Quantcast
  • We invite you to join UKWorkshop.
    Members can turn off viewing Ads!

Strip planking a canoe. Any experience? Ideas? Costs?

UKworkshop.co.uk

Help Support UKworkshop.co.uk:

Bm101

Lean into the Curve
Joined
19 Aug 2015
Messages
4,093
Reaction score
471
Location
Herts.
Did you ever have an idea that crept up on you so insidiously it might have been a trained assassin? One step after another, never rushing but always waiting for a moment of weakness.
An idea has lurking at the back of my mind, right back there in the darkest shadows for a while. Since we moved up here from Sunny South London to the Lea Valley a few years back really. There's rivers everywhere. Narrowboats and Locks and all that. I very nearly bought a narrowboat at one time. I was two shakes of a monkeys tail away. The Lea navigation is at the end of my road. Sometimes, not often nowadays, I sit in the pub garden and watch the boats and it seems like a calming thing. To be off the main waterways and just turn off the main drag and explore the myriad streams and rivers local to here. Bit of lunch. A beer or two for Dad stowed away. Day out with my lad or lass. A light boat with little draft you could haul out and carry. Cool Beans. Maybe take the little tent and the crayfish traps ( I have a proper license and everything!) Ok Fit a bottle of red in there, two, if we are are away for the night. . :D

The idea has never really gone away. I look occasionally at fibreglass old duffers on ebay then I turn it off. A while back I saw Decathlon were selling a very reasonable looking inflatable for reasonable money. Still didn't seem right.

Then I started looking at ply build plans one night. Quite by chance unless you believe in The Plan. Not saying I do, but sometimes you wonder. Well that looks ok. But wait. Strip planked boats 'aren't much harder' ... Well they do look good! Beautiful in fact! Idea seems basic enough...
I looked for past threads on here, seem to have found the top 2 or 3. Joined here: http://www.songofthepaddle.co.uk/forum/ Took some advice on the older threads on here and picked up a Nick Schade book for £7. Building Strip Planked Boats. Settling into that at the moment. Good read although the canoe plan included is a little short. No problems insurmountable.

I know there are some very very knowledgeable people on here and as much as the idea of this project is growing on me, and almost seems written if you like, the big worry is cost. Time is not the issue. My time is sparse but free. Tools I have although it looks like I will have to muddle some form of basic router table together I have the bones of all that. Skills wise it will be a test but not unfathomable these days.
Materials on the other hand are the dealbreaker. If they top a certain level it's just a non starter. And I recognise the parameters of the question are vague to say the least. Apologies.
Don't yet have anything near a stock list, never had to do one, but if anyone can add any relevant pointers for estimated reasonable material costs as a project I'd be eternally grateful.
Thanks and regards as always.
Chris
 

Trainee neophyte

[Known Putin apologist ]
Joined
12 Apr 2019
Messages
2,422
Reaction score
238
Location
Greece
Is it the build , or the water, the attraction? Have you ever paddled a canoe? Rowed a boat? My thing is paddleboarding, but whatever floats your boat, as it were.

I can tell you that to build one of these (https://www.fyneboatkits.co.uk/kits/sur ... ds/kaholo/) costs about £50 in plywood, and another £250 for fibreglass. I would think a strip plank canoe might be vaguely similar. Do you fibreglass strip plank canoes? I have no idea. The money is all in the labour, not the materials.

I also recommend borrowing whatever you are planning to build - imagine spending months creating something that you don't actually enjoy using :-(
 

Suffolkboy

Established Member
UKW Supporter
Joined
18 Aug 2014
Messages
313
Reaction score
50
Location
Lancashire
I haven't built a canoe but I have helped to build a sailing boat with my father using the technique I think you are talking about when I was approx 12 or 13.

Typically it takes the form of Western Red Cedar with a skin of fiberglass mat and epoxy resin.

It's a relatively forgiving form of boat building I would say.

The strength mainly comes from the glass and epoxy rather than the wood so I imagine (I haven't actually tried) you could use softer or lighter or cheaper woods for your canoe, but in terms of cost I would have though the savings would be marginal, and I have to say aesthetically WRC is lovely wood. A large part of your cost will be the glass and resin and you can't really scrimp on that.

There are some good videos on Youtube that take you through the process and may give you an idea of what you can get away with.

If you haven't ever done any fibreglassing I would recommend some smaller practice projects before taking on something that you will rely on to keep you afloat. Fibreglass is a fantastic material but you need to do it right and pay attention to detail otherwise you can get very poor results.
 

AndyT

Established Member
Joined
24 Jul 2007
Messages
12,030
Reaction score
482
Location
Bristol
I can see the appeal - but I do agree that you ought to try one out first.

