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PostPosted: June 22nd, 2008, 1:05 pm 
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LRC's thread on Placid Boatworks was way off the original topic, but I really liked some of the great stuff coming from some of the serious/professional builders regarding construction. I want this discussion to continue in light of my interest in making the lightest conceivable stripper. I really hope to pick the brains of the best of the best here.

********
I'm just putting the finishing touches on my first stripper, an 11' ADK style pack canoe. It will come in at under 20lbs. even with an Ed's Canoe cherry-framed seat. It has 1/8" walnut on its tapered shouldered tumblehome area (there's an extra pound, I know) and 5/32" basswood for the sides. I went a little thicker (3/16") on the bottom as I was afraid of oil-canning (turned out to be an unfounded fear based on lack of faith in the construction method) and a little weight could be subtracted by going 1/8" overall.

The original design stated 25 sq. ft. but we lengthened it uniformly by a foot (10' > 11') so I guessed at 28 sq. ft. for our 11' boat. The designer's prototype was 1/8" planking with 6 oz. Kevlar/Carbon hybrid cloth on the inside and 4 oz. S-glass on the outside. We went with 3.2 oz. E-glass on the outside and inside with an extra football shape (cut on a bias) on the inside bottom for added tensile strength. We also ran 2" bias along the inside on the shallow-vee bottom and along the sharp tumblehome/sidewall juncture for added insurance.

Somewhere I read that a typical stripper layup consists of 1/3 wood, 1/3 glass and 1/3 resin, all by weight. I knew going in that this would be easy to beat since we were using 1/8" planking. Since I was roughly following the designer's "recipe" I figured I could make a guesstimate of the bare hull weight by tweaking his figures a bit. His 10' boat was stated as 15lbs. completed. From this, I subtracted 1lb. for the seat (we used the same seat and I just weighed ours), 2lbs. for the gunwales (turned out to be spot on), 1lb. for the cherry outer stems (mine weighed 18 oz. before shaping on the boat) and 1lb. for the backrest thwart (a guess on the minimum weight for his specified Sitka spruce (we will use Alaskan Yellow cedar). This left an astoundingly light 10lbs. for his 10' bare hull.

Adding 10% to those calculations (due to its added length), I made an estimate for our boat. I expected our finished hull to weigh 11lbs. Therefore, I was a bit shocked to find it weighed in at 12lbs.12 oz. when it came off the form. Fairing the inside would reduce its weight by 12 oz. but glassing the inside added another 3 lbs. Thus, our little hull came in at 15 lbs., 4 lbs. heavier than our prediction. Not bad, but we were off by over 25%!

OK now...

Where did we go wrong (either in construction methods or estimates) and what can we do to improve these figures?

Some thoughts:

-The designer specs were for the bare hull (no seat)

-We added more weight than we thought by going to slightly heavier planking

-We used ultra thin epoxy for the wet out and too much soaked into the wood

-We were so compulsive about the alignment of the planking that we didn't need to remove as much wood as some builders (we were told it would take two days to sand it out but it took less than 6 hours, inside and out, mostly with scrapers and hand sanding)

-We didn't squeegee out enough resin (we know that to be true but we weighed the resin as we mixed it and weighed what we squeegeed off... not enough difference to account for the added weight we ended up with)

We are left at this time with the conclusion that there was more wood left it the hull than we estimated. Maybe our basswood was denser than the designer's, maybe we didn't need to sand so much off, maybe that extra 1/32" on most of the hull really makes a difference (haven't done those calculations yet).

So... what say you all?

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PostPosted: June 22nd, 2008, 1:42 pm 
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Well, just gimme that one and start again! :) :wink:

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PostPosted: June 22nd, 2008, 6:02 pm 
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I was going to guess that you used too much epoxy, but it seems you have that covered. So, my guess is that basswood is significantly denser than cedar. Basswood has a specific gravity of .32 to .37 (at 12% moisture content) depending on moisture content, and Western Red Cedar is .31 to .32 (12%). From: http://www.fpl.fs.fed.us/documnts/fplgt ... 3/ch04.pdf

I did calculations for white cedar, white pine, and red cedar once and came up with this chart, which is a measurement of the weight of a 1/4" strip in various sizes.

