Share your perspective?

This is the place for everything that doesn't fit elsewhere.
David James
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Post by David James » Sun Apr 02, 2006 10:03 am

Hi Joan,

Five years ago I saw my first cedar strip canoes at an art fair (how appropriate!) in Spring Green Wisconsin. I was very impressed by their balance of strength and beauty and utility; heck, I was captivated. When I got back home I went to the library hoping to find some information on them, and there on the shelf was a copy of Canoe Craft. Ted’s book showed me all the steps involved in the building process and not only made it look possible, but much less intimidating and more fun.

Why am I building a canoe? I love to build things with wood, and the thought of being able to actually float along in something I put together myself motivates me. I once kept my motorcycle perfectly maintained and tuned. Driving it on a long trip with the comfortable confidence in my own mechanical abilities and discipline was a great feeling, and I think building my own boat will be much the same experience. A bit quieter and much safer to be sure, but I’ll have that same confidence in my own work.

I chose the strip method because it allows the builder to be creative and personalize his or her boat by using different colors and types of wood. Some of the color schemes and wood combinations that I have seen are just beautiful.

“That’s nice, but I would never put it in the water.” Hey, that’s what I it made for. It’s more fun than buying one of a thousand canoes with an eleven digit serial number stamped on the hull.
My Freedom 17? Serial No. 1. :wink

My biggest concern was the fiber glassing. The old saying, “you learn by doing” applies to me here. I was real worried about messing up my woodwork with a bad epoxy job, but with the help and encouragement I received on the Bear Mountain builder’s forum, I got it done. I didn’t have the best results, but it will look good enough for people to say, “that’s nice, but I would never put it in the water”. My next boat will be better.

I look forward to launching my freedom 17 for the first time on a quiet pond and then just letting it coast after a hard pull on the paddle. That’ll be nice…

Dave, in Glenview, Illinois
"If given six hours to chop down a tree, spend the first four sharpening your ax." - Abraham Lincoln

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Post by canoeblderinmt » Sun Apr 02, 2006 10:57 am

I first want to make note of the wonderful, sincere responses so far. I have been participating on this forum for over a year, and it has changed my boat building forever. However, the forum is pretty "topic-driven", helping with specific problems or celebrating launches. It's mostly populated by guys and this is how we relate with each other by and large. It is a great treat for me to read the answers posted and learn about some of my fellow cedar strip addicts and get to know their motivations and what brought us all together. We all have a story that brought us here and that story grows richer as we move from rough cut boards through building strongbacks, shaping forms, putting on that first strip, putting in the last strip, the trepidation of glassing, adding woodwork, the final coat of varnish, that first moment in the water, and a lifetime of enjoying something beautiful that you have created with your own mind, hands and heart. I hope that everyone here will take a moment to just let it sink in how special this whole thing is, and how rare. Each of us, I believe, have a strong streak of rugged individualism in our core, yet we come together here in the spirit of collaboration and friendship, encouraging others, sharing knowledge, past mistakes and successes. Forum members freely give of themselves for the sole purpose of helping each other. That is a magic thing, and leads me into my answers:

Why have you built your own boat?
Four years ago my Mothers' husband, who is wheelchair bound, won an Outward Bound trip by calling in to a radio station. Obviously he couldn't attend, so he graciously gave the trip to me. I wanted to go on a "Paddle-Cat" whitewater trip down the Snake, but the Lord had other plans, and I found myself in Maine, for a weeklong canoe trip. I was hooked from the moment that big Old Towne hit the water. I live in a small town, and the only book on building canoes I found was Gil Gilpatricks', and away I went into stemless building. I am a woodworker and instructor, have fiddled around with epoxies and stuff building model airplanes, and LOVE paddling. So it was a natural that I would build my own. And now that I know, there is nothing that paddles, sounds and feels like a wood boat in the water. On a quiet morning on a mist-shrouded lake, it is spritual.

