I need a little insight.please.

You don't know which boat you should build to suit your personal needs? Please post your questions here and our many contributors will surely have some good advice.
Post Reply
joejoe
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat Jul 27, 2013 4:00 pm
Location: Portage, Indiana U.S.A.

I need a little insight.please.

Post by joejoe » Sat Jan 04, 2014 3:57 pm

First let me say hello, I've been a member here for a few years but never posted. I have been wanting to build a canoe for just about my whole life. I've had my own canoe in one form of another since 1982, In 1985 or so Popular mechanics had an article and plans about building a cedar strip, that's when the fire was sparked.
Looking back I think I've been honing my skills with out knowing it. I've build steam bent long bows, glassed surfboards and dune buggies, made my own furniture and countless other projects that have the same skill set as boat building.

Up until now I have not had the room to build but in the few months I will be having a new house build which will include a heated pull barn. My wife already knows as soon as the last picture is hung on the wall I will be in the shop working on my life long dream.

Now my delemma ....what boat? My minds eye sees a Red bird but my practical side sees a Prospector. I have paddled in all kinds of conditions up to class 3 white water in boats designed for the purpose at hand but now I have a cabin on a lazy river that rarely sees anything faster than about 3-4 miles an hour in flood conditions MAX.I paddle about 60 or so miles a year mostly just letting the current do the work. The river my cabin is on doesn't have any rocks or rapids but does see a good amount of tree falls to navigate.

I love the lines of the Redbird but do I need a Corvette if I only drive the speed limit ? I now paddle a OldTown plastic prospector that is a bardge but solid as a rock. My question is will a Bear mountain prospector be similar to the Oldtown? And how well does the Redbird turn, is it a good river boat? I do need to made some quick moves around some fallen trees.

Thank you for any insight, I'm sure I will be building more than one but I'd like the first one to be special since I have been waiting almost 30 years to build her.

User avatar
Patricks Dad
Posts: 1378
Joined: Wed Oct 13, 2004 1:11 pm
Location: Warrenville, Illinois

Re: I need a little insight.please.

Post by Patricks Dad » Sat Jan 04, 2014 4:28 pm

I think your very last sentence provides the primary guidance you should consider strongly. You will build more than one boat so it doesn't much matter which one you start with. In my opinion the Redbird is the most beautiful of all the Bear Mountain Boat designs (disclosure: it's the boat I built first). It's lines are simply wonderful.

But that said, it's probably not the best river boat you could pick (the Prospector as you suggest or several other designs would probably be a better match). The Redbird is designed for traveling on lakes and tracking well is one of it's strengths. But with two people in it with the right paddling skills, it will do rivers just fine. Paddled solo in reverse from the bow seat it's even more maneuverable (it's a symmetric design).

You will never regret building a Redbird. You will of course want to build another (and another) canoe after the Redbird but you won't regret the Redbird.

Have a great time with your build.
Randy Pfeifer
(847) 341-0618
Randy.Pfeifer1@gmail.com

User avatar
Jim Dodd
Posts: 1178
Joined: Wed Feb 08, 2006 11:08 pm
Location: Iowa

Re: I need a little insight.please.

Post by Jim Dodd » Sat Jan 04, 2014 8:43 pm

Hi Joe !
As Randy stated you'll be happy with what ever you build.

I like, nearly everybody I know started with a tandem. The reality is I wind up paddling by myself, or a larger group. It's not always easy to find a partner to go when you want to.

I'd advise a solo for your first boat. I takes less time, less materials, and there is nothing like a solo paddle to relieve the tensions of everyday life !

If you go with a tandem, go for something you can easily handle solo.

My first boat was the very same boat you mentioned from Popular Mechanix. I still have it, but rarely paddle it. I much prefer a solo built for more efficiency.

Best of luck, and you've come to the right place for assistance !

Jim
Keep your paddle wet and your seat dry!

joejoe
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat Jul 27, 2013 4:00 pm
Location: Portage, Indiana U.S.A.

Re: I need a little insight.please.

