Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The building continues!!!!

Hi everyone!

I have continued with the building of my first Cedar Strip Canoe. I have completed all the stripping and most of the outside sanding is done. So far everything looks great. Check it out on my web site:

Hope you enjoy it. Let me know what you think. Thanks.


Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Basics of Building a Cedar Strip Canoe

The canoe has been around for many years and there are many different types. Some of the earlier ones were dugouts and Birch-bark. later there was a move to the Cedar strip but these were labor intensive to build. In recent years, there has been a move to the Fiber glass or plastic. However, I feel that the Cedar Strip is still the best type or all around canoe. It is also one of the most beautiful boat that you can find.
Building a Cedar Strip takes time and patients (and maybe a little skill). There are several basic steps that should be followed in order to complete the construction properly. However, there are numerous things that can be done to change the general appearance to please you. Some of the basic steps include Pre-Planning, Set-up, Milling Strips, Bending stems, Stripping, Sanding, Fiber Glassing Inside/Outside, Adding Trim/Gunwales/Decks, Adding Yoke/Thwarts, Varnish, and Testing.
Pre-Planning: In this stage it is very important to think the project through. You must consider which canoe to build, were you are going to build it, what tools are required, where you are going to purchase supplies, the type of wood you want to use (especially for the trim and accents), and of course - your budget. Some of these may seem like minor thing but if they are not considered, they may come back to haunt you.
Set-up: First step here would be to transfer the Forms from the plans to the wood. It is much easier if you purchase plans contain full size Forms (no need for dividers or math). Ensure the Forms are traced out exactly on the wood. I would suggest that you use 2 sheets of 5/8" (minimum) plywood. Cut these Forms out with a Jigsaw and sand them smooth. Next you will need to build a strongback. The plans usually comes with a description of the construction. This part of the construction does not have to be pretty but it has to be straight and sturdy. The Strongback is designed to hold the canoe until the outer shell is built. Finally, you will have to secure the Forms onto the Strongback. This step is very critical. If everything is not perfect, the whole canoe will be off. Ensure the center line of the Forms is line up with center line of the strongback. Then ensure the forms are level (vertically) and secure in place with screws. Remember that the screws will have to be removed after the canoe shell is built and you want to remove it from the strongback.
Milling Strips: These strips will be used the construct the canoe shell. It is important that they are all the same size. Thus, ensure that you make enough at the start (you will need about 80). Run all the boards through a planner to make sure that they are the same thickness. The boards should be approximately 3/4" when finished. Then set up a method of cutting the strips. Some people use a Band Saw but unless you have an industrial size one, you should use a Table Saw. Cut all the boards up into strips that are approximately 1/4" thick. You can also cut the accent strips the same size if you like. Next, you will need to run all of the strips through the Router to put a Bead on one side and a cove on the other. This cove and bead will help with the stripping process. The bead should be cut first because it is less fragile than the cove.
Bending Stems: The stems will need to be constructed prior to any strips being put on. Both the front and back will have an inner and an outer stem. They are made from small strips of wood being laminated together. Set up a small steamer and steam the wood for 20 - 30 minutes. Place all of the strips of wood in the correct order (the order that they will be placed in when finished) and bend around the stem forms. Clamp in place and allow to fully dry. Once drying is complete, they can be removed. The inner and outer stems should now be kept separate. Place some Epoxy between the strips and put some wax paper between the inner and outer stems. Clamp in place again and allow the Epoxy to dry.
Stripping: Stripping is relatively easy but it can be time consuming. Start at the shear line with the first strip. This is the only strip that should be screwed in place to ensure that it does not move. After you have one strip on each side, you can complete the remaining stripping. Go all the way up each side until the 'football' shape in the middle, is filled in.
Sanding Outside: This is where you will need lots of elbow grease and a Orbital Sander. The outer hull must be sanded very smooth. Start with 80 grit and work your way up to 220 grit. Remove all the flaws that were caused by the construction.
Fiber Glassing Outside: Once the sanding is completed, the hull is ready for Fiber Glass. It is best to apply a this cost of resin to the wood first. This will help prevent thing such as off gassing and air bubbles. Once the resin has dried you can apply the cloth. The cloth can be 6 oz and should be wide enough to cover the hull (60" should do it). lay the cloth over the hull and allow it to stretch for a couple of hours. Then you can apply the resin to the cloth. After this has fully dried you can lightly sand and add more resin. You can apply as many coats of resin as you like to remove any imperfections (but remember, resin adds weight). After this is all completed, the hull can be removed from the strongback and turned over.
Sanding Inside And fiber glassing Inside: On the inside, you will follow the same basic procedure as the outside.
Trim, Gunwales, and Decks: In these areas the work is pretty much straight forward but it can take lots of time. This is where you can really express yourself with lots of accent pieces. Decide what you would really like to see and just go for it. It am sure it will look wonderful.
Varnish: This is another easy step. Find yourself some quality Varnish and apply it all over the Canoe. Apply several coats (4-6 should be good). This will give you that final finish and lots of protection.
Testing: Some people would say that this is the best part (I like the building part). Find yourself some water and have fun. Make sure you take lots of pictures and share them with everyone else.
Buck Fillier writes on small construction project issues. You can learn more by visiting my blog, Cedar Strip RedBird Canoe - Buck's Blog Source:

