Other Things to Think About

All Else Being Equal, Not Everything is Equal
Ain’t that the Truth



Introduction | Time | A Place to Build | Budget | Skills

So if, after having read the advice on the preceding pages, you’re still wandering in the weeds here’s what I’d say … some boats are much easier to build than others. And some techniques are easier to master than others. The choices you make at the beginning will determine the frequency and severity of your headaches later on.

If at the outset you determine to build a replica of a 1920’s courting canoe run straight to the druggist and buy the biggest bottle of Advil you can find. If, on the other hand, you’re the sensible sort you appear to be (you did read these articles the whole way to the end, didn’t you?), you’ll take heed of the following lists.

Choosing a Hull Shape

The simple curves found in modern style hulls are easier to plank than the complex curves common in boats with dramatic tumblehome, hollows, or sharply rising ends. Short boats with a broad beam are harder to strip than longer boats of the same beam because fewer stresses will be place on the planks.

Here are a few things I’ve learned.

  • Recurved stems are more more difficult than plumb ends
  • Gunnels that rise sharply as they approach the stems are a challenge to install
  • A longer boat is easier to plank than a shorter boat of the same beam.
  • Recurved tumblehome at midships is more difficult to plank and finish than standard tumblehome
  • No tumblehome at all is easiest of all
  • The less sharp the turn of the bilge, the easier it is to plank
  • Hollows are more difficult than no hollows

Choosing Building Techniques and Materials

Likewise, the successes of a first time builder may very well be determined by what he or she chooses to put in the boat, and the techniques deployed accordingly.

  • Stemless ends remove a step, and require fewer acquired skills
  • Decks are more complex to shape and fit than handles alone
  • Seats attached to hangers are easier to install than those fitted to sliding rails or cleats
  • Seats attached to the floor are easiest of all
  • Scuppers? You don’t need ’em
  • Built in flotation … harrumph
  • Caned seat? Who are you kidding?
  • It’s easier to buy seats and thwarts than make them
  • It’s easier to fit strips with a rolling bevel than it is to set up a cove and bead router
  • It’s easiest of all to purchase pre-cut strips
  • It’s easier to spring your gunnels if they’re made of green wood
  • When joining strips its easier to use a butt joint than a scarf
  • A matt finish is easier to apply than a gloss finish.
  • And all sorts of other things I’ll think about the minute I publish this article …

What Boat Should You Build?

My hope would be that there’s enough information in this article and the proceeding pages to give you the confidence needed to build a canoe. I’d also hope that a reader will have enough information to choose wisely when looking at canoe plans. For more information from Ashes selection of plans, boats, and what you get when you order them, follow one of the links below.

I’ve also posted a link to the Anglers Day immediately below. It’s a symmetric 15 footer with gentle curves and good stability. I’ve featured this hull because her curves are relatively easy to plank. And, because she’s the same shape at both ends, a builder will be repeating angles and cuts, rather than earning new ones. Note too, that the plans allow for either a tandem or solo setup.

For builders who want something more sporty, the Solo Day would be a good choice. Whilst the recurved tumblehome will give some pause for thought, her plumb ends and relatively narrow beam means shell plank easily and not put up too much of a fight when securing the gunnels.


Build a Instant Classic

The Anglers Day from Ashes

The Anglers Day

15′ x 33″
for cedar strip construction



Building a Canoe

Everything You Need to Know Before You Start

Intro | Time | A Place to Build | Budget | Skills | Choices Choices Choices

Why Choose Ashes | Ordering Plans, What You Get | Choosing the Right Canoe


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