Need advice on canoe kit or plans

I want to build a wooden canoe (cedar strip? marine plywood? lapstrake?)to take to my primitive cabin on a lake in Nova Scotia. I have a friend who is an experienced woodworker to help. I want a symmetrical canoe 13’ to 16’ long. I want it large enough to accomodate two people but small enough that I can handle it solo in the wind on my lake. My “ideal” canoe would be a an Old Town Guide, but I can not afford the $8,000 price tag, so I’m going to make one, hopefully similar. Does anyone have any advice on either plans or kits? Thanks. EWA

get Gilpatricks
book most of his plans are scale=able and symetrical.

fixer up-er
you could also buy a used cedar canvas canoe in need of repair and learn to fix it.

Just thought that I would add to your options. Many are on Kijiji


kits or plans

here is a website with a large list of plans for many build styles, they sell some of the plans and all of the materials you could need.

Personally I prefer plywood and epoxy for easy to build and light weight designs. if you have never built with this kind of construction build a smaller cheaper boat like a mouseboat, also at duckworks in the boat plans, since they only take one sheet of plywood a disaster at this stage is not such a big deal, once you are comfortable with building a small boat then tackle a larger design.

Also look into CLC, for well explained precut canoe kits that make great looking boats

How much time do you want to invest?

– Last Updated: Feb-09-11 12:18 PM EST –

I have never built a stripper, but most of the guys I know who have done so have invested quite a long time building it, especially if it is the first boat. Maybe not a lot of time per day, but if one only puts on one strip per hull side, it can take a long time to complete the boat.

I do have Gil Gilpatrick's book and I agree he has some nice plans:

If you don't want to spend a long time building the boat, I would suggest a stitch and glue design. I built two stitch and glue kayaks, one from Chesapeake Light Craft (CLC) and one from Pygmy:
Using the stitch and glue technique the hulls go together much more quickly than a stripper, and with less fuss. Either the strip built boat or the stitch and glue will need to be fiberglassed on the exterior.

CLC has some nice canoe models in kit form. I would suggest a kit unless you have the facility to cut out long panels of thin plywood very accurately working from scaled up plans.


– Last Updated: Feb-09-11 11:19 AM EST –

I would discourage you from building the CLC Sassafras 16 if light weight or handling is a priority. I built one and have gotten feedback from experienced canoe paddlers that it's got handling problems. The designers priority was marketing kits, not marketing good designs based on paddling experience. Some of the original Kulczycki designs are real hit and miss. The Sassafras 14 in 6mm ply is a real nice solo canoe but for some reason it was marketed in 4mm as a tandem which was nuts given its small displacement then "retired". From my limited time in the 16 with an experienced canoe paddler he said it tracked poorly. What I experienced as a characteristic you'd find in a whitewater canoe with kind of an indistinct slewing around. "Lap stitch" makes for attractive construction but it was partially an attempt to continue with "no building forms needed!" marketing but in fact forms are needed and in the canoes you can end up with twisted ends if you're not VERY careful.

Pygmys canoe is a good design but big for solo. John Winters has good designs but they're strip. There was a JohnWinters s&g solo called the Osprey in s&g but I haven't seen it lately. I'd go with the Osprey by Green Valley.
CLCs MillCreek 16 is a decent canoe/kayak as is the 13.. It was marketed originally as 55lbs but that was with a 3mm deck, no deck glass and no rudder or seats. 62lbs as advertised is accurate. I wouldn't bother with the stock seats, get a couple of Wenona tractor canoe seats and make them movable/secured to the side panel chine.

Hi –

You are so right about Gil Gilpatrick! I bought his book and spoke with him on the phone. I decided that his “Puddle Duck” plans are perfect for me. I have ordered the cedar from my local lumber yard, should arrive soon and I can get started.

This will be a dream come true for me. THANK YOU so very, very much for your valuable tip.