View Full Version : Anyone here built a cedar strip canoe?

09-08-2011, 12:52 AM
Have any of you built a cedar strip canoe? We are considering taking one on over the winter and I would love to talk to someone who has some experience in building one.


09-14-2011, 03:33 PM

I have, about 8 years ago. It is a great, but time consuming/addictive project.

If I would make two suggestion they would be these:

Read Canoe Craft by Ted Moores. It will guide you all the way through. I understand they also have dvd instruction videos as well. I am sure that is worth haaving as well.

Sign and join their builders forum I would compare it to this forum in terms of wealth of knowledge from the participants and a willingness of the experts to accept and help a new builder.


You can buy the whole kit through Bear Mountain Boats, but I just went ahead and built and milled everything myself from the stongback, forms, cutting the strips, milling the strips and so on. If you have any ability with woodworking material you can do this. I built the Freedom 17.

09-14-2011, 09:42 PM
Thank you for the response I thought it was a dead topic. I have the book and have been reading it. I am leaning towards doing all my own wood as well. I dont have a ton of woodworking experience however I am the first male on either side of the family that didnt go into construction full time so I am very familiar with the basics of construction which from what I can tell so far should pretty much cover the build up to glassing. Do you recall where you bought your wood?

09-15-2011, 12:51 AM
If you have a table saw, router, and a jig saw (or bandsaw) (maybe a planer) and dedicated space you have what you need. The worst part for me was the glassing. Having never worked with fiberglass sheets before or since, that was a challenge for me. But it worked out okay, it still floats.

Where to get the wood mostly depends on what type of wood you want to use. Obviously desired weight and color will factor into your choice as well as what is available locally. I have seen some made of hardwoods, but they are heavy. I have seen some made from pine and cypress. Some complain that pine/cypress are too light in color but I think they are actually pretty. When I was deciding I struggled because most of my local (Southern Indiana) choices were hardwood or pine. I did end up using cherry for the stems, gunwales, and thwart and that came from a local mill. But I did want a light boat so the hardwoods were out after that. I did briefly consider sassafras, it is a bit lighter that most hardwoods and easy to work with, in my opinion anyway. Also, available locally. But frankly, I got dumb lucky and found a local lumber yard that just happend to have clear western red cedar in 16-18 foot lengths. My accent strip I made from redwood, which I may have gotten from Home Depot. I remember that discussion coming up on the Bear Mountain forum about where to get lumber to mill strips. Some members said they made a practice of running to the local Home Depot and they would find a shipment of cedar planks and just sort through them to get the best pieces. While at a local Menards this past weekend buying some 2x4's, I saw a rack of studs made out of a red cedar of some sort. And it was clear stuff, hardly any knots. So check around at the big box stores, you may get lucky. Not sure where you are and what local lumber yards you may have there but if you want western red cedar, your best bet might be to just have someone order it for you. But it will probably cost. Make sure if you do to make it clear to the place that you are ordering through that it has to be clear of most any knots. If you are anywhere near the western part of TN or south, you may want to check into some local mills to see if you can get some cypress. Wish I had a better answer for you but in the end you'll just have to do alot of networking. or picking.

09-15-2011, 01:00 AM
I am actually located about 30 mins from the LRO and the GSMNP. Thanks for the info it is much appreciated. I have to look at the cash flow as my dog apparently has torn his acl and may require surgery but if all goes well I still would like to try to do a build over the winter. I had planned on using cedar but may look into other woods such as cypress as that sounds like a very interesting direction to go with it. Thanks again for the input.