Tag Archives: Canoe

Canoecraft cover

Backyard cedar strip canoe: Part 1, Introduction

So, I’ve done it!

Cedar strip canoe example

An example of the beauty of cedar strip canoes, photo courtesy of Dan Iggers.

[The Story so far]
This is the first in a series of posts about building a backyard cedar strip canoe. Follow along as I research, cost, plan, schedule, and possibly fumble my way through an urban build of one of the most loved forms of backcountry transportation. 

Well, to clarify, I haven’t done a damn thing, yet.

I’ve gone and decided to make a cedar strip canoe. As of a couple of weeks ago, I didn’t know much more about them than how they look (pretty darn beautiful, if, like above, they turn out well).

Had I paddled one before? I could count the number of times without using fingers. I had very little idea of the history and actual construction details behind this particular boat-building technique.

I’ve since dug around a bit, read a few things on the interweb, some encouraging, some dismaying, but nothing yet that told me I’m wildly unrealistic.

Challenges

I’m a city dweller with no garage or basement, but a nice little yard space behind the house I rent, so my goal will be to build this canoe in my backyard with zero boat-building experience, few carpentry skills, fewer power tools, and limited time outside of my full-time office job.

I have to take the seasons into account, this being Canada, with a two-season climate (Winter and Construction). So to account for my inexperience and current lack of research, I’ve decided to give myself a goal to be paddling a finished product in 2016.

I want to research and collect resources this winter, so I’ll have a good idea of the costs, skills, materials, and equipment needed.

My research will influence how I schedule the build, since there are climate/temperature-specific stages to the process. The key here is to be flexible based on what I learn and to tailor things to my particular circumstances.

Resources

At this point, I’m not going to list my resources — the list has gotten very long, very quickly, but to be of any use to you, I want to post only what has been of use to me, and that will start to become apparent the more I progress down this road.

At this point, however, almost everything I’ve read and seen online points to the book Canoecraft, by Ted Moores. I’ve picked it up and have started reading, and judging by the inspiring first pages, I expect it to be a good read, and a good reference for the rest of my journey.

Reading a page from Canoecraft, by Ted Moores

A page from “Canoecraft: An Illustrated Guide to Fine Woodstrip Construction” by Ted Moores

I hope that by following along with my successes (I hope there will be at least one, and it floats) and failures (I expect at least a few — but ones we can learn from), you will learn what might work for you, should you decide to do something similar.

If you have no intention of doing something like this, I hope to inspire you, or at the very least entertain you.

In any case, I’ll document as much as I can to bring you along for the ride.

Visit again soon for the next part, “Research”.

A Day with Pinock Smith

On January 15, 2011, I had the distinct pleasure of spending the day with Pinock Smith, a master builder, known for his traditional canoe-building methods.

I first heard of Pinock in the second season of Ray Mears’ Bushcraft, where he and Ray built an authentic birchbark canoe in a week. They worked on screen again in Northern Wilderness, to build a set of snowshoes. They are both great shows, but nothing can come close to meeting and talking with someone who has that knowledge, and being able to ask the questions that are important to you.

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Time for a wanigan

 

What I carry is nowhere near as nice as this, but the concept is essentially the same.

(What I carry is nowhere near as nice as this, but the concept is essentially the same. These are from J.a.G Woodworking)

I’d like to talk about one decision I’ve made when it comes to kitchen on a canoe trip. There’s a part of me that wants to go as ultra-light as possible, knife and a flint striker and some rope, and improvise from there, but there’s another, more obsessive side that wants to bring every gadget possible. Somewhere in the middle is the ideal camping kit. That ideal pack obviously is different for each individual, and indeed, changes for me on a constant basis.

One peice of kit that has started coming with me on any canoe trip longer than three days is my version of a wanigan. Bill Casselman’s “Canadian Word of the Day” site describes it better than I could.

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Trip report: Little Hay Lake

So, I’m long overdue on the trip reports. I started a new job last year, and I’m coming up on my first anniversary in a week. The time has flown by, and the crunch of new responsibilities has died down a bit. I’ve gone on a few trips, and I’m ready to start keeping up with the photos and reviews and trip reports. This is a bit of a year of firsts.

The first first on this trip was going to an entrance point I’d never been to: Entrance 16, on the East side of Algonquin.

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Trip Report: SittingMan Lake

This was a good trip for my friend Keith’s first time into Algonquin, in terms of what to expect for canoeing, since the Tim River to Rosebary, and then on from Longbow to Sitting Man Lake (our final destination) is a good mix of winding rivers, grassy marsh, ponds, and nice, open lakes with deeper water — a good distance to cross all of it in one day.
read about the rest of the trip – boobs, beavers, moose and strange fingers.