Monday, February 23, 2009

Western Red Cedar - A Multi-Purpose Softwood

Whether you’re building a sauna, gazebo, greenhouse, patio deck, canoe or casket, odds are against you finding a more suitable softwood for your project than Western red cedar. Just ask any of the expert craftsmen who for years have been using Western red cedar to build high-quality wood products for their own use as well as for the enjoyment of other discerning people around the world.
Also known as canoe cedar, shinglewood and Pacific cedar, Western red cedar is the lightest weight softwood in common commercial use today. Its unique cell structure and low density give it an insulation value superior to most other species. Rated the best softwood in both paint holding ability and natural durability against decay, Western red cedar responds very well to cutting, sawing, nailing, planning, boring, screwing, mortising, moulding, gluing and staining as well. In addition to laying flat, staying straight, and retaining fasteners well, Western red cedar is renowned for its high impermeability to liquids; natural oils encourage water to run off instead of soaking into the wood.
Western red cedar’s warm, rich coloring, which ranges from a light straw color to a reddish pink, is complimented by a uniform, fine-grained texture with a satin luster, and its aroma is unmistakably cedar. An exceptionally durable wood whose ability to receive paint and stain finishes allows a wide range of effects to be achieved, Western red cedar is ideally suited for use in high humidity and other severe weather conditions. Given all of its strengths, it’s no wonder Western red cedar is so widely used in sauna construction.
Centuries ago, native North American Indians carved their totem poles and split lumber for their lodges from Western red cedar, and today it continues to be a popular choice for home saunas, gazebos, outdoor decks, and, interestingly enough, utility poles. Society’s long dependence on it proves without a doubt that Western red cedar has endured as a multi-purpose softwood.
Pertti Olavi Jalasjaa is the Finnish-born author of “The Art of Sauna Building,” an acclaimed reference book on sauna construction. He is also the general manager of Great Saunas, which has been manufacturing and selling high-quality saunas and sauna kits to sauna enthusiasts around the world since 1974. Visit Great Saunas online at
Article Source:

Free Canoe Plans To Experience The Joy Of Canoe Building

Boats have been around a long time in the history of human civilization. In the olden days, people sailed and paddled boats and canoes to do a lot of the important things in life such as traveling, fishing, hunting, and so on. This noble craft has contributed very well to the survival and flourishing of people in the days gone by. It is just sad to think the less and less people are interested with boats and canoes these days. Many considered it to be only a hobby that is rather passé. It’s a good thing that there are still some people who enjoy this age-old pastime. Not only that, there are still people who are trying to engage on a much nobler aspect of boating which is building canoes. This is even made more possible with the increasing accessibility of information which allows people to gain access to free canoe plans.
What Makes of a Canoe?
Canoes are basically boats and have the basic components that most boats have, but there are also certain parts that distinguishes a canoe from other boats. Here are the fundamental parts of canoes:
Bow – this is the front of the canoe, it is pointed and responsible for making the boat slide through the water smoothly.
Stern – this is the rearmost tip of the canoe, unlike in most boats, the stern is pointed for the canoe.
Hull – this is the body of the canoe and is mainly responsible for keeping the boat afloat.
Seat – this is where the passenger of the canoe sit.
Thwart – situated near the top of the hull, this is a horizontal bar that helps maintain support.
Gunwale – this is the technical term for the side of the boat.
Deck – under this part is the foam block which serves as the floatation device of the canoe.Classic canoes are usually made of wood. The early canoes are just made by just burrowing our of tree trunks. Such heavy canoes are hard to transport and is quite impractical for modern leisurely purposes. Today’s canoes are usually made of wood strips that are lighter and more functional. Using strips also allows greater flexibility in designing boats. Wood strips are usually cut from cedar trees that have been found to be sturdy and easy to manage. More high-tech canoes are made from other strong and lightweight materials such as plywood, aluminum, polyethylene, wood-and-canvas combinations, fiberglass, and Royalex.
Canoe Designs
The typical canoe designs feature a point front and back, this distinguishes it from other kinds of boats. In the early days of canoe crafting, people generally followed a basic design that usually conforms with the log being used. People had the canoe plans written on their minds in stead of on paper. Builders freely chose the designs they used for the boats. But as time went on, people became more experienced with the craft. They learned techniques of making boats more efficient and durable. Such techniques and designs were then written to help pass on information about canoe building to future generations. Today these plans are made available not only for professional builders but also the hobbyists. Some of such plans are even sold, and fortunately some of them can be obtained for free.
Where to avail of Free Canoe Plans
Magazines and books dedicated on canoes usually feature good designs that can be used by amateur builders. But one does not need to buy such publications to get canoe plans. Several websites now offer canoe plans free of charge, making this great hobby accessible to many.
If you want more information on coleman canoes and solo canoes vist our site at
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Friday, February 20, 2009

Buying material

I was wondering if any knows the best place to purchase materials for the canoe. I am looking for Cedar wood, other wood for trim/accents, and Fibre Glass cloth/resin/hardener. I do not have a large budget for this project because I am building it for a friend and I am only charging him for material. I am living in eastern Ontario and something close to Ottawa would be great. Thanks.