View Full Version : Wood strip canoe pics.

04-09-2006, 08:59 AM
Hi all,

Here are the pics I promised to post in another thread. They are of a couple of wood strip canoes my brothers and I made years ago. One was made of red wood and one of pine. The one I chose to take more pics of was the pine canoe.

Here goes......

04-09-2006, 09:00 AM

04-09-2006, 09:01 AM

04-09-2006, 09:02 AM

04-09-2006, 09:17 AM
Mate.... They look awesome!
Tell you what, jump in one, start paddling and In a couple of weeks I'll throw a beer in the esky and a couple of prawns on the barbie for you! If you time it right the beer will still be cold and the shrimp tasty!

Thanks for the pics.. Again, they are awesome looking canoes!

Tell me, do you use them to target a particular species? (I'm guessing Bass, but to be honest have no idea if you'd catch them in chicago!

04-09-2006, 09:24 AM
That's it for the pics.

It was a fun project making these canoes with my brothers. My eldest brother, Steve, deserves most of the credit. One day, I got home from school and I saw him and my other brother, Chuck (the guy on the right in the 1st pic -- I'm on the left) building a "strong back" down in our basement. I had no idea what it was at the time. I asked them what they were doing and they explained that they wanted to try and build a canoe. I asked if I could help and they said yes. Many hours of work, a few cuts, mountains of sawdust, foul-smelling resins, itchy fiberglass sheets, strange looks from the neighbors (we did the finishing work outside) and we had our first canoe completed. A year later, we finished our second.

It was hard work but we're definately glad we did it. I wouldn't mind trying another one but I have no room!

04-09-2006, 09:57 AM
Hi JasonT,

Thanks for the kind words.

Yes, we target bass a lot with them. They are great for sliding right over the thick weeds that our bass like to hang out in. In fact, I remember a day on Lake Shabbona where we fished a bay that was absolutely choked with lily pads and mucky algae. There were a bunch of guys fishing the edge of the bay but couldn't get to where the fish were (their motors and props would get trashed). We slid right past them and glided anywhere we pleased. We pulled fish after fish out and they just watched. When we left, we had to paddle right by them. We got some pretty hard glares from a few and some funny, "Beat it you skunks!" from others (they were just kidding). ;D That was a trip I'll never forget. It was very satisfying to have something we built ourselves perform so well.

They are good for most species but mainly for the smaller to medium sized fish. I really enjoy fishing for crappie, bluegill, perch, white and yellow bass and such. I'm not sure if I'd want to wrestle with a huge muskie or catfish in a canoe though. It might be a bit like surfing. ;D Also, on windy days, you get blown around pretty good in a canoe. What we mainly use them for (small lakes, ponds, backwaters in rivers, etc.) they're really great though. It's also just a lot of fun to paddle around.

As a matter of fact, two of my brothers took a canoe trip down the Fox river yesterday with their friends. I'll ask them for pics!

One last thing. The paddles shown in the pic were also made by me. The little one was for my sister. She was just a little kid back then and needed a smaller paddle. That's why they are so different in size. She wanted a picture on it, so I asked her to pick an image from a native American art book my Dad had. I think the drawing is supposed to be a sea eagle but can't remember (13 years ago :o). Time flies!

Thanks again for the nice words JasonT. I'll see if my brothers have any pics of the trip on the Fox. I hope so, it's a neat place.


05-09-2006, 01:36 AM

I was able to get a few pics from their canoe trip I mentioned. I posted them in the Fresh water photo section if anyone is interested in seeing a local river of ours. There are a couple pics of catfish my brother caught as well.



05-09-2006, 06:36 AM
Absolutely awesome #[smiley=thumbsup.gif]
I bow my head with awe and respect.
Mate, I love doing the old woodwork project or two myself and can really appreciate the time and skil to make something like your canoes.
Makes it all the more satisfying when you can tell stories like yours as well.
Mate, Can you describe the basic construction method??
Cheers and loved the pictures

05-09-2006, 06:43 AM
Nice job 8-)

05-09-2006, 07:07 AM
Nice work E C

they look great

05-09-2006, 08:29 AM
Thanks guys!


The construction method is pretty straight forward but can get tricky.

First, you have to build a strong back. That's a sturdy frame upon which the canoe is built. It's kind of like a thin table.

Then you cut out rib frames (my word) out of particle board. It's best to use a stencil to make sure the sizes are right. The frames look a bit like half circles. The biggest one attaches to the strong back in the middle and then as you get to either end they are smaller. When done, you have what looks like a canoe skeleton.

What we did for the strips (that make up the hull of the canoe) was to cut them from lumber. I think they were 1/4 inch thick. You can probably buy them from the lumber yard pre cut. We did it ourselves to save money (not time--takes forever).

You then start attaching the strips to your frame. You staple them to particle board rib frames that I described above. Between each strip, you add some wood glue. This adds strength and hold the canoe together later when you remove the staples.

When all of the strips are added (you now have what looks like a canoe but not quite) you remove the staples and sand the wood strips so the surface is smooth and free of any glue that dripped. It's kind of fragile at this point because only the wood glue is holding it together so be careful. It is still on the strongback frame by the way.

O.K. now you cover the canoe with a sheet of fibre glass. Make sure it's on there good. You then apply the resin. This smells awful and is sometimes tricky . You have to make sure there are no air bubbles under the fiberglass sheet. When the resin hits the fiberglass, the fiberglass turns clear and you can see what your canoe will look like. A note of caution on resins. The kind we used was NOT compatible with redwood (the pine worked fine). Make sure to ask when buying. For some woods, you need epoxy (way more pricey). We were so sad ;D the redwood canoe was beautiful but after the sun hit it, big air pockets started to form when the fiberglass started to detatch from the wood. We patched them with epoxy but yuck! That's why it is painted red and green.

Alright. Finished the outside. Now you take the canoe off the strong back and sand the inside and apply the fiberglass and resin. NOTE--We had two layers of fiberglass on inside and outside when finished (more on that soon ;))

Almost done. You add your gunwhales, thwarts, and decks (that you make by hand if you're truly cool like us ;) so it looks extra pretty.) ;D ;D ;D

Done! Mmmmmmmmaybe. ;)

We tried it out and found the hull to be a bit too "ripply" (it was too flexible/weak). So we paddled for shore as fast as we could before it shattered and killed us. Did I say we were "truly cool" earlier? ;D ;D ;D We didn't look it then! :o ;D

We had to add another layer of fiberglass to the outside and inside. Easy. Just sand the hull gently until it is smooth and add the fiberglass and resin as before. Add a coat of clear coat or varnish if you want. Shiny look.

NOW it's done. The hull doesn't ripple and you don't have a mad dash back to shore. ;D

I'll try to find a website that has pictures as my writing skills aren't the best and some of this was probably confusing.

05-09-2006, 08:35 AM
Here's one! He did his a bit differently but not very.


05-09-2006, 10:43 AM
Excellent. Thanks matey. :)