* Wood Type ---64" oz----18' oz---55 strips - lbs.---BHc---lbs.---size
* N.Wh Cedar --2.8--------7.14---------25---------------.65----38-----1/4 +
* W. Pine --------3.0--------10.02-------34----------------.97----35-----3/16
* Red Cedar-----2.2--------7.48--------26----------------.75----34-----1/4-

The BHc is a measurement that I came up with by dividing the wood's ideal Module of Static Rupture PSI by 10,000, to give me a comparable strength for weight measurement. Probably can shoot holes in this one, but it worked for my mind. :) Basswood would end up at .87, so it could be made thinner than western red for the same strength. That'd save some weight.

BTW, have you seen this: http://www.greenval.com/weight.html

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PostPosted: June 22nd, 2008, 8:18 pm 
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Bryan Hansel wrote:
I was going to guess that you used too much epoxy, but it seems you have that covered. So, my guess is that basswood is significantly denser than cedar. Basswood has a specific gravity of .32 to .37


The BHc is a measurement that I came up with by dividing the wood's ideal Module of Static Rupture PSI by 10,000, to give me a comparable strength for weight measurement. Probably can shoot holes in this one, but it worked for my mind. :) Basswood would end up at .87, so it could be made thinner than western red for the same strength. That'd save some weight


Interesting. And many thanks.

Like I said, the designer's prototype and our boat were both made from basswood, so the difference had to be in the average thickness or in the amount of resin used.

I calculated that each 1/32" of thickness = 1/384 cu.ft/sq.ft. or 0.0026 cu.ft./sq.ft. Using the figures you provided, I calculated that by going over the designer's spec by a mere 1/32", I inadvertently added 2.7 lbs. just in the wood (0.0026 x 37lbs./cu.ft. x 28 cu.ft.) The 10 strips on the bottom were a full 3/16" so at least another 0.5 lbs. was added by that decision. That means that 3 out of the 4 added pounds were in wood alone, maybe more if he wasn't as anal about strip alignment as we were and had to sand more off to get it fair.

I know we didn't get all the resin squeegeed off the inside. It is a complex shape with a shallow-vee hull and a slight hollow between the vee and the turn of the bilge and also a sharp side/tumblehome juncture. Hard squeegeeing (that's a funny looking and sounding word) was pulling the two layers of cloth away from the hull at the vees so we decided to live with a little more resin and not risk introducing areas of poor adhesion. Still, I doubt we left more than an extra pound, likely less. We recovered 12 out of the original 46oz. mixed up. A lot soaked into the wood, so we had to live with that as does everyone.

The use of figures for static rupture are not of interest to me as I will count on the glass for that, but the specific gravity/modulus of elasticity figures are of great interest to me. These pond canoes aren't supposed to be indestructible, but they have to be stiff enough to not flex in use. A quick look tells me that Sitka spruce and Port Orford cedar are two woods I should be looking at. I've got plenty of Sitka and Northern white cedar scrap around, so the next step is to get some Port Orford and to make up some test panels of the three woods in various thicknesses and glass weights. The final determinant for me will be the stiffness/weight ratio. It may turn out that thickness alone rather than modulus of elasticity of the material will give the greatest stiffness. That is, after all, why balsa and rigid foam are used for extensively in the industry.

In any case, I plan to leave basswood behind. The stuff I got was quite brash and not as stiff as I would expect for its weight. I found it was very easy to shatter a thin strip by flexing it too sharply... not a good characteristic for canoe wood IMO.

Again, thanks for the info, Bryan.

