stripper questions

I’ve always enjoyed woodworking, and am increasingly finding the urge to combine my love of the craft with my love of paddlecraft and build either a strip canoe or kayak. Since I already own a kayak, the canoe is likely going to be my first (note the designation…there will likely be more) project. The other thread on the cedar strip canoe got me thinking on it a little more.

I’ve got a single car garage, 28’ from door to back wall that my truck normally lives in, so I’ve got room for the project. The garage is poorly insulated, but rarely does it drop much, if any, below freezing in the winter; and a small electric heater can raise it a few degrees and actually bring about half the garage to t-shirt temperatures (which for me is still about 40°) I’ve got most of the obvious tools one would think of for a project such as this; miter box, various saws (miter, coping, crosscut, circular) block plane, R.O. palm sander, chisels…

What I would like to build would probably be a solo canoe, sub-13’ (13’ is the minimum length for having to put those aweful letters and decals on your boats here) stable enough to fish out of. I’m a pretty creative packer, so I can fit a LOT of gear in a small space.

I’m curious to know if I’m missing any essential tools for the task, and about how much a project like this might cost.

Of course, I know, check out and a myriad of other sites that are frequently listed here, but before I venture out there, I thought I’d pick the brains of the artisans here (who, from pictures they’ve posted of their work, are unbeleivably talented individuals)

Feather Weight Boatbuilding
Sounds to me like you’ve got the space and tools. Now you need some instruction and plans. Since you want/need to keep your craft unter 13’, I suggest you find a copy of Feather Weight Boatbuilding by Mac McCarthy .

I built the Wee Lassie II which is 13.5’. A great little boat. The Wee Lassie, however, is 11.5’, which will get you under the 13’ rule.

The book is nice. It makes things simple to understand.

Also, see this

Canoe building

Couple of options you can consider. I’ve built 3 strippers and love them all. The construction is straight forward. I’d recommend David Hazen’s Strippers guide to canoe building. There are also sights on the web that give great info. This is a labor intense process and you’ll have to be committed to alot of time.

Alternatives are building a Kevlar boat. These are made similar to a stripper only you strip the boat with styrofoam, fair the mold with spackle and then mold the boat over it. Much quicker and you get a boat that will do battle with rocks.

I’ve made two ultralight boats this winter. These are dacron on wood frames. More like making a model airplane that a boat. Contruction is alot of fun and very straightforward. My twelve foot boat weighs about 12#. The downside is it looks very fragile. I’ve only paddled it once and it was a joy, but you probably would have to be very careful with the boat. Just my two cents. Good luck. There is nothing like paddling a boat you built. Toodles,frogge.

Laughing Loon
I built Rob Mack’s WeeTwo, it’s a stretched Wee Lassie, mine is 12’10", set up with tandem seats and I interchange between a kneeling thwart and a portage yoke in the center depending on use.

If you plan to start with boards rather than a kit you will need a table saw and a router w/table and possibly a planer as well.


Built mine in a similar setup
in a Michigan, non-insulated garage. During cold months, I portioned off part of my garage with a plastic “curtain”. It reduced the heating size of my work area which meant my glue dried in 5-10 minutes as opposed to 40-60. This is a big deal when you want to glue down more than 3 stips on a saturday.

Buy the canoe/kayak kitted unless you’re interested in buying $1000 worth of tools (tablesaw router+table and planer) to mill your strips. Since you are a woodworker, it may be a good excuse to buy these… Keep in mind your epoxy/resin plus fabric will be around 3-500 depending on what type you used. I used West Systems ultra clear and the results are incredible.

I bought kitted and had a very similar handtool setup when building and it worked out fine. The only thing I don’t see was a tool indispensible to me…a 5" Porter Cable orbital sander…that cost around $80. I believe it’s called Quicksand. Can use it to hand trim stips a mm at a time and throughout the building process.

There are plenty of sources out there for kit’s and plans. I’ve used with good success. I also used the book “CanoeCraft” as my building bible. I didn’t have a lick of woodworking experience, but this book helped me a great deal.