How to Select Your Canoe Building Plan

Author: Daniel Smith

Perhaps you've decided to build a canoe because it is a great first boat to build and will result in you having enough boat building experience to build a larger boat. Perhaps you've decided to build a canoe because you are a sportsman and look forward to hunting or fishing from the canoe. Perhaps you look forward to the recreation and the workout you can get on the water. Regardless of the reason, the first step in building a canoe is selecting a great canoe building plan.
There are many different kinds of canoe, and knowing the differences between them will help you to select the best set of plans to build the ideal boat for you.

Fishing Canoe
Because of the need for stability while reeling in fish, fishing canoes have a greater width than a more traditional canoe. They can be modular giving the opportunity to move the seats within the canoe depending on the current needs and to support more or less occupants. While paddles are the most common form of propulsion, many of this type of canoe have a spot for small motors that are useful going to and from a remote fishing spot.

Touring Canoe
The larger touring canoe offers ample room for storage to accommodate for longer, possibly overnight, trips. Another common modification in a touring canoe building plan is the addition of a seat with a back instead of just a bench. In the state of Maine, where I am from, it is not uncommon to see several canoes travelling up the Saco or Allagash Rivers for camping trips. The touring canoe is ideal for this.

White Water Canoe
While the fishing canoe is good for the sportsman, and the touring canoe is good for the camper, the white water canoe is the perfect choice for the adventurer. Canoes built from these wooden canoe plans will result in a canoe that is made for maneuverability as it traverses the rapids. These canoes are built with strength in mind so they can withstand the inevitable beating from rocks and waves and are smaller than other canoes to give it a nimbleness not available in other types of canoes.

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About the Author
Regardless of the type of canoeing you will be doing, there is a canoe building plan that is perfect for you. Before deciding on the type of wooden canoe plans to purchase, consider the purpose for the canoe and the type of activities you will be doing in them. While there are plans specifically designed for each of the purposes above, there are also wood canoe plans that are created with two or more purposes in mind.

Chesapeake Light Craft - Sassafras 12 Canoe Project

Roger's Canoe Project Week 18

Canoe Building Project

It has been a little longer than I wanted but finally I am getting started on our next project, the Sassafras 12 Canoe. Since this is a winter project and my garage is too cold, this project is being done in my basement. This will really be a challenge since the space I have available is limited and I will not be able to complete the project in the same room as I am getting started. My long room, necessary for joining the planks or "strakes" is carpeted and I will not be able to do any sanding there without greatly upsetting my domestic relations. I will therefore be starting the project in one area and completing it in another, uncarpeted (and smaller) area. This second area also has a “straight shot” out of my basement when the project is completed.

Building an SUP (Stand Up Paddle Board)

By Philip Towne

Builging Standup Paddleboard

Every winter in Northern New York we put our Kayaks away and dream of an early spring. With the water frozen what's a paddler to do, four years ago while searching the web I found a company Chesapeake Light Craft (CLC) selling kits to build your own kayak out of wood and fiberglass.

After reading their builders forum and selecting a kayak from the dozens of different designs they offered, I placed my order. My first kayak took about 110 hours to build and got complements every time I took it to the water.

Read More

Roger's new project is the building of a Pygmy Murrelet kayak from a kit to put together.

Roger's First Paddle with the Murrelet

Roger's boat Building image

Over the next few weeks you will be able to follow Roger as he finishes his new kayak from the ground up with reports weekly and pictures of his progress as the building unfolds. If you are planning a project like this, you will gain insight about the process. So stay tuned.

Pygmy Murrelet

Pygmy Murrelet 4PD V2 Project

I have put off, for every possible excuse, my desire to build my own kayak for years. I finally realized that if I continued putting it off, I will never do it. Seeing the review in Sea Kayaker Magazine on the Pygmy Murrelet convinced me that today was a great day to start. So I ordered it.

The biggest concern I had was Fiberglass and Epoxy. I have never worked with these. Second is where to build it. I decided my car was going to spend the summer in the driveway and Epoxy and I were going to learn to be good friends.

There are going be challenges. My garage is 80 years old with the typical 80 years old concrete floor. Dirt would be more level. I will need to add lighting. I need a work surface. I will also have get over my fear of Fiberglass and epoxy.

Over the summer, I will attempt to document my adventures. Hopefully I can point out the problems I have, so you don’t have to repeat them, and show my successes.

The Beauty of Wood!

Wooden Kayak

In this day and age of synthetic this, and artificial thats, there are few things as beautiful as a wooden kayak or canoe. Whether built by a professional or in a handyman’s garage, wood boats are head turners. If you are interested in owning one there are several aspects to consider.

First, for most people, is whether to buy a finished craft or to build it yourself. When buying a finished boat you can see the craftsmanship before you hand over payment. Building it yourself gives you the pride of knowing there is no other boat in the world that is exactly like yours.

Over the past few decades DIY kits have made it much easier for the home handyman. Companies like Chesapeake Light Craft and Pygmy Boats can sell you kits where all the wood is precut with computer accuracy on their CNC cutters. They will sell you everything or anything you might need to finish your project. You will be able to customize your boat with different upgrades, like a better seat or foot pegs. There are even precut wooden inlays you can purchase to give you boat some premium touches.

For those who are more adventurous, there are plans available and great books available for guidance. Unless you have a CAD program for boat design, I would recommend buying plans, since these crafts canoe, kayak or even a paddleboard, have been tested. It kind of stinks, building a boat of your own design, just to find out it takes a tightrope walker to keep it up right (not that this has happened to me).

Soon I will have more articles about building your own kayak but in the mean time here are some resources to look at;
books like;
Building Strip-Planked Boats by Nick Schade
The Strip-Built Sea Kayak: Three Rugged, Beautiful Boats You Can Build By Nick Schade

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