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PostPosted: January 29th, 2020, 7:16 pm 

Joined: March 8th, 2009, 9:35 pm
Posts: 48
So, I made a canoe this winter just to try it out. It might paddle like a pig for all I know, since I just designed it myself without any plans. I made one that can be assembled and disassembled in order to fit it inside smaller planes. A bit of a learning curve, and I would do a lot of things differently. I definitely went overkill on it. I used far too much epoxy, and it's built like a tank.

That is a problem, of course. It's 17 ft long, and I was hoping to have it be around 65 lbs, but it's about 75 (without yoke yet). Ugh. I'm making anotehr front section right now to make a 15 ft option as well, and hopefully I get it under 65 lbs then. I made different options for seats for going tandem or solo.

Anhow, here's some pics (hope they load right!)

I was wondering if I could hear from other cedar strip owners about the weight of their boats. I tend to do a lot of long portages through trailless areas, and 75 lbs isn't something I'd really ever want to use for that!



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PostPosted: January 30th, 2020, 6:21 am 
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Joined: August 27th, 2002, 7:00 pm
Posts: 2730
Location: Geraldton, Ontario Can
Very interesting! How do you put the sections together? I have built over 30, but I'm no expert, mostly just a wood butcher. To get the weight looks to me like your gunwales are quite large. Are they hardwood? Looks like you have scuppered them though, perhaps that would save some weight. Even scuppered though, I wouldn't think there would be a need to have them wider than 3/4". I'm not a fan of bulkheads in strippers. Just adds weight with no real floatation value. A stripper will not sink. I'm guessing those internal ribs are for the separation points? Do you really need the third seat? Did you double up on glass on the bottom, like an additional football?

I like the looks of the canoe, it's a large, deep boat, looks like a good wilderness tripper. I'm no lightweight builder, but the ways i save weight usually involves the trim. Hardwoods like ash can quickly add pounds, so I try to keep the dimensions small. I found some very light mahogany once that really looked good and kept the weight pretty low. On my next build, I'm going to experiment with spruce for gunwales. I only put the wet out coat on the interior of the canoe, no fill coats. The fill coats on the inside are only for looks, they don't add any strength. I always put a double layer of six ounce cloth on the bottom. If you are going to do serious trips, that is pretty much a necessity. The first few builds I did had only a single layer, they are no longer in the fleet, lol.
I think your 65 pound desire is reasonable, and if you build again, I'm sure you won't have a problem.

I'm quite interested to see the method for joining sections. Would you be able to post more pictures?


PostPosted: January 30th, 2020, 7:07 am 

Joined: February 10th, 2008, 4:41 pm
Posts: 330
Is there some sort of gasket in the joint that seals it?
I can see a gap with white showing in the one picture.
In any event I am amazed by your ingenuity.
I agree that bulkheads are redundant in a cedar strip.
And yes every strip-built canoe that is used hard needs multiple layers on the football.

PostPosted: January 30th, 2020, 1:16 pm 
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Joined: February 26th, 2009, 11:13 am
Posts: 156
Location: Eganville, ON
My Freedom 17 is 55lbs, and my 16ft prospector is 60lbs. Both are 1/4" strips with 6oz glass either side, plus an additional layer on the bottom football.

I've also avoided bulkheads as they are extra weight.

Eastern white cedar strips are much lighter than red cedar.

For your yoke, a straight thwart with aluminum hammock supports is lighter than a deep dish sculpted one; and in my opinion more comfortable.

I'm concerned about the stresses on the joints of that boat if in heavy waves. But I am impressed that with that additional complexity you are only at 75lbs.

PostPosted: January 30th, 2020, 6:21 pm 

Joined: November 12th, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 373
Location: Lethbridge, Alberta Canada
I've only built 1. I did the same as what Haslam says... Gunnels were too large (stems too). I also should have sanded more so ended up heavy with epoxy & glue in order to fill.
I put only a single layer on and after a couple season added a football like the guys are saying -- didn't make it seem overly heavier than it already was but to finally answer your question... my 16.5 is probably 80lbs.

We will both do better next time I think

PostPosted: January 31st, 2020, 11:43 am 

Joined: November 7th, 2010, 4:35 pm
Posts: 329
As others have said trim is the big area to cut weight. Gunwales, thwarts, and seats are generally made of heavy hardwoods. You can make them thinner or make them from lighter materials. How much lighter you can make them is always hard to say and depends on the anticipated usage of the boat.

Thwarts and grab handles can be aluminum. So can seat frames. They look better painted black

You can also use thinner strips. If you're worried about strength use 1/4" strips on the bottom and transition to 3/16" on the sides.

Use a full 4oz. layer on the outside of the hull and an extra layer of 6oz on the bottom.

I do use float tanks in my strippers that are tall and flush with the gunwales. I know that if I swamp those float tanks allow the canoe to float high when upside down and lets me flip it upright with virtually no water inside. Hopefully I'll never need to experiment in the middle of a large cold lake but it gives me a little piece of mind. I make mine from foam covered with carbon. They weigh very little.

To really build light you need to do all the little things that don't seems like they'd matter but in the end they add up. It's a balancing act in the end. Building heavy is cheap and quick. Building light (but still strong) is slower and more expensive.

