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PostPosted: October 4th, 2006, 8:59 am 
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I apologize in advance as I am sure this type of question has come up before, but for the life of me I can't get the search function to narrow down properly.

With my beloved and I both committing to a big change over the winter, spending our time sewing our own gear and hopefully emerging next paddling season to a whole new focus on ultralight tripping, the discussion has also moved to the future beyond the 2007 season.

If we are going to take the time and effort to rethink our entire gear and physical fitness, eventually we are going to want a significantly lighter craft than our current fibreglass model. In the years to come when we are hit our 40's and start to finally have the time and resources for some more impactful travel longer than a weekend at a time, we don't want to have to shy away from any proposed route due to number or length of portages.

The $$$ for anything light and new is out of the question, which brings me to home construction. Off the top I am going to be honest and not overstate my skill level. I have never had any success with anything remotely artistic or crafty, so fine carpenter and woodworker I am most certainly not. I am, however, relatively proficient at following directions and have a decent tolerance and patience for trial and error through my hundreds of hours of recipe development. With good instructions and reasonable or no time constraints, I can manouver my way through basic framing, drywall, elementary electricity and plumbing, that type of thing. Hopefully that is an accurate enough overview for you to assess my skill level.

Which brings me to the question of what type of home built craft will offer me the best chance of completing a somewhat light and inexpensive canoe all by myself? A stripper is definitely out of the question, as those require an artisan's patience and skill to turn out proper, and the material is far too expensive to risk having wasted on an incomplete or improperly completed boat.

I am thinking either skin-on-frame or stitch & glue tortured plywood. Both seem to offer lower weight with less complicated construction methods and relatively low initial cost of materials. Were I a little braver I may also consider investing a little more money and attempting a Moran-method homemade kevlar, assuming I could find someone a little more artistic than myslef to assist with the complicated curves of the male mould.

So...a lengthy post to get to the typical questions....Who owns and/or have built any of the above, what in your opinion are the pros and cons, etc?


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PostPosted: October 4th, 2006, 9:11 am 
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Location: Grand Haven, Michigan U.S.A.
How about biting off a little more manageable project before commiting to building a canoe, tent, or anything else?

Try building a canoe paddle. If you knuckle down you could build it in a weekend... or maybe spread it out over a couple weeks to a month. It requires some pretty simple tools... a hand plane, a 4-in-1 file, some sand paper, and a brush, along with some wood scraps, epoxy and varnish. Then if you like it, take on a more involved project like the stripper or the stitch and glue. Neither of these are difficult either for someone with attention to detail.

Finally, if you really aren't enthralled with doing the building... you might find that a little effort at searching for used equipment can produce what you are looking for at a price similar to what it costs to buy the tools, materials and build your own. I've bought a number of used canoes over the last decade and generally pay less than 1/2 (and often closer to 1/4) the original price. Patience and persistance have definitely paid off for me.

PK


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PostPosted: October 4th, 2006, 9:25 am 
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pknoerr wrote:
How about biting off a little more manageable project before commiting to building a canoe, tent, or anything else?

Try building a canoe paddle. If you knuckle down you could build it in a weekend... or maybe spread it out over a couple weeks to a month. It requires some pretty simple tools... a hand plane, a 4-in-1 file, some sand paper, and a brush, along with some wood scraps, epoxy and varnish. Then if you like it, take on a more involved project like the stripper or the stitch and glue. Neither of these are difficult either for someone with attention to detail.

Finally, if you really aren't enthralled with doing the building... you might find that a little effort at searching for used equipment can produce what you are looking for at a price similar to what it costs to buy the tools, materials and build your own.
PK


Funny you should mention the paddle...His & hers one-piece paddles were indeed my first project, not so much for cost savings as the fact that I am almost 6'5" and was having a really hard time finding something that I found long enough. The blanks have been cut out and the blades & shafts planed. They currently get hand-sanded during TV time a couple of nights a week. I will eventually want to build something with a longer and narrower blade, but so far I'm happy with how these are turning out.

