Stripper or Wood Canvas?

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I was doing some research in the forum threads on building wood canoes. The idea of building my own canoe is very interesting.

I noticed this quote on one of the threads:

Mem, you could build 4 or 5 strippers in the time it takes to rebuild one w/c canoe. I cannot see your wife letting you spend that much time in the garage.

So is it really that much quicker to build a stripper than a w/c? No offense intended Mihun09. Just wanted to get some other opinions.

How long does it take an experienced builder to build a stripper?

How long would you estimate a noobie with minor wood working skills would take to build a small, stable solo stripper canoe?

What plans would you recommend for a noobie that wanted to build a small, stable solo stripper that could be used for fishing or tripping?

Finally, what is the best book to pick-up to learn about building strippers?

Thanks for your patience with all my questions. I'm just finding this incredibly interesting.
 
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Not a problem soggy. :)

I have built one stripper and am in the process of refurbishing my 4th w/c canoe with 3 more in the queue and I am driving 1000km one way in August to pick up another couple of w/c canoes for restoration. However, I do want to build another stripper in the next year or so, but rebuilding an old canoe is cheaper than building a stripper, it just takes longer considering you need to take apart an old canoe to restore it.

With time and resources, I could build a stripper in a couple of weeks likely, but I lack the time since I have a full time job, which is also why it takes so long to restore a w/c canoe. There is time for building and tripping and regular house renovation work all crammed into 4 months of warm weather to deal with.

The stripper I built I did over a winter in my basement. I had never built any canoe before, I bought plans from Bear Mountain and went about it. It was 177 hours over several months but the end result was well worth it. A very stable canoe that we have tripped with and fished out of.

Karin
 
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Mr. (or Ms??) bottom,
I have built a stripper in as little as 40 hours, some take me as much as 60 hours, if I'm being very fussy.
While I can appreciate the beauty and nostalgic attraction of a W/C canoe, a decent stripper can weigh half as much as a similar design W/C, and maybe even less. For me, that's a clincher...I do many long (over 2 mile) carries, and I need every advantage I can get!

A first time builder with reasonable skills and forethought could build a good boat in 50 or 60 hours, I think.
Patchfly was a first time builder, he might chime in or you could PM him. He was extremely happy with the process and the result.

I can't make any recommendations for a specific hull for you, I would need to know your weight, experience, and intended usage. (whitewater, flatwater, pond hopping, extended tripping, canoewhacking...)

Books: Nick Schade's
David Hazen's
Gilpatrick's

Or follow these threads:
http://adkforum.com/showthread.php?t=8273
http://adkforum.com/showthread.php?t=13388
http://adkforum.com/showthread.php?t=19959
 
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Wood canvas canoes are built over a form. Putting the form together for a one off boat seems unwise from both a time and money expenditure. Plus then you have to store the form which takes as much room as a canoe itself. Metal straps provide the base to nail the planking to the ribs.

However there is always an exception. See if Alex Combs method would work for you

http://www.stewartriver.com/images/One-offarticle.pdf
 
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Different strokes... lol. How you build your stripper can determine how long it takes as well. I haven't and won't build using the staple method. It would indeed be faster, but I prefer stapleless. If I'm putting the time into a hull like that, I don't want a zillion holes showing or even having to paint the hull the hide them. For me, the point of a stripper is the wood, nice colours, a pattern perhaps. However, if you wish to make a boat fast, then by all means, go with staples.

I will eventually build another one.

A new w/c can vary from about $2500 to $9000 depending upon the builder and model chosen.

Karin
 
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I didn't keep track of my hours when I built my first (and only) stripper but it went surprisingly quickly...until I got busy and ignored it for a year. I was working on it evenings and weekends and I think within a couple weeks it was stripped and glassed on the outside. I'd originally planned to paint the exterior so my motto was the more staples the better since I didn't have to worry about seeing the black specs. Anywhere the strips didn't want to conform or one wanted the waver from the previous I just added more staples. Then in the end I decided not to paint it after all and while the staple holes are certainly visible they don't bother me in the least.

It was pretty intimidated going into it. I'd done some rough carpentry but detail work had never been my strong suit. But everything went fine. Even when it came to cutting, sanding, and fiddling with the final strips to get them to fit just right it was easier than I expected. The strips are so thin and the wood so soft that it's incredibly easy to work with. A little pull saw, small plane, and some sandpaper do the trick.

Northwest canoe in St. Paul has plans available as well as supplies. They're a great source of information and if I remember right they have an online manual available on their site for free that's quite good.

Greenval has plans from Jonathan Winters

Bear Mountain Boatworks has a lot of plans available.

I built a Kite (same hull as Osprey) from Greenval and, depending on your paddling style, it might fit the bill. Unfortunately it doesn't fit my paddling style so I don't get it out much.

