TheCanoeBuilder.com – Building a Cedar Strip Canoe

Welcome to TheCanoeBuilder.com, a site designed to help you build your own cedar strip canoe.

I have built several canoes over the years. I began with fiberglass and polyester resin boats laid up in a fiberglass mold. While fairly easy to make they were heavy. Cedar strip construction, on the other hand, results in a much lighter canoe. A lighter canoe is easier to portage and handles better.

A regular fiberglass canoe is not as attractive as a cedar strip canoe, either. No wood strip canoe is exactly like any other, even if they use the same patterns. The simple reason is that no two trees are alike, and each piece of wood varies from it’s neighbor. A fiberglass canoe comes out of a mold, and each is almost exactly the same. With a wood strip boat you can re-arrange the stations, change the rocker, and adjust the profile, so each boat can be unique in many ways with simple changes.

Building a wood strip canoe is more work than a regular fiberglass canoe, but the results make it worth it. Like all good things, it requires effort. You begin by making (or buying) the strips and stations. You then tack and glue the strips in place. After than comes sanding of the outside, and then application of the epoxy. Once that’s done you take the boat off the forms, turn it over and sand the inside. After the inside gets epoxied you attach gunnels, thwarts and seats.

Although the work takes some time and space it is something that can be done slowly, bit by bit. If you are unhappy with the way something looks you can simply backtrack and do it over until you are satisfied with it. The tools required can be minimal, especially if you can buy the strips ready made or manufacture them off site. However, if you have a table saw, a router and some sort of portable sander you can do everything yourself. Of course, if you’re like many woodworkers you can use this project to justify the purchase of all kinds of extra tools!

The page is organized by blog posts. I deal with each stage of the process in a post. The stages are:

  • Strongback
  • Stations
  • Strips
  • Application
  • Exterior Sanding
  • Exterior Expoxy and Fiberglass Fabric
  • Removal From Stations
  • Interior Sanding
  • Interior Expoxy and Fiberglass Fabric
  • Gunnels
  • Decks and Thwarts

Each stage/ blog post can be found on the blog or by doing a category search.

Get started and have fun!

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