|Project by TampaMark||posted 02-21-2013 12:45 PM||7212 views||20 times favorited||50 comments|
From the moment I first saw a wood strip canoe, I knew I wanted to build one. I researched and found Bear Mountain Boat company online. (Note: There are a lot of companies to consider. I chose Bear Mountain because I really liked their online building forum that allowed me to read about a lot of other people’s experiences with their builds. I found this extremely helpful as I ran into different challenges along the way). I purchased a set of plans for their Hiawatha canoe, a copy of Canoecraft by Ted Moores, and off I went. The pictures I posted show various parts of the construction process.
Picture #1 is the finished product sitting on my lawn the day I finished her up.
Picture #2 shows a variety of things. First, I am in the process of milling the wood. I bought 16’ lengths of western red cedar that I ripped to slightly larger than 1/4”. I am in the process of planing all the lengths down to precisely 1/4”. You can see on the table that the strips are grouped together. This is so I can keep track of the color variations in the wood and helps in the selection process when planks are installed on the forms. After planing the wood, I sent all the strips through the router to receive a bead and cove on opposite ends of the planks. You can also see the skeleton of forms on the left side of this picture.
Picture #3 shows me stripping one side of the forms. I glued up three strips at a time alternating between sides. My shop is kind of small, so I had to slide the strongback (what everything sits on) back and forth so I could alternate between sides. The cedar is so light that this wasn’t as big a deal as I thought it might be.
Picture #4 shows me fiberglassing the outside of the hull. This step intimidated me the most and wasn’t as bad as I envisioned. Fiberglassing the inside was a little more challenging due to tight spots at the ends of the canoe, but, overall, I worried way too much about this step.
Picture #5 shows the trimming out of the hull. The gunwales are installed as well as the yoke and the seat frames. This felt more like woodworking than any other part of the process. You can get very creative with how you trim the canoe. I kept it pretty simple.
Picture #6 shows launch day. January of 2012 was the launch. That picture is me shoving off for the first time.
If you ever thought about building a wood strip canoe, I would strongly encourage you to do it. I found the build to be one of the more rewarding projects I have done. And it is easily the most complimented. There is just something about a wood canoe.
One more thought. I chose the Hiawatha design because I liked the look of the curved ends (challenging to trim out, as it turns out) on a canoe (more traditional in my opinion). It also was advertised as an easy canoe to paddle (I am a novice paddler), and it seated two. The canoe measures just over 15’ in length with a beam of 33.5” and weighs right at 50 pounds.
-- -- Mark (maker of high-grade kindling)