Useful Tips

Canoe building


To the same lovers of river rafting as I am dedicated. Initially, I wanted to make a Kevlar canoe, but cedar looks many times better, more elite, richer :) And the cost comes out about the same as it would take to buy a used / low-end segment, namely a little less than 150,000 rubles.

The instruction is more of a fact-finding character, if you really want to make a canoe with your own hands, be sure to buy and read a couple of books on this topic.

Step 1: Design Choice

First you need to decide on the appearance of the canoe, and why it will be used, on what reservoirs races are planned, or it will simply please the eye while standing in the garage.

Design should be practical, but at the same time, and pleasing to the eye. What you need to consider at this stage is the length, estimated weight, handling (some canoes require an experienced guide), how much weight it will carry, symmetry, speed, and the last but not least factor - ease of assembly.

Step 2: Future Ship Plan

Canoe assembly plans and plans can be purchased, for example, at or any other similar resource. I made mine according to the schemes from the book by Ted Mures Canoecraft. The purchase scheme will make life easier, but it will not replace the book with its more detailed description of important points.

Step 7: Cut Side Strips

I made a cut on a table circular - it was necessary to achieve a uniform width of all the blanks. They should not be the full length of the boat, later during assembly they can be connected to each other by hinges. The fortress will give the case fiberglass.

Step 11: Leveling and Grinding

Time to give the canoe a divine look. Grinding can take a long time, a monotonous occupation that seems to have no end. However, the finished look is worth it. Before final grinding the body needs to be moistened and allowed to dry - this will make the pile rise, all the wood fibers.

Step 15: Attaching the Seats

Seats are usually made of hardwood, such as ash, but other species will do. Attention should be paid to the proper seating position so that when landing the canoe does not sink into the water at one end more than the other.

Step 16: A little more sanding and varnish

Now the canoe looks as it should and is almost ready. We grind a little more to give it a matte look. After that, we will process it with epoxy resin and apply varnish. It is necessary to use marine varnish with protection from ultraviolet rays, which adversely affect the epoxy resin.

Photo canoe - construction process:

To make a canoe on your own, you need to have a dry heated room with an area sufficient to assemble the frame of your chosen dimensions, a boat drawing and materials for the slipway, set and hull lining.
Using the table of ordinates, you must draw life-sized frames-patterns and pins. Using a carbon paper, placed under the drawing, their contours are transferred to plywood with a thickness of 15 mm. The drawing and carbon paper are attached to the plywood with small cloves.

The frames are cut with an electric jigsaw along the contour. The frames of the same shape are drawn using the first of them as a template.

Inside the frames-patterns, plywood is cut so that the frames can be tightly put on the load-bearing beams of the slipway, where they are accurately put in place and fixed with wooden overlays on nails or screws.

In order to modify the outer contours of the same-shaped frames, they are fastened together with dowels and in this position they are pressed to the workbench. Traces from a jigsaw file are removed with a belt grinder.

The pivots are installed in the right position, referring to the drawing, and attached to the slipway with strong plywood overlays on the screws. The keel and both fenders are laid out in the cutouts of the frames and cut to the desired length without connecting them to the pins and the transverse set.

The keel (which is a bar) is planed from the ends so that it matches exactly the width of the pins in width. This work is performed by temporarily fastening parts on dowels. Finally they are connected on a slipway.

The bulkheads, when laying in the cutouts of the frames, are securely fastened with furniture corners on the screws. When disassembling the frame, they will have to be removed, so only one screw for each frame is wrapped in the beam.

With the help of an auxiliary bracket, cut from a piece of plywood and trimming a wooden block, the ends of the fence bars are reduced to the pins and marked along the connection lines “on the mustache”.

Trimming along the connection plane is done with a fine tooth saw.

Pine stringers form the frame that determines the shape of the outer shell of the boat. They are laid out on the cutouts of the frames and temporarily fixed with dowels. They are connected to the pins as shown in photo 12.

Stringers are pulled into place by twisting a thin wire passed through the holes drilled in the pins. A short nail can be a large nail. Stringers are fixed with a wooden dowel from moving along the pin.

Epoxy glue is made according to the recipe indicated on the package, and always with a plasticizer. The main thing is to ensure strong bonding of the rods with the keel and fender bars. This compound is reinforced with brass screws. The heads of the screws are drowned.

After gluing the girder bars, keel and fixing the stringers, the whole set is processed with a grinding machine with a 60 grit tape so that its outer surface matches the surface of the future case.

In a set prepared for gluing with plywood and (or) veneer, all the elements that cannot be connected to the canoe body are covered with plastic wrap or duct tape. This is done so that the outer shell does not stick to them. (©

About the main part of the work - canoe body gluing, read on the next page.

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