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PostPosted: June 22nd, 2008, 10:20 pm 
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You said that you increased the length from 10 to 11 feet. Did you increase all dimensions or just the length? If everything was scaled then the area increases by 1.1 x 1.1 = 1.21 or 21% increase not 10%. Ignore this, if you just increased the length. :)


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PostPosted: June 23rd, 2008, 5:25 am 
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May be of interest;

How to built a 40lb strip Osprey?
http://www.myccr.com/SectionForums/view ... hp?t=10546

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PostPosted: June 23rd, 2008, 9:38 am 
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Extra thickness is going to increase stiffness in your layup. You could try to make that up in extra layers of glass vs. core material. I built a modified Rushton Wee Lassie with 1/8" strips and multiple layers of 3.2 ounce tight weave. The hull shows no oil canning or flex at all. I think that it's possible to go down to 1/16" for your wood and make it up in glass/kevlar/carbon and save some weight. Or how about 1/16" or slightly less strips cold molded with layers of glass on the outside. The crossing of the strips will add stiffness and you could potential end up with a light hull. Still, your hull has come in extremely light and is nothing to turn a nose up at.

I wonder if the extra weight could be attributed to extra moisture content in the wood vs. what he used. Basswood has a big variation in specific gravity, so if he was on the .32 side and you on the .37 side, that could probably explain the rest of the weight.

This is Nick's Nymph, right?

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PostPosted: June 23rd, 2008, 9:40 am 
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BK,

Quote:
Somewhere I read that a typical stripper layup consists of 1/3 wood, 1/3 glass and 1/3 resin, all by weight. I knew going in that this would be easy to beat since we were using 1/8" planking.


Those proportions seem way out for strippers, at least from the weights I recorded at various times during the construction of my Bear Mountain Huron. I tried to keep the wood weight down wherever possible, and added a double 6 oz fiberglass layer on the bottom and built-up fiberglass skid plates for abrasion resistance and durability.

Fiberglass and epoxy................ 9.5 pounds
Final canoe weight..................... 53 pounds

Most of the weight was in the wood and only about 18% in the glass and epoxy, and that percentage could have been brought down more with the more typical single layer of glass and no skidplates.

Wood selection could be the easiest way to reduce weight... Jay Morrison's light solo was built with thin marine plywood rather than cedar, and it was durable enough to take him on a cross-Canada trip, beginning in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and ending in the Arctic ocean. He used to post here as LightJay and wouldn't comment much on the canoe construction since he was thinking of patents on the method. He must have used stiffening ribs at regular intervals to prevent oilcanning in the hull, similar to the ribbed ultralight kevlar designs available in factory-built canoes.

Based on a Verlen Kruger design and even though it was decked, still weighed in at only 36 pounds.

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PostPosted: June 23rd, 2008, 10:58 am 
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Wow, Doug, that thread is certainly the Mother Load! Before my time on CCR by a few years. It will take some time to go through it carefully, but I've given it a quick read and can see a lot that will be helpful.

Let me restate my goals and give a little history so I can give the experts a better idea of what I am trying to achieve.

My interest in strip building grew out of a chance visit to Placid Boatworks a couple of years ago. Before that, I was only interested in building traditional boats, more for the challenge and to help keep the traditional methods alive. Plus, I still believe that nothing is kinder on the eye than a cedar lapstrake boat with sweet lines. I was also getting interested in wood and canvas boats due to some communication I had with Dan Miller of Dragonfly Canoes.

I went to Placid to take a look at Charlie Wilson's personal Bell Wildfire that he was planning to sell. My interest in traditional boats has no bearing on what I prefer to paddle and I wanted to give the Wildfire a try as a solo for myself. They had a few cold nights in November and when we got up there the water was too hard by the shore to break through, so we were given the tour of the boat making facility. My wife was instantly smitten (much to my chagrin) with the beautiful pack canoes they were building, especially since:

1) She could pick one up with one hand.

2) She can handle a solo double-paddle design but not a solo single-stick design.

3) Well, they are just that beautiful, and she is a girl after all (when they started talking about what color she preferred, I knew my goose was cooked).

I knew that purchasing a new PBW was an impossibility for us as we had just maxed ourselves out on a new Bell Northstar, therefore:

1) We had no money.

2) We had no money.