For me boats are all about practicality. As long as it paddles like it's supposed to, is a weight I can tolerate, and stands up to its intended purposes, and doesn't dominate my life in the building process I'm satisfied. But for others tradition, technique, and beauty are equally important. Neither is right and neither is wrong. You just need to decide what's right for you.

Alan
 
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Thanks everyone for the great replies!

I'm a Mr. :)

It sounds like I want to go with a stripper based on the feedback so far.

I think the next question I need to answer is which plan. I think I also want to go with a kit for my first one.

I'll do some searching around the Internet to see if I can find some recommendations on plans, but I certainly won't refuse any that you kind people may have.

My primary usage is 2-3 day tripping, smallmouth fishing, and some class I to III rapids occasionally. I use a single blade paddle.

Do wood canoes like this handle rapids well or do they tend to get beat up too much? I have only paddled aluminum and polyethylene canoes.
 
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I suppose that would depend on how good you were at reading the rapids. :) It will also depend on how heavy you build the boat. The more layers of fiberglass the tougher (and heavier) it would be. I don't run rapids so others will likely have better input but I believe that true class III rapids would be a lot to ask of any open canoe unless you're very experienced, especially if you want it to handle flatwater as well. It's likely no composite boat (woodstrip, kevlar, or fiberglass) would be able to take the punishment that an aluminum or plastic boat could.

Are you normally paddling on rivers with some whitewater or normally on lakes? Where do you live?

Alan
 
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Mr. bottom,
Here is a photo of my buddy in some mild class II with his wood strip Wee Lassie II. It was about the worst choice for the river we ran (Upper Boreas) and the poor little thing got beat up badly. The issue was not the fact that it was a stripper, but rather that the hull had really sharp stems and absolutely no rocker! Even so, buddy spent a few hours to patch it up and the boat was back in service the next week. This hull is 13'6" and weighs 26 lbs, 4 oz cloth in and out, stems took the worst of it.

Ultimately, hull design and paddler skill will determine how well a boat holds up in whitewater...strippers, in general, can be as strong or stronger than any composite production boat. A little bit of nylon, some Dynel, the right glass and you're all set!!

DSC_1257.JPG

DSC_1221.JPG

DSC_1176.JPG
 
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I think I read rapids pretty well. I typically stay out of the rocks but I have been on some (labeled class III) rapids that involved a steep grade and shallow rock slabs that are difficult or impossible to avoid sliding over the rocks.

I think I will stick to a plastic canoe when I get the urge to run the more complicated rapids, though it sounds like I need to pay attention to the design I choose for the wood canoe regardless.

Most of my canoeing is on rivers that have class II or simpler rapids, tripping and fishing.

I live in central Arkansas. I enjoy traveling the Upper Ouachita, Buffalo, Spring, and Eleven Point. These are all pretty mild rivers at regular flows. The most challenging I have done is the Big Piney.

I'm 5' 9" and weigh 140 lbs, so I'm pretty small.

At first I was thinking of building a solo canoe. I have a wife and two kids and may need to stick to a tandem canoe and consider building a kayak later for those solo trips.

I'm making the assumption that building most canoe plans is simpler than building most kayak plans, though I'm sure there are exceptions. Is that true?
 
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I've never built a kayak but a canoe seems simpler since you're not building 2 halves and then joining them, which is how I believe it works with kayaks.

If you're not lake tripping you could probably get by with a small tandem (16' or so) that could be used as a solo as well. Something like the Kipawa (also available new from Swift). Lots of people solo prospector type canoes as well. I don't know that I'd recommend that if you were paddling large lakes but should be doable on rivers. They're made for moving water.

Alan
 
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Mr bottom,
I have my own design 17 ft tandem that is a dream to paddle in nearly any water. I built one at 37 lbs, some others have been 41 and 45 lbs.
I can give you my plans if you like...I'm at work at the moment, attaching photos is difficult, bit if you poke around my picasa site, you'll find plenty of photos of it.
BTW, we're nearly the same size, including the family size. My kids are grown and gone though...
https://picasaweb.google.com/106699033390367026630?noredirect=1
 
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stripperguy,
I would love to take a look at your plans.

What does everyone think? Should I purchase a full kit to build my first or should I attempt to go at it from scratch?

The idea of getting the bead and cove correct on the strips is a bit daunting. I don't mind purchasing a router table, but this seems like a difficult task. I have some basic woodworking skills, but I've never done a lot with a router.

I purchased these two books today:
Canoecraft by Ted Moores
Building a Strip Canoe, Second Edition by Gil Gilpatrick

I have been looking at kits for building a Prospector 16'.
http://www.noahsmarine.com/items.asp?Cc=BM-16_P

It's quite expensive for the full kit. If I could do my own strips, I think it would cut a lot out of the price. What do you think?
 