What method did you use and why?
I used stemless cedar strip on my first and second boats. It was the only method I was aware of. Since I discovered this forum, I have purchased Canoecraft, and am considering trying a boat with a stem. I would consider a plywood plan, especially for a drift boat like the kind they use on the rivers here. I learned in wood class that the very best woods go the veneer shop, where they become plywood, so I think a beautiful boat could be built out of some fairly exotic wood.

How do you respond when people say to you 'thats nice but I would never put it in the water'.

"A ship is always safe in port, but that's not what ships are made for."

What was your biggest concern before starting to build it? how did you overcome this?

I'm kind of a "Plunge right in" kind of guy (one reason I don't run Class III or above rapids), so I didn't really consider how fraught with disaster this whole process can seem. I got scared as I went along.... Like others, I was weeks just looking at that beautiful, smooth, sanded hull, afraid of ruining it with a bungled glass job. I've come to understand that it's hard to really ruin it: even if you don't get the exact perfect glass job, these babies look beautiful and are strong and light. So I guess I got over it by plunging right through it.

Building a wood boat, strip or panel, is a great experience that, with modern tools and materials, to say nothing of the wonderful support available on this Forum, is within anyone's grasp, if they possess the desire. Besides, the stares on the highway and people stopping what they are doing to come talk to you appreciatively about your boat are fun. When you get to be in your own boat, catching your breath in an eddie after a difficult rapid run, or quietly paddling in the moonlight, you'll know.

" Choose to chance the rapids, Dare to dance the tide..."

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Post by Snowman » Sun Apr 02, 2006 12:53 pm

Interesting questions and even more interesting responses by all! Each person has their personal goals, mountains to climb, and personal satisfactions.

Why have you built your own boat?

I have always been connected with outdoor actvities, even though not always connected to water activities. Over the last decade (or so), I have been very fortunate to live in places where using paddlecraft has been accessible, making it very enjoyable. As I have never owned my own, borrowing/renting was a pain. I love to create things from raw materials and this was a great oppotunity to do so. Also, by crafting my own boats it was a chance to create a personal touch that would offer the kids (family) an opportunity to become interested in some of the things this great world has to offer - outddoors and paddling.

What method did you use and why?

Stripping was my obvious choice, using the methodology described in Canoecraft/Kayakcraft. Stripping was the best way to create a beautiful build of my desire.

How do you respond when people say to you 'thats nice but I would never put it in the water'.

Sorry, I made it to paddle.

What was your biggest concern before starting to build it? how did you overcome this?

I have to admit that I have a tendency to overthink each step. I spend a lot of time reading (books, internet) to make sure that I had it all straight in my head before I set out to begin the next task. I did not find any one task insurmountable, but if I had to pick one task that was the greatest cause for concern, I would probably say that glassing. As much as I knew that I had rehearsed this in my head, I knew that there was no substitute for experience. It is a bit of a ballet, where one must have it planned out in advance. Anything that went awry could have knock on effects. Depending on the situation and what stage you catch it at, glassing mistakes can be hard to rectify.

I found that other than trying to find enough time (work, family life, etc), my biggest hurdle that I had to overcome was actually not any single task, but rather the tendency to overthink each new task. Once I got into each task, it became evident that between Canoecraft/Kayakcraft and a couple of internet forums (I mostly stick with BMB, but I do watch others), I had ample knowledge to tackle the task at hand. I felt that Canoecraft/Kayakcraft gave me approx 75% of what I needed, and the rest came from supplementing with the forums and Nick Schade's book. Since I am a relatively new builder myself, I will offer the three things that stuck in my mind as a first time builder:

a. just get on with the task at hand. If you have done your research, you will know how to do (if you really do get stuck, you always have some super-builders here at BMB forum that you can lean on). To use the Nike phrase "Just Do It!";

b. there is no such thing as a mistake. You are building with wood, whatever you have done can always be worked around or fixed; and

c. it is not a piece of furniture that you are building. While you want it to look nice, it is still a boat.