But the idea failed to fade. That winter, we were at my favorite local canoe store, and lo and behold, a mint condition little SpitFire was sitting on the showroom floor. It was way under priced and the only thing that saved us was the fact that someone came in with his wife and bought it out from under us (Whew!). The following spring, we were at the ADK Paddlefest and, lo and behold, PBW had some demos on the beach and Lady BK finally got to try one. A couple more trips (they lock the door when they see us coming) but I couldn't afford a canoe for her, a solo for myself and get up the money to build that lapstrake Rangeley boat I want so badly.

Then a trip to the Wooden Boat Show in Mystic, CT. and what do we run into, lo and behold, a tiny (10') wood strip boat that weighed only 15 pounds! The boat was designed by noted kayak designer and author Nick Schade, but no plans were yet available. I made the promise to attempt one for her when they were.

Before that encounter, I have to admit I was not a fan of the building method. Traditional boat enthusiasts share a common disdain for fiberglass and epoxy. Still, I was rather surprised to find that a boat built that way could be so light. It was much lighter than the Placid offerings (albeit, quite a bit shorter) and while waiting for the plans to be published, the wheels started to turn regarding how to reduce the weight even further. After building this one, I am on a quest for the Holy Grail.

Can I build a reasonably durable pack canoe that weighs as much as the original Sairy Gamp (10 1/2 lbs.) using modern construction techniques?

Let me start with all the things we didn't do to reach this goal.

1) We used relatively heavy basswood and very heavy walnut for the strips.

2) We lengthened the boat rather than shortening it (the Sairy Gamp was only 9' long).

3) We went with thicker planking due to paranoia (unfounded) about excessive flexure of the hull.

4) We used 3.2 oz glass instead of strategically placed layers of the gossamer thin 1.2 oz. that I also have.

5) We failed to adequately pre-seal the bare hull and too much epoxy soaked into the wood. There has to be a way to prevent this.

6) We put on a rather heavy "hot coat" of regular viscosity epoxy and left it to sheet off the hull rather than carefully brushed out thinner coats of Clear Coat.

7) We went with relatively heavy basswood gunwales. Weighed separately, they added 2lbs. to the boat alone.

8 ) We used both inner stems (WRC weighing 3 oz. each) and outer stems (cherry weighing 9 oz. each).

9) We used some spectacular crotch-figured cherry (that I rescued from my firewood delivery a couple of years ago) for breast hooks, adding 6 oz. there.

10) We are using a factory made cherry seat instead of one we could fabricate ourselves at half the weight.

I particularly enjoyed reading the article by Light Jay. He thinks exactly the way that I do in that it is all about paying attention to the ounces. As a musical instrument restorer and aspiring builder I can attest to the fact that there is much to be said for strategically reducing the mass of the individual parts to there very lightest necessary for function. The whole, in this case, is exactly equal to the sum of its parts.

Tripping considerations aren't an issue here AFAIC. It will be assumed that this canoe will be treated like a baby. There are other designs to roughhouse with (that's why I have a Royalex boat on my canoe rack). The goal here is, basically, to one-up the composite guys and beat them at there own game using whatever it takes (including time) to achieve the result.

So once again, what kind of extreme weight reducing measures can the expert builders suggest that will allow me to build a pack canoe stripper that will withstand the type of easy flat water trip that Nessmuk did in his Sairy Gamp?

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PostPosted: June 23rd, 2008, 12:43 pm 
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Bryan Hansel wrote:
Extra thickness is going to increase stiffness in your layup. You could try to make that up in extra layers of glass vs. core material.

I think that it's possible to go down to 1/16" for your wood and make it up in glass/kevlar/carbon and save some weight. Or how about 1/16" or slightly less strips cold molded with layers of glass on the outside. The crossing of the strips will add stiffness and you could potential end up with a light hull.

I wonder if the extra weight could be attributed to extra moisture content in the wood vs. what he used. Basswood has a big variation in specific gravity, so if he was on the .32 side and you on the .37 side, that could probably explain the rest of the weight.

