Wood Stripper Durability

G

Guest

Guest
We have had rain, rain, and more rain here in Florida. Most of my neighbors are complaining but I keep thinking about all that water making its way to the local rivers. I've really got the itch to go get on the water for a few days. I finally have a little breathing room in my schedule and can now do just that. But my thoughts are these: I enjoy traditional style camping (canvas vs. nylon) much more than the modern style. I have the gear but floating it in a plastic boat just isn't the same. Don't get me wrong, I love the two canoes I have (Bell Wildfire and Morningstar) and I have tripped in both of them with great results but I really long for a boat that blends in with nature a little better.

Now that you all have a little background on me; my question is this: can a wooden canoe (other than a dugout) withstand hitting rocks, sliding and scraping through shallows, and occasionally riding up on cypress knees? I have been reading about the strippers that some of you have built and of how durable and easily repairable they are. I have woodworking experience and have built a 16' rowboat in the past so I believe that I am capable of constructing at least a crude stripper. I think this would be very rewarding but I don't want to go to all the expense and effort if I am going to punch a hole in the hull every time I take it out.

If you think this might work for me does the entire boat have to be encased in epoxy? I know it wouldn't last as long but it would serve my purposes better. Can it be made of cypress? Sorry for all the questions but I am moving into unknown territory here. Thanks in advance for your time and advice.
 
Joined
Feb 1, 2013
Messages
3,460
If you build in traditional stripper style, yes the entire boat has to be encased in glass. The boat you end up with is not really a wooden boat; it's a fiberglass boat with a wood core. They are durable if you are willing to sacrifice weight. For instance, mine withstand multi-day trips in the Canadian Shield, and I don't treat my boats with kid gloves. However, I put two layers of six ounce cloth on the bottoms of mine. The first three that I built with a single layer are now in the retirement home.

If you have a mould for a wood canvas canoe, you can rib and plank a canoe and get away with only fiberlgassing the outside. I have seen companies that do this, but I suspect long term durability might not be great.

A cedar canvas canoe will take a hell of a beating. Our school club ran them for years. We always carried patching material on trips, but it was quite hard to destroy one. The beauty of the wood/canvas canoe is that all parts can be replaced. The downside is the weight. Our's would start off around 75-80 pounds, and by the end of a two week trip, they had to be close to a hundred from soaking up water.
 
G

Guest

Guest
Thanks guys! Some food for thought. Cypress would be much less expensive for me as I live near a mill plus it is probably more true to what might have been used historically in this area. Are the individual strips glued together or is it just the epoxy cover that holds them all together? I have psoriatic arthritis so lifting a soaked canvas canoe during and at the end of a trip is most likely out of the question. There is some very inspiring work on that blog!
 
Joined
Feb 1, 2013
Messages
3,460
Each strip is glued to the previous one. There are a couple of different build techniques, involving staples vs staple-less, but if you have lots of woodworking experience, it will be a breeze for you. Beware, if you want a light canoe, go with cedar. I've used white pine, and it usually adds about 10 pounds to the average canoe.

Here's a couple of Canadian sites
http://www.greenval.com
http://bearmountainboats.com

And an american one I've gotten a couple of plans from
http://www.valleywoodworking.biz
 
Joined
Jul 31, 2011
Messages
596
Location
Aberdeen, MD
My uncle ate a rock with his 1944 Old Town CS Fifty-pounder on some rapids in the Delaware River and was able to fix it and limp the rest of the way... it's still my favorite canoe.
 
Joined
Feb 29, 2012
Messages
1,820
Location
Schenectady, NY
Brian,

I have been building and abusing strippers for over 35 years. At the bottom of this post I'll attach a couple of links to some step by step threads that I ran during two different builds.
The solo boat is a DY Special, 16'8" long and weighs 31 lbs. It has held up quite well to repeated beachings, groundings and breachings (beaver dams, that is).

The tandem boat is my own design, a 17 footer of slender proportions. Very fast yet seaworthy and maneuverable. It weighed 40 lbs.

I have built from redwood, yellow pine, white pine and of course, western red cedar.
I have used polyester, vinylester and epoxy resins.
I have used fiberglass, S glass, nylon, Kevlar, carbon fiber and Dynel.
I have used all manner of gunnels and materials that you might imagine.

I have not found any better combination than Western Red Cedar with a single layer 4 oz glass, epoxy resin, mahogany gunnels, thwarts and seat frames (with respect to strength, weight, durability and cost)
But, you may have far different criteria than I...

Take some time to look through the linked threads, there may be answers to questions that you haven't even thought of yet...

http://adkforum.com/showthread.php?t=8273

http://adkforum.com/showthread.php?t=13388

And lastly, here's a photo of that DY Special...you could build something just like it, or maybe better!!

DSC_6596.JPG
 
Joined
Feb 29, 2012
Messages
1,820
Location
Schenectady, NY
Brian,

Where did you go? I hope I don't come off sounding like a know it all...just want to give you a clue to my experience so that you could weigh any advice I might lend.

And I look back over my post and realize that I did not address your root question of durability.
You can build a stripper to be as durable (or more so) as any commercial build. It's simply a question of how much you are willing to pay in terms of dollars and pounds.
All other factors the same (laminate, geometry, etc) the strength of a stressed skin composite will increase with the cube of the hull thickness.
In other words, if you want a stronger hull, increase the thickness. Doubling the thickness of the wood will result in an 8x increase in strength.

The single most significant factor for stripper longevity is abrasion. Unless you are willing to launch and land without ever touching ground, you need to protect the bow and stern fron abrasion during beachings. S glass, Kevlar, nylon and Dynel are best for abrasion resistance, in that order. Some folks put a brass stem band, but that's not my style.
Also, a fine entry and sharp stern will make a hull perform great for certain conditions, but also concenrate the beaching stress and hence abrasion. A blunt stem at the bow and stern will ease that effect.

Other damage, a rupture from a grounding, is unlikely in typical use. I often walk in my unsupported hulls, no issue whatsoever.
Scratches, gouges, are easily repaired. Punctures are rare, but are also easily repaired.

So what's stopping you??
 
Joined
Sep 2, 2011
Messages
6,392
Location
Raymond, ME
Its only been two days :) ! Maybe permission from SO to convert the living room to a boathouse...or just needs thinking time re materials.. Paul Meyer of Colden has a nice stripper Widgeon built from Al Brattons plans. http://woodstrip.wcha.org/

What size are you thinking of building?
 
G

Guest

Guest
No worries SG! I am a minister who, with my wife, has a small ministry that calls me away unexpectedly from time to time. This time I helped with a funeral. I learned long ago that I have to let myself be offended in order to be offended. Not that your post came off as offensive or arrogant; it did not. Only very informative. I would love to build a stripper (canoe that is) and I would not be against using a brass skid plate especially if it was uncoated and allowed to tarnish.
As far as what's holding me back, I need to make sure this is something I can do within the limitations caused by my Psoriatic Arthritis. I'm pretty confident I Can do it but I do have both good and bad days. YC, I am looking for a boat between 15' and 17'. Believe it or not, I am sometimes allowed to work on projects inside our house. I don't think that epoxy fumes would be embraced as easily though.

Another type of boat I was considering is a lapstrake design. Do you have any experience with these? I would build this out of heavier wood and even though I could not lift it, it would be strong enough to withstand winching onto a trailer. I was thinking more of a flat bottomed style with clinker sides. I'm not sure where a canoe ends and a small rowing boat begins. I just want a boat with a more traditional feel.
 
Top