Snowman back East

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Post by Arctic » Sun Apr 02, 2006 7:04 pm

I'll take a crack at this one:

Why Build a Boat:

I started paddling with my dad when I was 8 or 9 years old. He had an old second hand Sportspal aluminium Canoe that we would take out fishing (he still has it). It was not long before I began paddling around the lake on my own. I always found a Canoe to be peacful and more importantly quiet. Don't get me wrong, I have had plenty of fun in motorboats, but I would take the peace and quiet of a Canoe anyday. After doing some big trips in Algonquin and Quetico with rented Grumans, I thought about building my own boat- having something as beautiful as the nature I was paddling in. The satisfaction of paddling something I made.
I researched boat building on and off for about five years. A visit to the Canadian Canoe Museum and working on a Bear Mountain scale model kit got me even more interested. The serious research started about a year ago, and I ordered a set of plans. When I took parental leave after my daughter was born last summer, I started building.
I built the boat for my family as much as me. We can all enjoy trips together. I also hope to build another one with my daughter when she is older.


Canoecraft as much as possible, with help from the forum and "custom" solutions to the "custom" problems I ran into, (usually of my own making).

Never put it in the water:

This boat will be in as much as possible (probably with a fishing rod beside me). I would be mad at myself if I didn't have fun with her and scratch her up. Besides once you have built a boat- you can repair a boat as well, so why not get outside and go for it!

Biggest Concern:

I was concerned that the woodworking skills were beyond me- having no previous experience. The solution: lots of reading and asking other builders- lots of practice as well. It turned out not to be a problem.
I was also concerned about working with caustic chemicals (epoxy mostly)- but all the safety precautions turned out to be effective.

Most of all it was fun, a confidence builder, and it has opened up a whole new world to me. Boat design, Construction and use.

Thanks for asking! :eyebrows

Cantley, Quebec.
"The journey is the reward"- Tao saying

Rob from Hamilton
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Post by Rob from Hamilton » Sun Apr 02, 2006 7:51 pm

Building my own boat has practically changed my life. I named her "Tribute" in memory of loved ones I had lost, who gave me the strength to build it. And to get through the tough times without giving up on it.

Why did I build my own boat?

My Mom passed away in the summer of 2001. I was feeling empty. I had lost my Dad in 1994, and my sister in 1998. Over the 2001/2002 winter, I was feeling lost, but luckily had a family of my own for support. For some reason, I had the urge to create something, and it needed to be something that would carry my family. My Dad was a woodworker/ hobbyist. I love the old wooden boats, and so when I saw Canoecraft, I bought it without even thinking. I told my wife what I wanted to do, and why, and she dared me to do it. I showed her. I built my Redbird in 88 hours with seats, gunnels, decks and thwart from Noahs (Not the kit). My family was taking a week long trip to Killarney, and I was either going to have to rent a canoe, or buy a fibreglass one. I'm too cheap, so I decided to build one. I had a deadline, and that helped. (That's why we bought those parts) It was also a good project for my then 14 year old son to help me with. He loves woodworking too, but he's better at it than I am. Now canoeing has become part of our life.

What method did I use?

Bead and cove cedar strip, straight from Canoecraft, and it turned out great.

How do you respond when people say to you 'thats nice but I would never put it in the water'

I tell them "Thanks" but I built it to use it, and since I built it, I can fix it. Every scratch tells a story. I also tell them nothing glides through the water like a cedar strip!

What was your biggest concern before starting to build it? how did you overcome this?
I was a little worried I wouldn't be able to finish it. That I might get stuck and have this big "mistake" stuck in my garage, and my wife telling me "I told you so". So I stuck to it, and when I had a problem I just went ahead and solved it. I had no time to waste. Having a deadline helped me. Now we've built three canoes, on of which my son built completely from scratch, with no plans or anything. We used old hydro poles, and the kid built a 10 1/2' little canoe practically by himself. The latest one last summer, was a Bob's special. Now my only concern is that I want to keep building them!

Fred G
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Post by Fred G » Mon Apr 03, 2006 9:21 am

Why did I build my own boat?

