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Where to start?

Discussion in 'Traditional All-Wood Construction' started by Chris322, Sep 29, 2013.

  1. Chris322

    Chris322 New Member

    I'm an experienced woodworker (12 years)that was forced out of custom cabinetmaking when the economy tanked several years ago. I prefer quality over quantity so I will never go back to custom cabinets. Long story short I'm missing it and am interested in building a strip canoe. There is a lot of info on the web but not sure where to start. Is it best to start with a short one or is longer easier? I love the look of Alder but is that a wise choice? Who would have the best plans? :confused:
  2. Dan Miller

    Dan Miller cranky canoeist Staff Member

    Are you interested in traditional (Peterborough-style) cedar strip or modern glass-covered strippers?
  3. OP

    Chris322 New Member

    Not sure. Never worked with fiber glass. What's the difference in durability? And value of finished product?
  4. OP

    Chris322 New Member

    don't get me wrong I don't expect to get rich doing it. but in the end if I can't afford to pay my electric bill and gas bill for the shop what's the point. My preference is no metal fasteners and all you can see is the wood.
  5. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    No metal fasteners, and only wood is visible? You're talking either a bark canoe, or a dugout! Cool stuff!
  6. Kathryn Klos

    Kathryn Klos squirrel whisperer

    There's a type of all-wood construction that doesn't involve metal fasteners-- at least none that are visible. If you're thinking fiberglass and you haven't worked with it, there are some great posts here-- found by using the "search" function in the upper right-- that you might find helpful.
  7. Dan Miller

    Dan Miller cranky canoeist Staff Member

    The best way to make a million dollars building canoes is to start with two million...

    As Paul pointed out, the only traditionally built all-wood canoes with no fasteners are dugouts and birchbark. There is no market whatsoever for the former (and they are a lot of work to make), and the latter have a steep learning curve.

    Among "carpentered" canoes, the cedarstrip/epoxy/glass and glued-plywood-lapstrake are the easiest to learn to make, but as books and plans are heavily marketed towards the home-builder, you have to not only learn to build impeccable canoes, but add something that sets you apart.

    Beyond that, you are looking at significant investment in learning a construction technique and/or gearing up. For example, building a mold for a wood/canvas or traditional cedar strip canoe is more work than building the boat itself.

    Your best bet may be to learn how to restore canoes. There always seems to be a demand for that, and you can be up and running with less investment in education and tooling up. At the same time, you can be reading up about construction techniques. Reading lists for some methods are here:

    In addition to those, "Canoecraft" by Ted Moores for cedarstrip construction, and both books by Greg Rossell for traditional methods are recommended.

    Parting shot: A well-known canoe builder just won a million dollars in the lottery - when asked what he was going to do with the money, his response was "keep right on building canoes 'till the money runs out..."

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