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Welcome to my forties: skin-on-frame canoes

Apr 30, 2023
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Finally got around to making seats and putting them in a few boats this weekend. My favorite boat is up next; thought it was best to work out the kinks before I started messing with her. These are drilled for cane but it was quicker to just run to the hardware store and get webbing (still not cheap!). First boat is something of a lake freighter, so the seat is way back from center.


Everything's on bolts and wingnuts, so they can get pulled if they get annoying; a 12-inch-deep boat and a 6'4" paddler looks a little goofy, crammed on a seat. I much prefer to kneel, but dang my knees haven't held up. They'll be good to have, though; I can simply turn the boat around, load gear behind the seat, and paddle kneeling from the other end. Ideally, I'll be able to do mornings kneeling and afternoons sitting, or similar.
Looks good!
My knees don't tolerate kneeling either. I also have a light canoe (lapstrake plywood) that's only 11" deep. At 6'5" people say it looks small on me. I like it because it weighs 40#.
@memaquay I've built 12- and 13footers in the mid-30s, but those pictured are up in the low 40s, plus probably 2 pounds for seat frame, hardware and webbing. If you get them too light, they don't behave very canoe-ishly. When you look at either buying a 45-pound canoe for $3,000, or building one for $300, they look very appealing.
Are they day trip boats only, or can you light trip with them?
I am curious only, not critical, because they do after all mimic birch bark canoes. Light solo trippers?
^ I've beat the living s$#& out of them. People used to hunt whales and walrus out of boats like that. (Well, bigger ones than mine.)

There's no glue in them, apart from the gunwales, so they have enough give and flex to bounce off rocks rather than crash into them.
I've done a ten-day 220-mile river trip, lots of 4-5-6 day tripping in the 'Daks, plenty of weekend river trips; they do 90% of what you need a canoe to do. I did one or two class 3s, but both were essentially big smooth tongues, plenty of class 1-2s.
Nice work, MKH! And thanks for your report on strength, cost, and durability of skin-on-frame. Dave Gentry designs lots of wonderful boats. Be sure to start a thread in the boat construction forum.
@JohnSand I'd love a picture of your lapstrake canoe; always interested to see new styles. I've seen a lot of plank-and-stitch plywood boats, but not a lot of lapstrake-built ones.
@memaquay it's an 840d ballistic nylon, available as a kit from the Skin Boat School - link here. A guy named Corey runs it, and he's the kind of guy who'll sit on the phone with you for an hour to talk about your build. Great folks.

I'll see if I can put a build thread together, it'd have to be a bunch of different boats, but I bet I've got pics of the whole process.
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Sorry guys, I see them, and I'm not deft enough online to know why they might not be visible to all. I copied and pasted them.

John and everyone else, copy/pasting an image directly into the reply box is not a supported method of image insertion in the current version of Xenforo (which is also now running on the WCHA forum). It may or may not work depending on browsers, operating systems and hardware. You need to use the Insert Image icon in the editor toolbar or the Attach Files button at the bottom of the reply box.
Instead of hijacking the 'boats on cars' thread I did a little search and found this. Thanks for sharing, @MyKneesHurt ! My time for builds in limited these days but I'm increasingly intrigued by SOF as lightweight alternatives for portaging. My knees hurt too....along with the rest of me after portaging a 16ft royalex.