For the first one, I needed 2 kayaks, one for me and one for my son. I figured I could buy a nice glass boat and build a stitch and glue too for the same price as 1 kevlar kayak

The rest I built 'cause I got in the habit..

What method did I use?

First three were stitch and glue pygmy. The 3d one was because my wife wanted her own and fell in love with the Arctic Tern 14.

Next 2 were strip solo boats. First one a 10/12 bobs special as a solo. Went stemless on that on with a combination of tips from canoecraft, gilpatricks book and featherweight canoe.

My wife wanted a second boat. She wanted a double paddle canoe that looked like the hiawatha. So back to 10/12 again but with stems. She picked the stripping pattern and insisted on stems and carry thwarts instead of decks. They both paddle very nicely.

Current project is a small hybrid double kayak.

How do you respond when people say to you 'thats nice but I would never put it in the water'

I built it, I can fix it.

What was your biggest concern before starting to build it? how did you overcome this?


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Erik, Belgium
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Post by Erik, Belgium » Mon Apr 03, 2006 3:38 pm

Why I built my own boat ?
I 've been paddling since I was 13 years old (32 years ago now, oh my). Paddling is my joy: I love being on the water, outside in nature, camping I see it as a counterpart for the stressful job being an IT manager. I 'm someone who always looked at things, how something was made, and tried to create it myself, rather then go out to the shop and buy it. The combination of all this couldn't be different then building boats myself.

What method I used and why ?
Strip method so far (2 canoes and 1 kayak), I prefer rolling bevel. 2 more strip kayaks to go, plus at least one skin on frame for sure. Stich&glue will never be my thing, sorry. Why: paddling is my thing, and wooden boats are the most beautiful crafts in the world. Also the fact of being able to built it myself without owning anything but vintage handtools. Another important factor is that I had to keep the cost factor as low as possible.

They say 'That's nice but I would never put it in the water'
Nonsense. I don't mind scratches. A boat without scratches has nothing to tell, has no history.

My biggest concern ?
Biggest concern when I started: I had never done any woodwork before, had no idea how to tackle it. I talked to a friend carpenter (and paddler) who explained me how to mill strips, use spokeshave/blockshave and so on. After I made my first canoe, I bought Canoecraft. That's probaly something from the IT profession: first try it, then read the manual. One remark as well; most builders already have some kind of woodworking experience before they start building. They are often in doubt which model to build. I OTOH knew what I wanted, but didn't know how to make one.
My biggest concern now: I've gone thru a difficult divorse last year, lost 19 kilo, and had to build up my life again. I'm taking care of my 3 daughters half of the time now, and therefore haven't got the time to build as much as I would like to. Call it frustration, but it's nice to take care of the children at this point in life, and I hope to finish the Disko Bay kayak this spring, and hopefully keep on building at a much slower pace though.

I 'd like to add one thing here
That wooden canoe/kayak building was unseen in Belgium until I built the first one 4 years ago. Belgians go out to the shop and buy their canoe/kayak, period. But in our club, and thru a local website, I was able to motivate a number of newcomers to wooden boat building (8 boats so far), and we have built 23 Greenland and canoe paddles in our club so far. It 's growing !

Erik, Belgium.

Cyril Gosse
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Post by Cyril Gosse » Mon Apr 03, 2006 7:17 pm