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Cut your own strips. Last time I bought cedar, it was $147 for enough to build that 15' Kite. Cutting the boards into strips, then planing the thickness, and finally cutting the cove and bead took about 6 hours total. Once you have your strips ready, it's a pretty easy process.
If you send me a PM, I can send you a CAD file with the sections for my 17 ft tandem.
here are a couple of different builds of it.

DSC_0108.JPG

DSC_0086.JPG

DSC_8045.JPG
 
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Do I remember correctly that your Kite build was the first where you used bead and cove? What did you think of it? Was it worth the trouble?

Nice looking lines on the boat, BTW.

When I did my Kite I bought precut (but not bead and cove) strips. I think it cost me somewhere around 400-500, but I really can't remember for sure. It was the right choice to make at the time but for my next one I'll likely be cutting my own, unless I can't find a good source for the lumber.

Alan
 
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When I built my stripper, I was quoted $600 just for western red cedar to be brought in with 18 foot lengths. Being in the middle of Canada has it's disadvantages with wood choices. What we did was find, piece by piece, clear Manitoba cedar that was 8-10 foot long and did scarf joints on 75% of the strips of a 16 foot canoe. We got some really nice oranges, yellows and pinks in the wood with a cool tiger stripe effect through the middle. Total wood cost was $135 going that way. I did bead and cove the strips but at the time did not have a thickness planer so it just involved a bit more sanding after stripping.

Whole build photo thread is here if interested. http://s1182.photobucket.com/user/Mihun09/library/Cottage Cruiser Solo Project?sort=2&page=1

 
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Do I remember correctly that your Kite build was the first where you used bead and cove? What did you think of it? Was it worth the trouble?

Nice looking lines on the boat, BTW.

When I did my Kite I bought precut (but not bead and cove) strips. I think it cost me somewhere around 400-500, but I really can't remember for sure. It was the right choice to make at the time but for my next one I'll likely be cutting my own, unless I can't find a good source for the lumber.

Alan

Yes, I was firmly against using cove and bead strips. I had helped another boat building buddy (an employee of mine, actually) strip his comp cruiser. His coves used a full radius, leaving these feather edges, that invariably broke off, often in my palms. When it came time to sand, he had to sand off twice as much as expected, to level down all those broken feathers. When I saw that, I swore I would never use cove and bead strips....all that work, just to make more work!?

And so, for the next 15 years or so, I continued to use square edged strips. If you saw my boats in person, you'd see there were virtually no edge gaps.
This latest boat, the Kite, I wanted to try something different with an opaque exterior. If I didn't have the hull extremely fair, it would look pretty poor. Not that I'm all that concerned with aesthetics, but I do take pride in my work. Anyway, the cove and bead strips made for a very fair hull, faster stripping, and way less sanding, both inside and out.
So was it worth the extra 4 hours (for planing, beading, coving)?? Absolutely, nearly every step after was faster and easier with those cove and bead strips. Just be sure to use a radius that is at least 1/4 of the thickness larger, that way you avoid all those fragile feather edges. ( 1/4 radius for 3/16 strips)

Now, where did Mr bottom go??
Are you convinced yet? I mentored (virtually, that is) a 1st time builder over the last 2 years. He too, built a Kite. He joked that his coworkers wouldn't let him use a screwdriver, they considered him that inept. He learned much, and now has quite a beautiful boat, for little money. Best of all, he built it!! I don't think it has fully sunk in yet...he is already planning what to do differently on the next one.
 
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Those are some great looking boats.

stripperguy,
I looked at your canoe through your Picasa albums yesterday. Those are are great looking boats.

One question for you. It looks like you enclose each end of the hull, why do you do that?

I will PM you for the CAD file.


mihun09,
I love the look you achieved there with the strips.


I'm convinced. I'm definitely going to bead and cove my own strips. I know of a table saw I can borrow. I may purchase a router and table, so I can make all the modifications I want to it.

What about a planer? Do I need one?

Is this the type of planer I would use for planing strips?
http://fortsmith.craigslist.org/for/4501532154.html
 
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I usually install bulkheads and decks for several reasons:
1. By enclosing that area, I gain tremendous strength
2. Inside that area is difficult to sand and cleanly laminate, those bulkheads and decks hide a multitude of sins.
3. The enclosed areas provide flotation. The boat will float a little higher when swamped...and they all swamp at some time or other.

I often paddle where there are many, many beaver dams, those decks also make for a convenient stepping platform.
I planed my strips with a Grizzly thickness planer, bought from Craigslist for $80, it worked great. It looks similar to that Delta. BTW, those Delta planers are all over Craigslist for bargain prices.
I did my cove and bead cuts with a Delta shaper, also a Craigslist special...that one was $60 and needed a starting capacitor for the motor.
1/4" radius cutters came from Carob (I Think), and were around $35 for the set.
 
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