That's a really neat boat you've built. I don't recall anyone ever building a knock down cedar strip. I'd be interested to know some of the details. I hope you're able to come up with something that works for you in the end.


PostPosted: January 31st, 2020, 11:57 pm 

Joined: March 8th, 2009, 9:35 pm
Posts: 48
It is looking like I largely nickel-and-dimed my way up to the weight I got to.

A More thorough description of what I did will probably make a lot of the undesired weight obvious to you all. I Must admit, I've never seen anyone as hard on boats as I am, so knowing that, I was even half admitting to myself that I was wwas over building it, and would have been better to recognize I need to change my travelling style a bit to balance using a cedar strip.

So, here are a few more details...

All fiberglass was 6oz..

A few things about the dimesions, which may make the weight seem even more appalling.
Within 2 " of 17' length. Width is quite narrow at 30"+. Height to gunnel tops is 14", and at the bow, the curve goes up to 23", the stern to 20"+ (?21?). Rocker is about 2"+ to front, 1.25" to stern. Assymetrically built with widest point being 16" astern of centre.

If you saw it, I think you'd agree the shape looks like it would move very fast. It might be garbage, though. I figure stability will be only good for an experienced paddler, my guess is that it will track as a b+ and maneouvre well in flat water and cross waves but not very well in current.. I think it will handle forward quartering waves quite well, and somewhat poorly with quartering waves from the stern. The hull shape is fairly standard for a flattish bottom until one nears the last section, and the stern piece has a noticeably more rounded hull. All speculation, but I figured this would give me better ability for quick turning by shifting my weight if needed. Anyhow, that's just my feel, and it could end up as a bookshelf for all I know.

For building details:
I just grabbed 5/4th" cedar from Home Depot and ripped it, so it's certainly inferior to proper wood, and I ripped it a on the heavy side of 1/4" since I was expecting a need for more aggressive sanding than I actually needed. All other wood was reclaimed white ash. I just planed and sanded rather than doing bead and cove for the strips

A couple of procedure problems:
I made the connecting ribs afterwards, and would do them first if I did it again, and make the ribs be those stations on the mold. I also Would have stripped the whole boat continuously from end to end, and then cut at the breakapart points after, as he stris don't aesthetically match up as well as I'd like between the three sections. They're not bad, but not ideal.

For fiberglass, I used 6oz. I ran 6" sideways covering the seams where the boat comes apart first (it all got cut later). I would build a normal boat next time, as this was a first attempt, and would then cut the finished product rather than just having to cut through epoxy and fiber.

I then ran a 6" strip from the top of the bow stem all the way to the top of the stern one. Then a coat of glass over the entire outside. Then another 6" strip on thebow up to the breakapart point at the bow section.

Inside, I ran a 6" piece in the inner stems and ended it somewhere along the football. Then a layer on the football. Then a layer over the entire inside.

Once that was all epoxied, it still felt quite reasonable to me, so I suspect I threw way to much ash trim at it all.

The gunnels are 1 1/4" x 3/16"+ ash inside and out, and there is a scupper row as well. The ribs are 1 1/2" x 3 laminated layers of 1/4". There needed to be four of them, obviously, and just a rough calculation in my head right now, I think they'd combine into a piece of approx. 3/4" x 1 1/2" x 15+ ft. Since I've never tried this before, I didn't risk making these ribs any lighter.

I for sure could have made my stems ligher, but I don't think they're too bad. The "triangles with the hadles at the bow and sterns are definitely overkill. They're 3/4" thick ad that was for sure a mistake. The bulkheads are 1/8"" thick, and I kind of knew they were unnecesssary, but I didn't think they and the plastic access ports would add much. I think I could have saved a few pounds without making such a severe curl up right at the ends, especially at the bow. I don't think it's going to be a huge issue regarding side winds, and I kind of like the look of it, but I suspect that may be a significant weight issue.

The sections are joined with 7 #12 glavanized bolts, and I think I could have gotten away with only 5. Just a thin strip of one-side adhesive rubber sealing between the joints.

If I solo, I''m taking out the otehr two seats, and if tandem, taking out the solo, so that changes the weight a bit. I think I could lose a bit of weight there, too, but not a lot. The cordage weighs next to nothing, and the frmae is 1 1/4" x"3/4"-. Making seats is a lot of fun, btw!

I'm suspecting that the big weight problems are mostly just cumulative problems for over building, but the gunnels and the little deck triagles are likely significant culrpits, along with the unnecessary curling up of the bow and stern.

I'll post some more detailed pictures of my embarrassingly amateurish process in a few days when I feel like transfering them to my computer and re-sizing them!

Anyhow, thanks for the inputs! I was feeling a bit devastated by its weight when I first stood on a scale, but I'm feeling like I might not have made a boat that is tooooooo far out of an understandable range. (A strange bit of serendipity, but all three sections weigh within 1/2 a lbs of each other...) The sections SORT OF nest, but not ideally of course... I hope the new bow section I'm making gets boat mark-1.5's weight near 60 lbs, though, and it isn't a ridiculously unuseable boat!!

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