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Full on cedar strip restoration

Discussion in 'Traditional All-Wood Construction' started by Uggymoo, Jul 31, 2016.

  1. Uggymoo

    Uggymoo Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Me being the woodworker of my group of friends. One of them has brought me a 25 year old strip canoe that his father and uncle built and is in need of a full restoration. So far all the fiberglass has let go and came off in one piece and the glue on the bottom strips is non existant. The up side the stem and stern are solid as well as the sides and gunwhales. So I will be looking for advice on most everything . I will keep a photo journal and post as we go.
  2. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    I suspect that at some point you'll start wondering, as I did, whether it's easier to restore something like this, or build a new one. After the last one of these I did, I decided that, if anyone ever brought one to my shop again, I'd tell them it'll be cheaper to buy two new ones than to have me repair it. Your mileage may vary. The sentimental value of the old canoe may outweigh the cost of repair, which is fine, as long as they're willing to pay it.
  3. Todd Bradshaw

    Todd Bradshaw Sailmaker

    Do yourself a huge favor - put down the tools and slowly back away - then run. What you are proposing is pretty much a waste of time and money. It is most definitely a lot easier to build new (and not a lot more expensive) and you'll end up with a much nicer boat. Strippers are not difficult to build and the work goes in a fairly logical order. Trying to rebuild an old, beat up and delaminated one is the exact opposite. About the only people who ever try to "restore" strippers which are that bad are folks with no experience. The rest know better, and I have yet to see a restored old stripper that started off in that condition and ended up looking "good".
  4. Michael Grace

    Michael Grace Lifetime Member

    I agree completely with Paul and Todd. Do some searching on this forum and you'll find other threads that address the same issue. Plus you might get really excited about the possibilities of going in the direction Paul and Todd suggest. Building can be very rewarding - you and your friends could do this as a group project or you could do it on your own. A new canoe won't have the family history, but save part of the old canoe for the memories and dedicate the new canoe to your friend's father! While you're poking around here, you can also discover the world of cedar-canvas canoes and all-wood canoes - both wonderful, and if you want a restoration project that can result in a great canoe, start with one of these. There are plenty of photos of new builds and old canoe restorations that are sure to get you excited. The classified section of this site has a wide variety of wooden canoes for sale, and you can find them on online sale and auction sites as well.

    There are a number of books that you might enjoy reading, available in the WCHA bookstore:

    For strippers, one great one is Canoecraft by Ted Moores & Marilyn Mohr.
    For cedar-canvas, try The Wood and Canvas Canoe: A Complete Guide to its History, Construction, Restoration and Maintenance, by Jerry Stelmok and Rollin Thurlow.
  5. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    This is excellent advice from a very experienced hobbyist. Unlike the wood and canvas canoes that are constructed in a way that allows them to be restored and rebuilt, strippers are either usable or not. Unusable strip canoes have no value and are not restorable.
    Michael's (a respected collector and restorer) advice to source a restorable boat or to build a new one is spot on.

    Please notice that there is total consensus in our responses.....
    I would build from scratch if I wanted a strip canoe.

    Note that in Canada wood and canvas canoes are often referred as cedar strip canoes. These are not the same as canoes that the referenced Canoecraft book would help you to construct.
  6. OP

    Uggymoo Curious about Wooden Canoes

    I knew this was coming and I thank you all for your warnings. But its not the cost its the dad and uncle aspect so I have to try . He knows it wont be perfect if it works at all . on the up side of that his uncle has all the extra cedar and thinks he knows where the forms are. And i'm really good at thinking waaaay outside the box.....and if it dosen't work at least we gave it a shot. And hey you cant fail without trying.
    (yes this is the point you shake your heads and say what is he thinking.)
  7. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    I don't know where you are located but I have a strongback that I somehow ended up with. I'll donate it to your cause if you decide not to try to restore the stripper. PM me if you are interested in it...FOC.

    Most of us are pretty good at thinking waaaaaaaay outside the box...that comes with the territory.

    Good luck
  8. Dan Miller

    Dan Miller cranky canoeist Staff Member

    As editor of Wooden Canoe, I sense a possible story here. Keep a record of your project, and whether it works or not, consider submitting it for publication.

  9. OP

    Uggymoo Curious about Wooden Canoes

    thanks for the offer but I'm on the west coast of British Columbia and I kind of have to build a strongback for the 2 orphan canoe builds (one strip and one plank) that I have inherited from other people
  10. OP

    Uggymoo Curious about Wooden Canoes

    photos and notes mostly so I can see what I did wrong
  11. OP

    Uggymoo Curious about Wooden Canoes

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