Prior to building the first canoe, I had spent a total of two hours in a canoe and that was several years before I built. My son had spent a couple of years with the Junior Rangers in Ontario and was an instructor during his last summer there, He mentioned on several occasions that a canoe would be nice. I purchased David Hazen's book " The Strippers Guide to Canoe- building, it didn't look that hard and I already had a fully . equipped wood working shop so I just got on with it.
What method.
The first canoe was cedar strip , butt jointed using staples just like the book said. I was discusted with the staple marks in the finished product which looked to be all at least one inch in diameter but it seems that I was the only one who could see them The canoe was a 16ft Abenaki with 34in beam and a Micmac bow and stern.. It has been used in Ontario, Newfoundland and now British Columbia.The second was fron the same forms but with a modified bow and stern, this time using the bead and cove and no staples. THere are no stems in these canoes but they seem to have plenty of strength and toughness. My son runs the Bow River in Alberta while it is in flood, he doesn't miss all the rocks but has never penetrated the hull. The third was like the first but again with no stalpes.
I am now building the Rice Lake Skiff from Bear Mountain plans, again with bead and cove with no staples.
That's nice but etc..
These boats are meant to be used and like one of the other posts, anything that goes wrong can be fixed.
Biggest concern.
Funny but with the canoes I just got on with it and solved the problems as they came along. In all fairness , Hazen's books are simple, easy to follow and seem to have been written as he built a canoe. I didn't run into anything that wasn't covered.
With the Rice Lake Skiff I was just like the Snowman, I started to overthink the job and tried to solve the problems before they came up. I found that as work progressed the problems and solutions became apparent at the same time.
I would say that the one area of concern on all the units has been the glassing, but it always seems to work out.

With the skiff I have made extensive use of this forum and the advice found fhere has been most helpful. Looking at the pics of other canoes and kayaks has encouraged me to be a little creative with the skiff and I am pleased with the results.. Thanks to all for the help. I will be posting a speel on the skiff when I am finished , and will include info on the paper work required when one builds a boat that can take a motor and is operated in Canada.

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Re: Share your perspective?

Post by pawistik » Tue Apr 04, 2006 11:42 am

admin wrote: Why have you built your own boat?
I like to work with wood, I like to paddle. The prospect of getting a much nicer custom-built boat completed by my own hands has had me dreaming for many years. Like others, I have read several books on the subject and finally am changing things from dream to reality.
What method did you use and why?
Strip building, following the basic method of Nick Schade's book while drawing on information from Canoecraft and the various web resources out there (other building sites and a couple of forums). I was very close to ordering a kit from Waters Dancing (the Solace 16 or 17 EX) when I found somebody selling a batch of cedar strips and the forms for the guillemot kayak on the MEC Gearswap. Since this boat also fit my criteria, I ended up buying the strips and forms and thus began the road to building.
How do you respond when people say to you 'thats nice but I would never put it in the water'.
It's a boat, not furniture. I explain that it's a fiberglass composite boat, very strong, durable and easily repaired.
What was your biggest concern before starting to build it? how did you overcome this?
Fiberglass & epoxy work. I haven't really overcome it yet, but I've been learning everything I can and have dome some smaller projects with fg & epoxy. I had the opportunity to spend a few hours helping a friend glass the inside of his Freedom 17 so that greatly helped to appease apprehension.
And to show it everyone who responds will have a chance to win free tuition to one of our classes - either a plywood or strip building class.
Doing any of those course in Western Canada?


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Post by artistwood » Sun Apr 09, 2006 5:25 am

ok, maybe this isn't in order but here goes.....

about why? i needed a new way to expand my art work. not sure how it came about . maybe a saw something, maybe i had a thought????. seemed like a fun thing to do.

what method? everybodys!!! ted has been a great help in all ways. also one ocean kayaks, nick shade, rob macks and everything else i cold find all the way back to some ancestoral advice.

most difficult part? when do i stop? i'm building mac mccarthy's wee lassie but have strayed way away from the minimilist concept of the boat. it has decks, flush hatches, kayak style combings, moulded/laminated seat and at least 100 hand carved parts in addition to the boat itself. i keep adding things and so far it's been 2 1/2 years since cutting the strongback. the boat is kind of built around the carvings on the old sailing ships with a little 1910 thrown in. it's a lot of fun and very rewarding.

even the rope cleats and the hatch hinges and latches are hand carved wood. i love boat building!!!!!!!!!!!

in the water? people that have seen it have asked just that. my reply....of course it going in the water. if i wanted something to hang on the wall i'd build an intarsia plaque!!! seriously, i take their question as a great compliment. they think that it looks to good to risk damage. i explain that the boat can take the water and invite them to the launching where i will be happy to let them test paddle the boat. suddenly putting the boat in the water doesn't seem as scarey to them.

