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Canoe Weight Calculater

In order to achieve an accurate result please ensure that all fields are filled out. If something seems odd in the final total, check your entries. Sub weights and total weights are calculated as entries are made. Enjoy!

Using the Calculator

This calculator is designed to help canoe builders to determine the final weight of their canoe. It allows the user to make decisions about what canoe design to choose, which materials to use, and how much weight certain elements add to or subtract from the total.

Our objective is provide a useful and accurate tool. That said, keep in mind that we can’t control the accuracy of what you do in your shop or the qualities and weights of the materials you purchase.

When in doubt, a user should refer to the notes below to guide their selections. Further notes on how the calculator works can be found lower on this page.

Surface Area in Sq Ft

A measure of the total surface area of your boat. Use the total area associated with the model you wish to build. We list the totals for our designs here. Other plan distributors may or may not make this number available for their models.

  • Ashes Solo Pack – 40.08 ft2
  • Ashes Solo Day – 49.21 ft2
  • Ashes Solo Trip – 50.88 ft2
  • Ashes Anglers Day – 54.04 ft2
  • Ashes Tandem Trip – 58.97 ft2
  • Generic Prospector 15′ – 57 ft2
  • Generic Prospector 16′ – 61 ft2
  • Generic Asymmetric Tripper 16′ – 60 ft2
  • Generic Asymmetric Tripper 17′ – 64 ft2
Wood Species

The calculator automatically adjusts the final weight based on the type of wood you choose to build your boat with. We use weights published by The Wood Database in our calculations.

Strip Thickness

It’s possible to reduce final weight of your canoe or kayak by using strips as thin as 3/16″. While suitable kayaks or canoes with narrower beam, we don’t recommend strips this thin for boats with a beam over 30 inches or with a shallow-arch midships profile. Standard strip thickness is 1/4 inch.

Gunnels

Gunnel weight is calculated by using cross sections with an area of .75″, 1″ and 1.25″ per side. Make your selection based on anticipated use and boat size.

Seats, Thwarts, Decks and Handles

The calculator assumes that the builder is using templates for seats and thwarts similar to those supplied with Ashes’ plans which are fairly standard for industry norms.

Finishes

While almost all builders will use a fill (hot) coat on the exterior of their boat, it isn’t required on the inside hull. Nor do we recommend it as it adds unnecessary weight and expense. An exterior fill (hot) coat however is assumed.

We find that 4 coats varnish on the outside and two inside is plenty. You may beg to differ and as such the calculator leaves you free to determine the number of coats you wish to use.

Fasteners

In order to save weight some builders will choose to glue their gunnels to the hull, and fix seats to cleats laminated to the side of the hull. This option includes a weight allowance for mechanical fasteners at the stems and centre thwart.


Canoe Plans

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Notes on How We Got What We Got

Doing the Numbers

Surface Area of Hull

This number is inputted by the user and forms the basis for the core calculations. Where and when possible a user should acquire this number from the whomever he or she has obtained plans. If this isn’t possible, we’ve supplied a generic number based on traditional designs.

Wood Volumes

These are automatically generated based on standardized sizing, and where appropriate the user is given a range of choices. That said, there are those who will overbuild or under-build their seats, gunnels and thwarts and weights will be consequentially affected (as could durability).

Wood Weight

When building this calculator we’ve chosen to include a selection of woods common to strip built canoes and kayaks. Weights are given at 12% humidity. Weights for these and other species can be found at The Wood Database.com

  • Cedar – 25 lb/ft3
  • Basswood – 26 lb/ft3
  • White Pine – 26 lb/ft3
  • Spruce (Sitka) – 27 lb/ft3
  • Cypress – 32 lb/ft3
  • Douglas Fir – 32 lb/ft3
  • Cherry – 35 lb/ft3
  • Mahogany (Honduras) – 37 lb/ft3
  • Walnut – 38 lb/ft3
  • Ash – 42 lb/ft3
  • Maple (Hard) – 44 lb/ft3
Fiberglass and Epoxy Weights

The calculator uses the weight per square yard of the fiberglass cloth plus an equal weight for epoxy.

Fasteners

In order to reduce weight some builder use glue to fasten their gunnels and seat cleats to the hull, using mechanical fasteners only in the ends and at the thwarts. The calculator allows for this building method, as well as for tradition use of seat hangers, screwed gunnels, and bolted stems.

Finish Calculations

Finish weights are calculated using the published weights, coverage, and solids content of a number commonly used Marine Finishes and averaged out

  • Averaged Weight: .95 kg per litre
  • Average Coverage: 150 ft2 per 500 ml
  • Average Solids Content: 50%
How Accurate is the Calculator?

Good question!
In our shop, using the techniques that we use, we are always surprised at how close we get to target weights. That said, to hit the numbers an amateur builder needs to pay attention every step along the way.

  • Choose properly dried wood. Anybody who’s randomly selected planks of building materials will know how much variation there can be between one plank and another. If weight matters, don’t be lazy about wood selection.
  • Pay attention to your gunnels and fittings. It’s easy to overbuild. The calculator provides options based on the type of use you’ll be putting your canoe or kayak to.
  • Use the manufacturer’s recommended amount of epoxy for the cloth you’re using. This is an area where it’s easy to get carried away. Use enough to fill the cloth weave and no more; you’ll just be adding plastic and you don’t need it
  • Consider your use of mechanical fasteners. The greatest stresses on a boat are at the stems and centre thwart. Do you really need screws every four inches along the gunnels?
  • Go minimalist. Do you really need fancy decks? Complex marquetry? Inlays? Flotation tanks? Brass cleats? Sliding seats? It’s all your call. And it all comes with a weight consequence. You choose.

Did it Work?

Was the Calculator Useful? Was it Accurate?
If so, please let us know. And if not, also let us know. Really! As in really really! This whole Ashes project is a work in progress and if we can make it better, we want to. And the best way for that to happen is through dialogue with our customers and the boat building community in general.

 

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