Post by joejoe » Sat Jan 04, 2014 11:17 pm

Thanks for the quick responses guys, Patrick's Dad I have followed your builds for a long time and admire your work. Jim it's funny that you say to build a solo first, I have been considering that. The only time I have been in the drink in recent years is due to novice paddlers in my boat. I always have my plastic barge for the family. I am drawn like most to the lines of the more recurved profiles. I have read canoe craft about six times and already drafted the redbird. Any suggestions for a traditionally styled solo? maybe a Hiawatha set up as a solo?

User avatar
Jim Dodd
Posts: 1178
Joined: Wed Feb 08, 2006 11:08 pm
Location: Iowa

Re: I need a little insight.please.

Post by Jim Dodd » Sun Jan 05, 2014 10:04 am

The Hiawatha would make a great solo!
It was my first tandem that I paddled solo, and really liked!
Any solo that is designed with some tumblehome is good also, but for a beginner, a little more daunting to build.
I myself would not hesitate to build another Hiawatha! Mine was built from the offsets from the early edition of Canoecraft. It seems to me the new edition is slightly different.
Maybe someone will chime in on this.

Good luck, and let us know what you decide.
Jim
Keep your paddle wet and your seat dry!

User avatar
Jim Dodd
Posts: 1178
Joined: Wed Feb 08, 2006 11:08 pm
Location: Iowa

Re: I need a little insight.please.

Post by Jim Dodd » Sun Jan 05, 2014 10:31 am

Hi again Joe
Any cedar strip canoe is beautiful, but add an accent strip, and you elevate its beauty a notch. Just take a look at some of the canoes on this site, and you will see my point.
Good luck
Jim
Keep your paddle wet and your seat dry!

Rabbit
Posts: 121
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 8:20 pm
Location: Downunder

Re: I need a little insight.please.

Post by Rabbit » Sun Jan 05, 2014 6:39 pm

in terms of a fairly easy build you might want to consider the bob's special. i'm no wood worker, but i think the fact that it has fairly gentle lines means there's no severe twisting or shaping to deal with. my original intent was for a boat i could fish from and handle solo. i'm not sure what the weight of your prospector is, but i suspect that careful choice of materials will provide you with a craft light enough to give you the maneuverability you want despite lacking a huge amount of rocker. :thinking

sedges
Posts: 291
Joined: Fri Jul 09, 2004 5:37 pm
Location: georgia

solo plans

Post by sedges » Sun Jan 05, 2014 10:58 pm

The selection of solo canoe plans with the traditional lines you are looking for are limited. The nicest one I have seen is the Jerry Stelmok Willowisp, 14'6"X30" I believe and the lines are inspired by the old EM White tradition. There are pictures on Jerry's Website. The plans are in the Building the Maine Guide Canoe book 2003 or later version. I have never seen the plans, but I assume they are for building the forms for a wood/canvas hull and some serious and careful redrawing would need to be done for wood strip building.

If anyone has information on building the Willowisp in strip construct please chime in!

I long ago drew forms for the 15'X30" Rushton Ugo that is in the Rushton and His Times in American Canoeing book. It has a serious V-bottom hull, but I find it very seaworthy in rough conditions and a pleasure to paddle, although I have seen folks step into it and fall out before they even sat down. The table of offsets in the book draws the stations to the outside of the planking. I took a 3/16th inch strip of plexiglass and bent it around the inside of finishing nails to reduce it by planking thickness. It worked well.

All that said, if you can get past the need for the high curved stems, you will find that the new designs like the Freedom 15 2/16 2 are way better boats to paddle. Handling a solo in a good breeze is hard enough without all that surface area in the high ends that contribute nothing to the handling, paddling efficiency or seasworthiness of the canoe - only to its looks. Being a great fan of canoes of all types for nearly 60 years I can understand the desire for a certain look. I also encourage folks to see beyond that to equally important characteristics.

joejoe
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat Jul 27, 2013 4:00 pm
Location: Portage, Indiana U.S.A.

Re: I need a little insight.please.

Post by joejoe » Mon Jan 06, 2014 8:39 am

Thanks again for the responses, I'm trying not to get hung up on the high-enders. I think my main objective is to build a good looking boat designed for light loads, day trip river running with the occational partner.
I would love a boat with some history in design. Difficult builds do not intimidate me, I am a custom sheet metal fabricator by trade and wood is a little easier material to work with (wish it could be welded).

Post Reply