thanks to everyone for the inspiration and the support.

barry "bear" taylor

ps...and no, at 290 i WILL NOT be paddling the wee lassie! :laughing
the voyages are the memories waiting to happen, the destination is the place we collect them...barry "bear" taylor

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Post by Don » Mon Apr 17, 2006 12:37 pm

Why have you built your own boat?
I saw a stripper kayak and a wooden boat show and had to have one. It was the builder's first attempt at woodworking and I thought if he could do it, I could. I ignored the fact that he was a machinist used to working with tight tolerances. I have continued building because of the beauty, the enjoyment of building and because I can get designs I can not buy at a weight I could never afford. My job also changed so I was continually on call. Putting a phone in my shop allowed me to do something other than watch tv for the winter.
What method did you use and why?
I used bead and cove stapless from the start. I prefer the look of no staples and, on a boat that is going to be around for a lot of years, a few extra days to put it together does not matter.
How do you respond when people say to you 'thats nice but I would never put it in the water'.
I tell them I built it to paddle.
What was your biggest concern before starting to build it? how did you overcome this?
My biggest concern was not finishing, losing interest and having a partially built boat as a monument to foolishness. I overcame it by setting up my shop so three of us could work at the same time -- we all thought the others would keep us motivated and we were right.
Otherwise, there was nothing but fear and common sense stopping me -- and those traits were not in large supply. I should have been nervous of all sorts of things but lack of knowlege got me through it as did advice that came with the first set of plans I used "anything worth doing is worth doing half-assed."
good luck
Finding worms is a sign God wants you to go fishing.

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Post by jra1100 » Sun Apr 30, 2006 11:03 pm

I will be happy to share my perspective, thank you for asking. I will endevor not to be too verbose.

Why have you built your own boat?

I saw my first strip canoe in the BWCA in the early 80's. It was a thing of beauty and it glided across the lake like the shadow of a cloud. I was hooked and had to have one, till I looked at the price of one back in Ely. I kept on using my old Grumman going down the river if not in style at least sure that it was vitually indestructable. In 1998 I was in Portland OR visiting the old girlfriend who would eventually move to Iowa to be with me and we went to a wood supply store. They had wood from all over the world, some that I had never heard of. There on a shelf in book area sat a copy of Canoecraft. I had to have it, it was what I had been looking for. Back in Iowa in 2004 after many hours on the BMB site and Guillemot site I decided I was going to build a boat, but which one? I went back and forth, canoe, kayak, no canoe, no kayak. I finally settled on a kayak, and bought the plans and book from Nick at Guillemot, and started to work. I finished the Guilly L in Sept. of 2004. I built the L because it was one of the few that could haul me (6'3" and 220 lb) and all my gear for a week, and still not be a tank.

What do I say when people say it's to nice to put in the water.

I tell them "thats true, but the coffee table keeps sinking on me. Also I have hit some things pretty darn hard, but other than having to revarnish, or at worst reapply a bit of epoxy, it's extreamly solid. Besides my work pales in comparison to some of the really good guys.

What method did I use?

I used the strip method. I also did bead and cove and used staples. One mistake that I made which I will point out so others can avoid it is the staple part. Because the Guilly requires some of the strips to be bent and torqued to the max I found that regular staple gun staples were pulling out as they couldn't get enough grip in the form. I fixed this problem by using and air stapler. Worked like a charm, until I had to pull the staples that is. Wow were those babys in there. I had to practicly go on a mining expedition to get some of them out. If you need to use an air stapler to get them to stay put for heavens sake make sure that you staple through a couple of layers of duct tape or something that allows you to get them back out. I ended up with some ugly divots in my kayak because of this. Most people don't even see them, but I do

My biggest fear.

