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"build me a 40lb 15ft canoe and I will buy it"

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by Denise MsWdnBoat, May 16, 2015.

  1. Denise MsWdnBoat

    Denise MsWdnBoat Breaker of tradition

    I mingle with lots of women in all walks of life.

    I've heard this statement a few times now.

    I don't have a scale but think my 15ft solo is about 55 lbs I've never had a problem.. but then I was taught the right way to move, lift and carry a canoe.

    Realize also.. many of the people that make this statement don't know anything from anything about materials and building :)

    Personally having broken away from the "sticky stuff" I only want to build in traditional methods.

    Can it be done? (build a 40lb 15ft) I think so!

    I need to make 10 posts :)
  2. brishen870

    brishen870 Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    15 feet is a lot of canoe for a solo lady seeking super lightness unless you need to bring a months gear.
    Last edited: May 16, 2015
  3. mccloud

    mccloud "Tiger Rag" back on the tidal Potomac In Memoriam

    A few years ago the Chespeake chapter guys restored an Old Town 15' featherweight model. Dacron covering, no filler, just painted. Came in at 42 lbs. when done. Mighty close to what you want.
    Tom McCloud
  4. peter osberg

    peter osberg LOVES Wooden Canoes

    The easiest route I believe is to use a light fabric and covering such as dacron, I recovered my 18ft chestnut that wieghed in at 80lbs when it had a canvas cover (when dry and alot heavier after being on the water) with a dacron cover it wieghed in at 49lbs and does not out on much wieght when wet. Cotton is hydrophyllic (absobs water) and polyester (dacron) is hydrophobic. When you get that canvas cover off, it is a surprise howmuch they weigh.
  5. Dan Miller

    Dan Miller cranky canoeist Staff Member

    I have paddled a number of both 14- and 15-foot canoes, usually solo and with no gear, and always prefer the 15 footers. I just find them nicer to paddle.

    Tom MacKenzie (The Loon Works) is the master of lightweight canoes. You might check with him or look for a used one.
  6. brishen870

    brishen870 Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    The original poster wants to use 'traditional methods' so I don't know if she also wants traditional material but Dacron or plastic is not really traditional. I believe Dacron is hydroscopic FYI its just way lighter fiber and may dry faster.
  7. brishen870

    brishen870 Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    Were they 40 lbs though?
  8. peter osberg

    peter osberg LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Mr google will give you the absorbtive capcity for cotton fibre, and make it easier to understand why canvas covering is so heavy, dacron has been the default base for fabric for some manufacturers from the 1960's (Trembley) and small runs from others since the 1950's, dacron is just a way to make a canoe lighter, and traditional for some.
  9. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    The Canadian catalog collection at has two Tremblay catalogs. It is interesting that the one from circa 1967 only mentions canvas covering and the one from 1980 only lists "plastic coated canvas" or Verolite. Dacron covering was first listed in the 1966 Old Town catalog. Can you provide more information about the use of Dacron by Tremblay or by other builders in the 1950s? Thanks,

    Last edited: May 16, 2015
  10. OP
    Denise MsWdnBoat

    Denise MsWdnBoat Breaker of tradition

    I'll forgive such a statement if; you check out Becky Mason and yes she and her dad inspired me to take up the paddle solo
    My my much loved prospector took on and many hundreds of miles of trips with and without full loads of gear.
    Last edited: May 16, 2015
  11. OP
    Denise MsWdnBoat

    Denise MsWdnBoat Breaker of tradition

    Thanks everyone for indulging me on this discussion! Yes, I'm quite aware of the water weight canvas gets. Let's say "dry" for discussion sake. .

    We know all the cedar parts are light. I have some Alaskan yellow cedar that I've been saving for a new build, or use on my existing 15ft canoe which has mahogany for breasthooks (decks), seat frames and out whales. AK cedar it's nothing at all like the cedar we love for ribs and planking It's very much like spruce in my opinion :) It just doesn't want to bend without heat!

    So. .building seat frames in & out whales of AKYC worth the weight savings over ash and or mahogany? I'm guessing it's not much.