In reference to your second point about buying used, although money is indeed a factor it's not the only factor at play here. I don't have the right words to say this without it sounding all airy-fairy, but we have been extremely fortunate to have come across this activity that we enjoy doing together SO much, and although I don't consider myself a spiritual person there's just something special about the idea of being able to head out with gear we created ourself. It 'bonds' us to the experience more, IMO.


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PostPosted: October 4th, 2006, 11:40 am 
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Joined: December 29th, 2002, 7:00 pm
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Location: Bancroft, Ontario Canada
BBQ,

For info and hints on S&G canoes, contact Madkanuist, IIRC, he built one and is pleased with it.

http://www.myccr.com/SectionForums/prof ... ofile&u=32

I know what you mean about using hand-crafted, one-of-a-kind gear... there's added value in it, and it's personal... and that's all I'm gonna say about that.

Good luck with your work, keep us informed!

_________________
><((((º>


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PostPosted: October 4th, 2006, 11:53 am 
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Location: Geraldton, Ontario Can
I wouldn't rule out a stripper so quickly. When I built my first one, I was little more than a wood butcher. Some people build them as works of art, others, like myself, build them as straightforward working canoes. It is quite a simple procedure where persistence is the primary key to success. Plus there are a ton of places on the net to buy plans and get help, as well as the people on this forum who have built. John Winter's canoes are quite easy to build...check out
www.greenval.com


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PostPosted: October 4th, 2006, 12:17 pm 
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RHaslam wrote:
John Winter's canoes are quite easy to build...check out
www.greenval.com


Believe me, I have spent significant time already looking at (and drooling over) some of those beautiful designs. I'd like to believe that you are correct about anyone being able to build a Kipawa or Winisk, but one must be aware of one's limitations, and I am certain that these types of projects are way out of my league.

For now at least....As I understand it, once you get the bug it's hard to stop looking for the next project....


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PostPosted: October 7th, 2006, 5:44 am 
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BBQ or anyone else contemplating building a canoe

In my experience the happiest paddlers seem to be those who have built their own boats. Some of them are works of art and reflect hundreds of hours of effort. Others are crude slapdash affairs. Always, the owner is happy.

My own feeling is that strippers and S&G are pretty much equal in difficulty to build to the same quality level. Strippers take more time because there are lots more pieces. S&G can go together in a few days. Each has its own rewards.

There are only two essential elements - patience and the ability to follow instructions. If you have both you can build a boat that will make you proud. Do not be put off by the furniture some builders produce. The boats don't paddle one bit better. If you look at the boat as individual steps then it gets easy. No individual step requires special skills. Most people fail because they let the entire project overwhelm them. Approach it as a bunch of projects that come together at the end.

One fellow told me how one of his boats took 40 hours to strip. It takes me 30 hours to build the whole boat but I have over forty years of experience and my boats are built to use.

Ignore both extremes. Pick a boat you like (no matter whose design) and do it. You can't start any younger and when you finish, put it in the water and go paddling. Just remember - patience and follow the damned instructions.

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John Winters


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PostPosted: October 13th, 2006, 9:44 am 
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A decision has been made. I am going to build a stripper!

No forecast on how long this endeavour will take, but my beloved has given the reen light and allocated the required basement space for as long as required.

John, I have to thank you for the following comments, which became a turning point for me:

Jwinters wrote:
My own feeling is that strippers and S&G are pretty much equal in difficulty to build to the same quality level.

There are only two essential elements - patience and the ability to follow instructions. If you have both you can build a boat that will make you proud.

If you look at the boat as individual steps then it gets easy. No individual step requires special skills.

Pick a boat you like (no matter whose design) and do it.


This post last week inspired enough bravery to at least pick up a copy of Canoecraft and start reading. That darned Mr. Moores and his way with words make a convincing argument that armed with wood, epoxy, and a copy of that book anyone can do this. Has anyone else noticed that?