Well there were a lot of them at first. The strongback, getting the strips and the bead and cove right, but the biggest was the glassing. I had never worked with fiberglass much, and that was daunting. I had done lots of woodwork, but not to the degree of finess that I belived this called for. I am however not one to let having no idea what the hell I'm getting into slow me down I plunged ahead and with lots of help from the books and the kayak site I turned out a very serviceable and not bad looking boat. I have just aquired a 18 foot redwood stripper that has seen better days and will try to restore it.

I'd love to take a class with the masters of this art, just send the ticket to me in Marble Rock, Iowa, and I'll be there.

J R Ackley Marble Rock, IA.
Small town living at it's best

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Post by Stencil » Thu Apr 03, 2008 3:51 pm

Always wanted to build a boat and one day surfing the net ---- on thing led to another and I bought Canoecraft and the obsession began. Am just fairing the hull as of now and enjoying it ---- glueing strips --- not so much. I am quite apprehensive, as are most, about epoxying the hull. The antitheses of woodworking --- a mess of reactive ,poisonous ,chemicals. So it goes. I am really looking forward to paddling this boat which will be used and used hard.
Happy waters all.

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Post by Richard » Sat Dec 20, 2008 9:02 am

Why have you built your own boat?

Inspiration. Most people at sometime during their lives feel inspired by people with huge charisma, great intelligence and wisdom, or unswaying integrity and honesty. But when we relate this to visual images and beautiful objects, whether they have been created by the natural beauty of nature or skilled deft hands, we are all touched.
My inspiration to work with wood came from my father, a carpenter, after serving seven years as an apprentice in the 1920s.
My inspiration to build a stripper came from a visit to the Southampton Boat Show in England where I saw one on a West Epoxy trade stand.
I vowed on that day, that once I had built a workshop big enough my labour of love would begin. Now when I paddle my pride and joy I am bombarded with questions from anyone who happens to come along, and I must admit that I feel a glow when they admire the workmanship.

What method did I use?

Bead and cove cedar strips.


It’s pleasing to the eye.

A pleasure to work,

It gives you huge scope for artistic interpretation.

The finished product is strong, a pleasure to paddle and easy to repair and maintain.

How do I respond when people say, ‘that’s nice but I would never put it in the water’.

Educate them on how easy it is to repair scratches. Most of my paddling is on rivers, so once a year I sand and revarnish.

My first build is known to my friends and family as my functional sculpture.

What was my biggest concern before starting to build?

The unknown. So I read ‘Canoecraft’ over and over again and constantly referred to it.

The reality. The woodwork was 99% pleasure, the sheathing was very difficult. You get one shot and I was filled with fear at the thought of ruining all my hard work, and the beautiful object I had produced.
This fear is still with me as I prepare to sheath my second build, a ‘Hiawatha’.

Richard Southwell (Wales U.K.)

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Barefoot Hiker
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Post by Barefoot Hiker » Tue Jan 12, 2010 9:03 am

Why have you built your own boat?

At this writing I have not built my boat yet but shall instead answer why I decided to build my own canoe. A person is a collection of experiences and dreams, wants and needs. Do I need a boat? No. Do I have any experience at building boats? Again, no. But I do have a lot of peripheral experience with woodwork and a lifelong love of boating. The object of my personal desire, and dare I say lust, are the classic mahogany Chris-Craft boats of the 1940's and 50's. Man, they were beautiful! At some point I would like to build a replica from plans but for now, I decided to start with something smaller - a canoe. There's just something about the look of hand-worked wood, crafted into something that is not only beautiful but something that will last for ages and stand as a testament to the skill of the artisan.

What method did you use and why?

I will humbly stand on the shoulders of giants and use the time-tested methods of exerienced folks here. I will rip and router my own boards because I have access to the required woodworking tools and it will give me a greater ultimate satisfaction.

How do you respond when people say to you 'thats nice but I would never put it in the water'.

If I want something to put on display I'll build a model kit! This boat will be built for use!

What was your biggest concern before starting to build it? how did you overcome this?

My biggest concerns are the gaps in my knowledge - specifically related to fiberglassing. I'm also a little concerned that my patience, or lack thereof, will get me in trouble from time to time!

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