Getting started on a strip built canoe.

They may seem obvious, but please give me some obvious pointers.

  1. Get plans.I think I have those selected.
  2. Cedar strips. Where to buy?
  3. Equipment needed. I have built two S and G boats so I think I have most of the equipment.Probably need more clamps.

    4.I gather that the strips are epoxied together?Mixing epoxy a strip at a time sounds tedious. Any other glue that works without mixing?

    I’m still trying to talk myself out of this project.

glues and stuff
You may want to borrow or buy 2-3 books on stripping, they each have a different method, and depending where you notice a problem, may get you out of a bad jam.

The strips are glued together. Lots of options, Titebond II or III work well, as does school kid Elmers glue. No gorilla glue, cyanoacrylates, or epoxies needed, they don’t work well for this.

Wood: Rip and mould your own for low cost and lots of trouble, or purchase via DogPaddle works, NY.


You’ll just use regular wood glue to glue the strips together.

try this forum…

Bjorn Thomasson method
I used titebond for my build but if I built another I would consider Bjorn Thomasson’s technique of using square cut strips and stapling them all to the moulds before glueing them all in one go with epoxy.

Use High Density foam INSTEAD
of wood : )

Pat,HDF simply does not have the appeal
of wood.Back when I was a shooter, I loved walnut and blued steel. Now everything is plastic and steel. YuK!

Same principle.

2. Cedar strips. Where to buy?

If you cut your own,you’ll save money. I use a circular saw and walk off the strips. BTW, 3/16" strips weigh less and according to Moore are just as strong in the standard layup. I have but my own bead and cove on strips. It takes about a full day by myself to route the bead and cove. I only did that once and haven’t done it since. Otherwise, Newfound Woodworks is a good option for buying strips.

3. Equipment needed. I have built two S and G boats so I think I have most of the equipment.Probably need more clamps.

You won’t need more clamps unless you’re going to build stapleless. I suggest using staples on your first go. For power tools, I use a saber saw, circular saw, drill/screw gun and random orbital sander. For hand tools, pull saw, Mora knife, sanding block, block plane, assorted squares, string line, level, and a few other misc. hand tools.

4.I gather that the strips are epoxied together?

Elmer’s wood glue is fine.

A nice workshop is great. I did a canoe outside this year and it sucked! Never again. Here’s my write up:

How 'bout balsa?Sorry to antogonize : )

is it going to be a solo
hey string, havent talked to you in awhile. last winter I cut the forms out for a 17’ canoe then went to the lumber yard where I bought my last western red cedar boards (man was I shocked). The price here had went from 2.37 a board foot to over $4. Never went forward with it. The first forms I made I used plywood and a jigsaw , the last I used mdf and a band saw so much faster. Just take a belt sander and smooth up. Good luck


wooden boat forum
You r going to have to Google it but the Wooden Canoe builders forum…its like p net but for canoe builders etc. It associated with wooden boat group…use a few key words and find it…its huge and helpful with places to get wood, parts, plans all and everything


Wooden canoe heritage association forum…no need to go any further

Hay Strang
A buddy of mine is building a strip built canoe so I forwarded your post to him. Here is his response:


Here are my responses.

  1. Check out Bear Mountain Canoes and North West Canoe. I got mine from NWC. I picked a free plan they have for the North West Passage solo. I donated $10.00 to a cause and they email you the plans. There is a printer in Greensboro that will print the plans to scale so you can easily trace your stations. They charged me about 5 bucks. The name of the shop is Southern Photo and Supply on Tate St.

  2. I went with full length strips rather than dealing with multiple scarf joints on shorter strip. Again the two above seem to be the best. However, Bear Mtn is in Canada and shipping, along with customs, made me decide on NWC. NWC is located in Minnesota and shipping is still expensive (about $230.00). They send you the strip, but they are not beaded or coved so I am doing that myself. Freud actually makes router bits specifically for doing this. The part numbers are 99-017 and 99-018 and I found them at Amazon.

    If your gunwales are going to be full length as well, go ahead and get those when you purchase your strip. This will save on another shipping cost. I almost decided to make my own, but I decided to save the time. Also, since the boat will not have any scarf joints in the strips, I did not want any on the gunwales. I’m not sure if you will find vertical grain 17 foot long ash locally.

    If you are using shorter strips and going to scarf the strips together you can save considerably on shipping or probably purchase some locally. The wood store in Gibsonville may be able to help, but they cannot mill it to the 1/4 inch thickness so you will have to do that. You have to decide if you want to spend the time with the milling or not.

  3. I’m looking at about 30 clamps for a 15 foot solo so a 16 or 17 foot may require a few more. It sounds like you probably have most the tools to build you canoe. A small hand plane will be needed to bevel you stems. I used a jig saw to cut my stations, but a ban saw would be better. Some sort of belt sander will be needed to fine tune your stations.

  4. Don’t worry about using epoxy. You’re right that would be way too tedious. I am planning on using waterproof wood glue, slow setting. Think about it, once you glass the hull inside and out, you will have sealed the boat and shouldn’t have to worry about the glue you used. I have a former boat builder on my staff and he has told me the same.

    You can definitely do it cheaper if you decide to scarf pieces together. I just wanted a cleaner look.

    Just make sure you take the time to make a good strong back and that you get your stations set up as precise as you can.

    Also, I am using a book that is very helpful. It is called CanoeCraft by Ted Moores. Get the revised edition if you plan on doing your canoe without staples.

    All said and done, I could have purchased a nice, light fiberglass canoe for about the same price, but that’s not the point now is it.

Hi Jeremy. I hope you and the family
are doing great.

Cousin Kudzu, as you know, the point
is attempting to create something beautiful and useful.

I’m jealous. Wish I had time and talent.

the joy is in the building
Then in the paddling. Anybody can paddle a canoe(kayaK) how many people can build one?

Good for you String!
I agree with all the advice, good input here. I rip strips with a circular saw and homemade jig screwed to the table of the saw. Works great and saves big bucks. Also frees you to pick your own lumber from local shops. I live in North Florida and not much here for strip construction materials but ripping my own I can rummage through the big box inventory or find deals on Craigslist for stock. Also consider you may not need the bead and cove, depending on your design. There will be some planing involved for using flat stock but it’s not that bad. A small ‘pocket plane’ such as the Stanley 12-101 is your friend.

You tube is loaded w/good tutorials also, hard to pick up a technique in print.

If you do buy milled strips check these folks too: They also have a good support forum.

There’s a magical, spiritual moment ahead of you when you’re on the water in a boat you built. Every labor you invested in the build is returned to you. Be patient.

My thoughts after having built one S&G boat and a few paddles:

  1. Good lighting makes everything easier. If/when I build again I’ll put a LOT more light in my workspace before I start.

    2)Good respiratory protection. Cedar dust in particular is nasty stuff. I don’t trust the disposable masks. I use a 3M 7500 half-mask with particle filters for sanding and the appropriate cartridges for epoxy.

    3)Good dust control. Using bags and/or a HEPA filter in your shop vac helps prevent dust from being blown back out. A vacuum attachment on your sander is a must.I found that using scrapers can eliminate a LOT of sanding.

  2. Good basic tools kept sharp. A decent block plane kept sharp is amazingly useful, and you should know how to sharpen scrapers.