Anyway, after actually researching the topic instead of just assuming that this was too hard, I have found you are absolutely correct and strippers aren't really any more complicated, it's just a lengthier process. Some other factors that played into the decision:

- My beloved states that if we are to stare at a half-built boat in the basement for who knows how long, she would much rather look at a stripper under construction than a S&G or SOF.

- If I only complete one boat in my lifetime, a stripper is the one to have for permanence & longevity IMO

- The financial strain can be offset by breaking it up into small projects as John suggests. The few basic required tools I don't currently own are well within Christmas/Birthday present range, and lofting the patterns/building the strongback and mould stations will keep me busy for a very long time before I have to invest any significant $$$. After that the strips, epoxy, trim & varnish can all be purchased in order as needed for different stages of the project.

Thanks to everyone for their advice. I'm cautiously excited about this undertaking. Although it will be a long time before I see an actual vessel, I will always remember what got me motivated to start.


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PostPosted: October 13th, 2006, 10:55 am 
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Location: Geraldton, Ontario Can
Congratulations, I think you made the right decision. One thing you might consider is placing a plactic barrier between your work area and the rest of the basement, and using a vacuum attached to your sander when it comes time to do so. i built three or four strippers in a vary small area of my basement...11 x17....oh yes, and make sure you have a window or clear passage to get it out when you are done. Have fun!


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 Post subject: How 'bout a Restoration?
PostPosted: October 13th, 2006, 1:05 pm 
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Joined: July 23rd, 2002, 7:00 pm
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Location: Concord, Massachusetts
Why not look around for an old wood canvas canoe to restore? Look for one that is appropriate for the kind of paddling you want to do and have at it. From what I can tell there are lots of good projects up there waiting for someone to pick up.

Most repairs including rib replacement and planking are easily done. Canvasing is fun to do and a good skill to learn. Most of the work is finish work - sanding, painting and varnish. There are some great books that lead you through the process.

I do virtually all the work with a few hand tools. You can probably canvas and refinish a boat for $200 to $500 max. Then when you are finished you can paddle a classic.

PS - I missed your ultralight requirement earlier, but you could still could still use lightweight materials and cut your weight. Much of the talk about heavy wood and canvas is a myth. Some folks use dacron skin for example.


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PostPosted: October 13th, 2006, 1:23 pm 
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Fitzy,

OMG, you're from Concord? Probably my favourite town in New England. I've got several good friends from the pro BBQ circuit that live there, and the Musketaquid Club used to host one of the best 'friendly' cookoffs of the season.

As far as a restoration goes, I understand your points and It's something I might consider if the right bargain fell into my lap, but any antique stuff I've ever seen for sale has been pretty pricey.


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 Post subject: Bring Boat
PostPosted: October 13th, 2006, 7:52 pm 
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Joined: July 23rd, 2002, 7:00 pm
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Location: Concord, Massachusetts
Well, if you ever find yourself back in these parts, bring the stripper and I'll show you the home waters. Just give a holler.

Cheers.

Fitz


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PostPosted: October 16th, 2006, 10:42 am 
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Location: Vandorf, Ontario
Hey BBQ Dude,

You are right on about Canoecraft, it is an extreemly well written book , all of the little points Ted mentions are important and any tips are worth their weight in gold ( or long clear lengths of eastern white cedar!).

One tip I have is that if you will be taking a while to read the book and other internet sources, then lofting over the winter etc. etc. read up on the tools you need and then keep a watch out for sales at Crappy Tire. You'll need lots of clamps, sandpaper/finishing tools, shop vac, etc. Canadian Tire always has a sale on and its only a matter of time before the item you want is 50% off (or more). It makes things a bit easier on the pocketbook, especially bigger ticket items like the shop vac, planes etc.

Speaking of planes, as Ted says in his book - get the best you can afford. This is really good advice. You can use a good block plane for a million different things.

Best of luck with the project. Any support you need you can get online here or over at the Bear Mountain site.

Moonman.


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