I’ve always quite fancied building a canoe. Some time ago, after having spent a little time reading about it and perhaps a little too long in the pub, I made what may well turn out to be an unwise comment. I might have said that building a canoe looked reasonably easy. Because I’m always on the look out for more chainsaws to juggle I’ve decided give to it a go. Having never attempted anything like this before, I though it could be good to document progress as I go on here.

So, I’m building a 15 foot ceder strip canoe. This will be a winter / spring project that I expect to take around six month to complete, given the time I have available to commit to it. I’m working mostly from the canoe building bible, Canoecraft, by Ted Moores. This really is an excellent book. Everyone says it’s the book to get if you’re setting out to build a canoe, and they’re right.

This weekend I constructed the strong back. This is a long, low, table which will hold the forms around which the hull will be constructed. The book gives excellent guidance on construction which helped it all go together smoothly.

Strong back under construction

It’s important that the strong back is, well, strong. But it’s also critical that it’s absolutely level. I don’t have the ability in my little work shop to make long cuts that are absolutely straight. So I had my big sheets of particle board ripped for me into 10 inch planks at the shop. I could then cut them to size, and make the gables, with my circular saw. This meant it was easy enough to get the finished thing properly level.

Complected Strong Back

It’s now leveled and in place, ready for me to make the forms and mount them on top.