were Western Red Cedar, 6mm thick. they were Bead and Cove strips - therefore one edge was concave, the other convex, so they fit tightly together leaving no gaps.

    The strongback was of a design on the plans, basically two planks made of three layers of ply each, arranged in a 'T' shape. The station moulds were cut out of MDF and fixed to the strongback via blocks of pine.

    The first step - sorry no pics - was to laminate up the inner and outer stems for both ends, plane a taper and bevel in and fix the inner ones to the mould. The outer stems get glued on once the planking is finished (see a bit further down...)

    Basically I've been building it since in the university holidays...

    Slowly working up the sides of the mould

    ...and around the bilge.

    Then planked up over the centreline on one side, and cut it back so it was straight. Then you have to cut the ends of the other planks to fit..

    Finished the planking

    Then mortised out a slot for and glued on the outer stems... they needed a lot of rope to keep them tight round the bend!

    The hull sanded and ready for its sealer coat of epoxy and layer of fibreglass. Before i did this I had to fill a lot of nail holes with 2mm dowel - actually quite a theraputic job!!

    The hull with its sealer coat and layer of fibreglass on. Unfortunately no-one in the UK supplies 60 inch wide cloth, and it would have been very expensive to import it from the US so i had to join it down the middle, covering the join with fibreglass tape. luckily you can't see it, so that worked out ok!

    The inside being sanded - probably my least favourite part of the whole build - there were glue stains, masking tape from the mould edges - horrible !

    The inside fibreglassed

    Gluing on the gunwhales - we had to borrow clamps off of everyone we know!! The bit of pine across the boat was to check the width was ok.

    One of the decks - we chose a complicated design which was a bit like the jigsaw puzzle from hell to get to fit, but once glued in and sanded they looked fantastic.

    One of the seats - the plans were purchased again from www.greenval.com - they have a very clever way of clamping the four bits together so they don't move and so you get the best possible grain. It also included caning instructions to get the interesting pattern, which incidentally makes it extremely comfortable.

    Because we didnt make a great job of sanding the inside (it was a horrible job and we got bored!) we painted it - this turned out great, and in fact enhances the colour and grain of all the wood.

    The inside painted, the outside varnished and the gunwhales varnished. All it's waiting on now is the seats and yoke.

    The finished article, 20th Sept - put a bow slider seat in and made a laminated support for the aft end - ended up looking good. The seat slides along two paralell bars and is located by four stainless Z shape pieces.

    Ready for launching, and now all i have to do is to learn to paddle it! (in the next post!)
    This article was originally published in forum thread: My Cedar Stripper - launched at last! started by kipawa View original post