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
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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.

Starting to Build

I have decided to start building my first Cedar Strip canoe. I went to Lee Valley and purchased a set of plans for a 17.5' Reb Bird canoe. It is going to take a little while to get started because my workshop (the garage) is currently being used (my wife keeps her car in there for the winter months). Once it warms up, it will be time to start cutting. Has anyone built a Red Bird before?