This is Nick's Nymph, right?


More great stuff, guys, hope I can keep up with it.

Correct, Bryan, it is Nick's Nymph.

It seems to me, and has all along, that thick low density strips are the way to go. That's the one advantage I have over the totally composite builders. Note that Charlie Wilson's boats have 5 layers of cloth on the bottom in order to achieve hull stiffness without using foam to increase the beam thickness. Only his ability to squish them together so tightly with 29" of vacuum saves the day for him there.

Recently, there was a thread here where a guy from down under used balsa and 0.75 oz. glass. His canoe was bigger, so I can't get a sense of how heavy his layup was per sq. ft. but I remember the boat was pretty damn light and yet strong enough for surf landings. Northern white is the lowest density of our native woods and I have a lot of respect for its inherent stiffness and strength. I might try a test panel with 3/32" NWC and 3.2 oz. glass inside and out. I also intend to make panels with strips taken from the same board that will be pre-sealed first and compare them with wet outs on bare wood. Hopefully, I can apply a quick, thin coat of Clear Coat that will stop further absorption of epoxy once it has cured.

I was just looking at an article on Ashcroft construction and concur that cold molding might give the desired weight. Problem is, two layers of 1/16" won't be thin enough, I'm already at 1/8" in my calculations and that's not light enough.

By going with 3/32" strips, I will have to make them at most 5/8" wide (maybe even 1/2" at the turn of the bilge) or I'll fair right through them. The plus side is that no cove and bead or beveling will be necessary, just a very judicious application of glue. I will also have to design for about an 8" station mold spacing in order to get those floppy planks to lie fair against the molds, maybe go with a multi-part solid mold that I can disassemble to get the canoe off.

My calculation on a 10' boat of 25 sq. ft. with 3/32" strips of Northern white cedar (21lbs./cu.ft.) is a mere 4 lbs. for a bare hull! Beefing up the bottom to 1/8" should add more than half a pound but fairing it all out should drop that 1/2 lb. That leaves an awful lot of leeway for trim options.

Another thing... I like the looks of Nick's boat and it was the one my wife insisted on, but a shallow arch would be stronger and would flex less. Despite the shallow-vee, his design has just the opposite of a shallow arch right next to the keel, an actual concavity on either side of the keel line that is carried right through the widest part of the hull. You can feel this on the bare hull as being too flexible. It works fine once the wood is glassed on both sides, but any thinner on the bottom and I feel it would oilcan badly (note that he actually used a Kevlar/Carbon hybrid on the inside to stiffen up the bottom). My design will have a shallow arch.

Bryan, you are right about the variability found in basswood. One of the fortuitous things in this particular build was the discovery of a board of curly basswood that we left to do the gunwales with. I calculated their volume to be 68 cu.in., which at 27 lbs./cu.ft. should weigh 1 lb. I weighed them on my scale and they weigh almost 2 lbs. May as well have used cherry. :roll:

BTW, I made a mistake in my earlier calculations. I used your figure of .37 (specific gravity) instead of the weight/cu.ft. I averaged the weight for basswood from several sources at 27 lbs./cu.ft. This means I may have only gained a little over 2 pounds instead of 3 by going to the thicker planking, a disappointing discovery in my quest for wood mass reduction. :(

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PostPosted: June 24th, 2008, 9:46 am 
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I found that article:

http://www.storerboatplans.com/Balsacanoe/Balsacanoe.html

Turns out he used 75 g/sq.m not 0.75 oz./sq.yd. That's equivalent to 2.25oz. glass.

Also, he used balsa but it was 7mm thick. 1/8" NWC (about 3mm) will weigh about the same.

He got his 11' boat down to 12 lbs., so I think my goal is reasonable.

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PostPosted: June 24th, 2008, 3:41 pm 
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Hey BK,

Most weight savings will be in the thickness of your wood - both the hull and trim, as you have already surmised.

The thing is, we are all a bit nervous about going thinner and when push comes to shove, its easy to bump up thickness because you start to worry about strength.