    I do like canvas but just may try the poly or dac since I'm not full of youthful energy in my old age :)

    More length with less beam may save a pound or two?

    Truthfully, I'd rather paddle 16-17 ft canoes and NEVER less then 15.

    Thanks again!

  12. brishen870

    brishen870 Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    I have no doubt a female can paddle a 15 foot canoe solo just as far as a man. I just think a 15 foot made with 'traditional methods' and weighting 40 pounds is asking for everything. And still having strength. I guess traditional has to be defined by you though because like others have mentioned if you make your boat out of plastic you will be within your parameters.
  13. OP
    Denise MsWdnBoat

    Denise MsWdnBoat Breaker of tradition

    It is just a discussion Brishen Strip boats aren't much lighter and polyethylene is really quite heavy

    I will weigh my boat before I re-canvas her sometime in the next couple of months.

    this is my 6th post!
  14. brishen870

    brishen870 Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    Your almost to 10! I think your blue boat is for sale on CL. Are you making a new 15+ plastic boat(just kidding) or redoing the blue one if it does not sell?
  15. OP
    Denise MsWdnBoat

    Denise MsWdnBoat Breaker of tradition

    Yes that's my baby I've not had any bites on it. I'm still in the process of selling my Oday30, that should be complete by the end of the month. I'll probably pull the ad off CL and order up some canvas and filler.
    She's not been used in close to 10 years. and hanging in the shop almost as long.
  16. Greg Nolan

    Greg Nolan enthusiast

    Does skin-on-frame fit your idea of "traditional methods"? The Irish and the Inuit and Aleuts have been building SOF boats for centuries.

    If so, you might check out Geodesic Airolite designs < > dacron over a wood frame, a 15' 6" canoe at 32 pounds, and a 17' 6" canoe at 35 pounds.
  17. brishen870

    brishen870 Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    My father once had a very nice skin on frame kayak that we both fit in. It was wood with some type of synthetic skin. It was super light, fast, handled well and looked ok. If I was posting about it on "wood and canvas" section of this forum i suspect it would cause a schism or at least i would be laughed out of town. If asked what the traditional cover of of old wooden boats was 9 out of 10 would say canvas. A few might say bark, animal skin or even plastic. That's just my option of traditional i guess. Most people will also say a martial is vodka though.
  18. peter osberg

    peter osberg LOVES Wooden Canoes

    I bought a trembley new in 1970 or so, having been impressed by their lack of weight gain over the summers and durability over a number of years (the consistency of workmanship was less impressive). I did find my bill of sale a few years ago (when someone on the forum declared that the dacron was canvas) with the dacron based fabric mentioned and it was sold to me as such, as dacron not canvas. Wieght savings are possible, with lighter coatings and fabric, with the trade off it would be a covering that might require more care and consideration. Their original coating of the dacron fabric did not stand up well if left out in the sun year after year, but was very durable over many thousands of miles on the water, and it is still in great condition 45 years later, with that caveat about UV exposure.
  19. OP
    Denise MsWdnBoat

    Denise MsWdnBoat Breaker of tradition

    Greg, I've always admired the skin boats I just don't think I'd feel safe in one. Yes I know they are pretty tough.
    But yes I would have to agree they are a traditional build.
  20. KAT

    KAT LOVES Wooden Canoes

    We have a 15 foot Tremblay in the shop presently and just canvassed it this week, filler went on Friday night. Minus the seats it weighed 47 pounds prior to filler. So add 6 pounds of sand to that... will weight it again when we move it out to storage for curing, which might be tomorrow if it isn't snowing too badly.

    I would certainly think a 40 pound fifteen footer is possible. Thin down the ribs and planking, use lighter weight canvas, go without traditional filler and if it suits you, build your solo seat out of fabric, not wood, a sling seat type of thing, a tump for your butt.

    My solo boat is a 14 foot Chestnut that comes in at 57 pounds and I have shoulder issues. It is just a matter of finding a different way of picking it up to load and portage. I'm going on 54 this Summer.


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