I know there are lots of guides on YouTube too. This chap says his first one cost him about $1500 all in and that's in a country where they grow cedar.

https://youtu.be/oYtCLGd7WzQ

What do you get if you take a cutting list from your book and approach a specialist cedar converter?
 

MusicMan

Established Member
UKW Supporter
Joined
1 Jul 2015
Messages
2,006
Reaction score
143
Location
Warwick
Hmmm strip planking is an ancient technique that long predates fibreglass. So I don't see the latter as essential, though obviously caulking joints will be.

Western Red Cedar has the great advantage that it is almost rot free. Whereas cheaper woods can be very prone to rot away all your hard work.

Keith
 

Trainee neophyte

[Known Putin apologist ]
Joined
12 Apr 2019
Messages
2,422
Reaction score
238
Location
Greece
Apologies for the less than coherent reply last night - it was very late, and I may have been tired and emotional.

I found this pdf this morning: http://www.wildfisher.co.uk/specials/ca ... sPart1.pdf

It suggests a build cost of $500, for an 18' canoe. It also has a full cut list, the most difficult part of which will be 70 pieces of 16' 1/4" X 3/4" red cedar. I image most plans will be similar. There are people who will supply pre-milled kits, but they cost an arm and a leg in comparison to doing it yourself - the only issue is going to be finding sufficient wood of the right sort, and the right length. Hope this helps. I would also be very keen to have a WIP once you start.
 

Rorschach

Living on borrowed time
Joined
6 Jan 2016
Messages
4,738
Reaction score
507
Location
Devon
Go on ebay or local selling sites. Buy the cheapest serviceable vessel you can find, use it and see how you get on.
If you enjoy it, start looking at building what you want. If you don't love it, being secondhand you should be able to sell it for near enough what you paid.

A couple of years ago partner and I fancied getting into cycling. Now luckily before we went out and spent hundreds on bikes each my father noted that he had two bikes in the garage. They weren't anything fancy and they are bit heavy but the price was right, free.
It cost me a few hours cleaning them up and we spent a couple of hundred on equipment, most the cost of a bike rack for the car etc.
Well we discovered that while we do enjoy riding them, the faff of getting everything together for a ride coupled with our lack of free time means that we only get to go on a few rides per year.
For the money we paid that's fine, the cost per ride goes down every time we go and it won't be too long before it's nearly free, but oh my would it sting if we had spent the best part of a grand on something we only get to do 3 or 4 times a year.
 

novocaine

Established Member
Joined
21 Jul 2014
Messages
2,497
Reaction score
269
Location
Warrington
In terms of time and effort it's comparatively small beans to build 2 instead of 1. Things like layup and finishing can be split across the 2, cutting 1 part twice isn't a lot of difference etc. you'll also see a small discount on materials.

If you have the space and you think you can do it, and do it well, build 2, sell 1 to pay for both. :D

White pine (which is an american term, I beleive we call it weymouth pine) has been used for strip for a long time, cedar came to fashion in the 80s from what I'm told because (at the time) it was cheaper.

These days they tend to be glassed, this is for speed and longevity when sat outside all the time, it isn't essential, an edge nailed tub (hint, don't use steel nails) with a decent coat of yacht varnish is easy enough, also look at cavel (might be carvel) boat building.

There are some differences in the frame (said because it will annoy the nautical) between a glassed hull and a bare hull.
 

AndyT

Established Member
Joined
24 Jul 2007
Messages
12,030
Reaction score
482
Location
Bristol
Picking up on Rorschach's point about making sure it's not too much effort to get the finished boat out and use it...
I know you said you didn't want an inflatable, but there's a possible elegant solution out there. If you get a proper light weight inflatable you can carry it on the back of a bike. Make that a folding bike and you can carry the bike on the canoe!
Search online for Alys Fowler who writes about gardening. Her recent book 'Hidden Nature' describes how she explored over 100 miles of Midlands canals this way, on a series of solo, person-powered day trips. Her boat is an Alpacka https://www.alpackaraft.com/rafting/
 

Trainee neophyte

[Known Putin apologist ]
Joined
12 Apr 2019
Messages
2,422
Reaction score
238
Location
Greece

Attachments

g7g7g7g7

Established Member
Joined
2 Jul 2016
Messages
101
Reaction score
0
Location
Stevenston, North Ayrshire
I had a dude in the workshop building his own strip plank canoe, you'll be several hundred pounds in strips (he got his machined by robbins with a bead and butt, he hasn't told me what the final price was but I assume £500+), unless you've got cheap wood already available and machines and space capable of handling all the strips you'll need to make, its the biggest cost. Good fibreglass and epoxy is a few hundred on top, before that you'll need your construction glue - I'd recommend semparoc it's a foaming PU that gap fills really well, but it's messy and a nightmare to clean up. You'll also need to loft the thing and make all your building stations, it's a pig of a job and takes a ton of time and I honestly think that a build would come close to £1000 in materials, if you include every single staple.

