Design for Limited Workshop Space

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Design for Limited Workshop Space

Post by WaVeMaKeR » Tue Sep 19, 2006 11:39 pm


I had originally wanted to built a 17' Prospector in the basement workshop, but after measuring it up, I think a smaller canoe would be better. It'll be my first canoe too, so maybe smaller is better for that reason too. The 15' Bob Special is looking like the canoe of choice. I'll be using it mostly around English Bay/north shore in Vancouver and will also take it on vacation to lakes and rivers around the province.

The workshop is 21' x 12' more or less, but I also own a table saw and a bandsaw. I would like to be able to use these for other small jobs during the year or so I expect it will take to build the canoe. Given the small space, I think the table saw will be stuck in a corner somewhere till I'm done. Oh well. Also, I'd plan to take the planked canoe out to the garage to do the fiberglassing to keep the fumes out of the house. So that would mean moving the strongback. Is moving the strongback and canoe at this phase of the construction feasible? Would it be necessary to re-level it or is the a level and flat strongback no longer needed at this point?

I went out and got the plywood on the weekend to build the strongback, but got stalled when I decided to try and rearrange the working space.

I'd appreciate any feedback someone out there might be able to give on my plan.



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Limited Space

Post by ealger » Wed Sep 20, 2006 10:04 am

Roy, there have been canoes built in smaller spaces and your project will be interesting.
At least 3 feet all around the canoe is recommended. You could get by with a few less inches on the ends but you'll be bumping into the stems a lot.

There are some pictures on this forum of builders who have to roll out their project outside for sanding etc. Unless I'm wrong about this, the hull must be left on the molds for glassing so that means the strongback and all must be moved. Unless you could roll the strongback and all, you'd have to get creative to get it to a place for glassing.

The stems can be glued up on the stem molds while mounted on the strong back if you don't have the luxury of clamping the molds in a vise.
Ed Alger

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Post by WaVeMaKeR » Mon Sep 25, 2006 3:48 pm

Hi Ed,

Well your mention of "rolling" in the post made me think of putting everything on wheels. That's the easiest way to optimize the space for a particular job - that plus adding off-the-ground storage for wood and other supplies, etc.

This will set me back getting started on the canoe until I can build the wheel platforms for the various pieces of equipment, but it will make me a lot happier when I need to rearrange things a little.

Thanks for your help


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Post by sluggo » Sun Oct 01, 2006 12:52 pm

I'm also in Vancouver. I was sure I was going to make a Freedom 17 but for a few reasons I am now reconsidering this. I'm now leaning towards a Bob's Special.

Do you have the plans for this design? I was going to loft them and print them out, I'm just waiting to fix my plotter at work. If you own CanoeCraft but don't have the plans, I can probably give you a set of the plans that I loft.

If you want to contact me about building one of these boats, just send me an email to:
doug at

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Post by Rod Koozmin » Tue Nov 10, 2009 8:28 pm

I made a Freedom 17 in two pieces because my wife :sad refused to let me make a canoe in the living room. It tutned our alright with the bulkhead as I guess you'd call it forming a kind of back rest which I use double paddeling it.

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Post by BradRob » Thu Nov 19, 2009 11:08 am

I have often thought about weels for the strongback but never had done it due to the leveling isues needed when stripping. I would guess though if the stations are secured with battens and the mold wont be disturbed when moving things should be fine durring the stripping process and after wards.

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Re: Design for Limited Workshop Space

Post by digger » Wed Jun 22, 2011 4:40 pm

I'm jumping in on this thread a bit later than the most recent post but I have some questions along similar lines. I'd like to build my strongback on casters for the similar purpose of moving it around my garage (and outside when I am sanding or glassing). Most every garage floor has a slope. But does it really matter? I can build a level strongback in relation to my slab easy enough. But as long as the station molds are built square to the strongback, it seems that until I lay up the first strip, being level is not a huge importance. And after the first strip on both sides, being level doesn't seem to be an issue.

Does anyone agree? I tend to over-analyze things so get ready for more of these questions as I prepare my first venture into canoe building!!

I now have mold plans for a 15' prospector ranger but I'm making sure I understand the process from start to finish before I even build the strongback.

Thanks folks!


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Re: Design for Limited Workshop Space

Post by Glen Smith » Wed Jun 22, 2011 4:53 pm

When installing the second side sheer strip we normally use a level to make sure we get it at the same height as the first one. Actually, the important thing is that everything is square and plumb to the strongback surface. I have aligned the second side sheer strip by measurement rather than by a level and it worked fine.

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