Cedar Strip Canoe Build #2 #1: Strips, Strongback, and Stations

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Blog entry by farmerdude posted 12-14-2015 12:27 AM 1554 reads 1 time favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Cedar Strip Canoe Build #2 series no next part

I forgot to mention before but this in not my first canoe. I have built this model once before, and I also built the Puddle duck model from the same book. So next you need stations (the molds on which you attach the strips). Unfortunately those were already made from the canoe before so I have no pics of that process. Here is the pattern I copied them from (the patterns for eight different models are in the back of the book).

Here are the old stations, they can be used many times.

The plywood is stuff I had laying around.Some is 1/2” some is 5/8”.
Next is the strongback (the framework on which the stations are attached and the canoe is built). The strongback must be as straight and flat as possible. I built this with some dimension lumber I had sawed out a year or so earlier. It’s Hemlock and Fir. The strongback is 14’ long. You can build a canoe that is 2’ longer than the strongback. It is 18” wide and the stations for this model are spaced 18” apart.

My shop is small and crowded so I put the strongback on casters so I can move it around to work on different areas.

In the last pic the pieces of wood piled right in the way are Walnut that was given to me, Walnut is scarce up here, but that is another story. Now lets talk about the strips.

On this canoe I tried ripping the strips on the band saw instead of the table saw. I like it much better. The strips are to be 1/4” thick and I like to make them 7/8” wide. The cedar was roughsawn lumber so I planed it until it was smooth on both sides and it ended up just a whisker over 7/8” thick. That is good because I put a bead and cove on the edges on them so they will fit tighter and they will still be 7/8” wide when I am done. This is the setup I used to rip the strips.

The boards were average 4” wide so with the narrow kerf on the bandsaw I got 12 strips from most of the boards. The total when done was about 360 strips.

The next order of business is to get the bead and cove joints on the edges of the strips, off to the router table.

I have a set of bits that are made special for this job. I tackled the bead first.

I made a couple of quick, but not fancy, feather boards to keep the fingers away. It is not necessary to bead and cove, but I recommend it because of the fit ( less gaps to fill later). It is time consuming and boring, but well worth it to me.
Next it’s time for a bit change and do the coves. That’s when I did something stupid. I use a small combination square to adjust the bit height.If you start the router but forget to remove the square, bad things happen. I heard the loud clang and knew right away what I had done. It wasn’t enough to dull the bit, I had to break the carbide right off.

I got on the phone at 8:30 a.m. which is opening time for MLCS, and ordered a new set. they don’t come as one, you get the pair. The good news , it was $30.00 and free shipping for two new carbide bits (not too bad), the bad news, the lady said 8 to 10 business days for delivery.Oh well, there are other things I can do anyway. Ordered them up. I did not take a pic of the setup with the cove bit, it looks the same anyway.

OK, enough for tonight. If you have any questions or comments feel free.

Cedar $180.00
Foolish mistake (router bit set) $30.00 Total thus far $210.00

-- Jeff in central Me.

7 comments so far

View onoitsmatt's profile


213 posts in 592 days

#1 posted 12-14-2015 02:26 AM

So far, so good Jeff. I love that you are baring your mistakes too. Makes me feel like less of an oaf. I saw the photo of your square before reading what happened. I was thinking, “that looks like something that would happen to one of my tools.” :)

-- Matt - Phoenix, AZ

View ArworksIII's profile


13 posts in 330 days

#2 posted 12-14-2015 12:30 PM

There are many guys in and around the Puget Sound as like minded true craftsmanship…

View farmerdude's profile


606 posts in 1456 days

#3 posted 12-14-2015 08:27 PM

onoitsmatt, if you stick with reading this blog you will probably see more mistakes. Sometimes I do foolish things,and sometimes it seems that certain don’t go right no matter what I do. I plan to post it all, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

-- Jeff in central Me.

View MasterSergeant's profile


1338 posts in 2104 days

#4 posted 12-23-2015 01:19 PM

We all do the foolish thing, human nature I guess. I have a beautifully round gouge on my table saw wing where I lowered my bit while still on the saw!

-- Kelly, woodworker under construction

View Northwest29's profile


1469 posts in 1907 days

#5 posted 12-30-2015 05:33 PM

We all do the foolish thing, human nature I guess. I have a beautifully round gouge on my table saw wing where I lowered my bit while still on the saw!

- MasterSergeant

Well Kelly, you are not alone on this one. I did the same to my new Delta cabinet saw a couple of years ago. It does give it a nice used look though. (-;

-- Ron, Eugene, OR, "Curiosity is a terrible thing to waste."

View English's profile


512 posts in 893 days

#6 posted 02-23-2016 01:02 AM


What kind of cedar did you use for this canoe?

-- John, Suffolk Virgina

View farmerdude's profile


606 posts in 1456 days

#7 posted 02-23-2016 01:42 AM

English, I used Northern White Cedar. Not as pretty as the red stuff they have south of here, but it’s really light, and bends easily.

-- Jeff in central Me.

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