Now cling film and some odd bits of stick might be extreme but I'm currently doing a skin on frame build for myself with plans from Dave Gentry called ruth it's an 18 ft rowing boat, it's super quick, super easy and dirt cheap, my total material bill is £10 on 4 spruce 3x2 @2.4m, £50 on 12 redwood 2x1, £50 on a half sheet of marine ply, £10 for a few tubes of PU construction glue (gripfill) £40 on polyester and £30 on nails, string and varnish I'm just under £200 for everything. I highly recommend skin on frame for a beginner boatbuilder, it's so simple that it's fun, Dave sends you the templates you stick them to the ply and cut it out with a jigsaw, your strongback is just a bit of 4x2 and only 2 frames get pinned to it.

I'm aiming to get spend another weekend machining timber, scarfing and I'm laminating a stem rather than going with plywood, then the following weekend I'll get the skeleton assembled, fitted out with seats and floors and varnished then another weekend for the skinning and varnishing. Maybe 30 hours in total for the whole thing if all goes to plan.

Links to the boat plans
http://gentrycustomboats.com/RUTHpage.html
 

Inspector

Nyuck, Nyuck, Nyuck!
Joined
18 Jun 2006
Messages
1,885
Reaction score
252
Location
Saskatoon, SK., Canada
There is an add in the for sale section for some red cedar right now. Might not be enough but you can scarf it to make longer. western-red-cedar-timber-t118594.html

There are a ton of books written on making them and many include the plans.

Another way to make canoes is with lapstrake plywood.
https://www.amazon.ca/Ultralight-Boatbu ... 298&sr=8-8

Stitch and glue plywood works too. There are kits available in the US. Don't know about your neck of the woods.
http://www.pygmyboats.com/boats/taiga-canoe-kit.html
https://www.clcboats.com/index.php They sell plans too.

Pete
 

Droogs

Is that chisel shar ... Ow
Joined
14 Mar 2013
Messages
3,959
Reaction score
1,059
Location
Edinburgh
Trainee neophyte":370ji421 said:
Droogs":370ji421 said:
if you want to check out if you like being on the water in a canoe then for £10 you could do this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9MFN2tXnd0Y
Love that video! Must have a go. This year we also spent €100 on an inflatable canoe from Intex - ridiculous piece of silliness, but outstanding fun and packs away into a small box when not in use. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Intex-Explorer ... way&sr=8-5

Here is us going to the beach:


:shock: I think you need a bigger box :lol:
 

nabs

Established Member
Joined
24 Aug 2015
Messages
1,456
Reaction score
13
Location
Herts
I always enjoy your musings BM so I hope you do build a boat - I don't really mind what kind.
 

BigMonka

Established Member
Joined
27 Feb 2017
Messages
84
Reaction score
1
Location
Yorkshire
Trainee neophyte":182fqz2e said:
Droogs":182fqz2e said:
if you want to check out if you like being on the water in a canoe then for £10 you could do this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9MFN2tXnd0Y
Love that video! Must have a go. This year we also spent €100 on an inflatable canoe from Intex - ridiculous piece of silliness, but outstanding fun and packs away into a small box when not in use. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Intex-Explorer ... way&sr=8-5

Here is us going to the beach:
I’ve got the same Intex Explorer, it’s great fun! We can actually fit me, my wife, and two young kids in it so have had a few fun trips out on canals, rivers, and the sea in it.
 

Chris152

Established Member
Joined
26 Apr 2017
Messages
2,188
Reaction score
45
Location
Cardiff
g7g7g7g7":2nk3x4f7 said:
I had a dude in the workshop building his own strip plank canoe, you'll be several hundred pounds in strips (he got his machined by robbins with a bead and butt, he hasn't told me what the final price was but I assume £500+), unless you've got cheap wood already available and machines and space capable of handling all the strips you'll need to make, its the biggest cost.
I found dry wr cedar of the right thickness hard to source for my current project, the nearest I got (not too far from home) was wet-sawn (so it'd need sticking and weighting down for some time) to 10mm thickness, which for about 1.2m x 2.5 m was £27. If you can plane it (/get it planed) to the required thickness, doing the bead and cove (I paid £10 for a set - thanks Tn!) on a router table was quick and easy (that was on strips rather than boards), once I got it all set up. No idea how much wrc you'd need for a canoe but maybe £100/ 150 would cover it?
 
Top