I think you have to almost go crazy with reducing trim thickness and accept the possibility of going too thin - causing oil canning etc. This is almost impossible to do if its your first boat - especially on a big water tripper where you are worried about hull failures/problems, far from your shop and were it can be downright dangerous.

However, saying all that, I think you can go very light and still have enough strength, although you do have to know what you are doing and perhaps baby the boat a bit - say on landings etc.

The dry hull with no trim or glass on my Winsk was 29 lbs. I stretched it a bit so the final length was 17' 9 inches instead of 17' 6" using 1/4" thick cedar. Reducing hull thicknes to 3/16" thick would reduce this to 21.75 lbs - using 1/8" thick stock brings that down to 14.5 lbs. Of course, going so thin means perhaps using more layers of glass, but there are lots of options there - it seems that more layers of thinner "S" glass is the way to go for maximum weight/strength ratios. If I built the same boat again, I would use 3/16 strips and the same galss/epoxy layup.

On my current boat (Mattawa) I'm using 1/8" thick strips on the sides from the shear to the bilge and graduating to 3/16" strips for the bottom.

Have you seen the article on the Wooden Boat Forum, re building and using a 17ft cedar strip Freedom, and even a freedom stretched to 20 feet, using 1/8" strips? The guy has built several boats and they seem to have held up.

Also, John Winters, on the Green valley site mentions using 1/8" thick strips with success. John also mentioned somwhere of laying in the inside glass perpendicular to the bow/stern and overlapping it by 4-6 inches. He called it a "frame stiffner" if I recall correctly. Also, tyr only one wet out coat on the inside. Its very hard to get even, especially on your first boat (at least it was on MY first boat ) but if you can do it you'll saved a couple pounds. Mind you I don't think 1/8" thick strips are, safe or advisable if it would be the only boat you have as you might be tempted to use it when and where you shouldn't, but still, we all are responsible for evaluating things on our own and taking a measure of the risks involved. I think anyone who builds their own boat is by definition someone who probably does a lots of reading, research and contemplating before starting a project.

Anyway, the other obvious area for weight savings is trim. There are quite a few articles on the web re. making thinner gunwales. Also some guys are laminating hardwood like cherry and walnut to a cedar core - or using cedar exclusively (talking seat trim & thwarts here) and then encapsulting them in glass and epoxy.

Try searching for an old article by I think, Erich Eppert...

Also, Dan Miller on this site also has some ideas on using multiple layers of thin cloth to save weight. I will also try and find and post the wooden boat forum article, I think I saved it somewhere.

The guys in the previous posts above have all gone lighter and made lots of posts about it over the years as well so check out their previous posts. And also of course check out the Bear Mountaing forum - tons of stuff there.

BTW, your Nymph looks great. Quite an accomplishment considering the accident and everything.

Best,

Moonman.


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PostPosted: June 27th, 2008, 8:58 pm 
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frozentripper wrote:
He must have used stiffening ribs at regular intervals to prevent oilcanning in the hull, similar to the ribbed ultralight kevlar designs available in factory-built canoes.


I don't recall seeing ribs in his canoe when he stayed at my place on the first leg of his trip.

Here's a cool article that he wrote and let me use on my website: http://www.nessmuking.com/lightjaycanoe.htm

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PostPosted: June 27th, 2008, 9:12 pm 
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You should seriously consider changing plans for the next one. You can pick up the Rushton Wee Lassie Builder's Plans at teh Adirondack Museum store. It's a solid canoe. The bottom may be curved enough to give you the stiffness that you desire. I used the plans from the AM and modified them to 11'11", raised the gunwale height and mounted a seat from the gunwales. I forget the final weight, but I used ash gunwale, brass stem bands, and other heavy items on a really light hull.

Picture below. Please, excuse the poor first generation digital image.

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PostPosted: June 27th, 2008, 10:14 pm 
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Oh, you mean a canoe, that does make a difference.
14 to 16 ft. depends on solo or tandem. 32" to 36" beam 21 to 23" bow, stern height, 40 to 60 lbs.

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