Rounding the bilge of the canoe with cedar strips can be a little challenging as you're trying to make a strip of wood bend or curve/twist in two directions at the same time. Thankfully, the wood is thin and flexible enough to manipulate the strips into place and secure them with staples and wood glue.
Building a cedar strip canoe requires acquiring strips of cedar. Not only that, but they need to be milled with a bead on one edge and a cove on the other. These can be bought on various places online, pre-milled. I chose to cut and mill my own.
Now that the strongback and station molds are in place, it's time to begin construction. This begins with the inner and outer stems at the bow and stern. Starting here creates an attachment point for the cedar strips at each end.
Once you've got your station molds cut out, it's time to build the strongback - a long, narrow table where you'll mount the molds, evenly spaced. This will form the overall canoe mold to which you'll mount strips of cedar that will eventually become a beautiful, hand-made canoe.
The Bearmountain Boats plan for the Freedom 17 came with full size pattern for the station molds. I had a local print shop make a copy of them so I could keep the originals nice. I cut out the copy and laid them out on 1" particle board, traced them, then carefully cut them out with a band saw.
In my last post, I discussed how the idea for a boat bookshelf became - build the whole boat - an actual craft, that can hold actual people, and actually floats. I had never built anything that large or complex before, so I did what many people do and turned to Google.
A few years back, I got this crazy idea to build a boat shaped bookshelf. In looking into the project, I discovered people were building beautiful cedar strip canoes. The more I Googled, "cedar strip canoes" (or kayaks), the less I found myself looking for plans to build a boat bookshelf (basically a small rowboat standing on its stern with shelves where the seats would be. I was hooked! I was working as a waiter at the time, and while I had taken wood shop in jr high school, I had never worked in a wood working shop. Up until I decided I was going to build a canoe, after my 7th grade wood shop class, the only things I had built from wood were glass racks for a restaurant I worked at. This was going to be a BIG project!
My plan is to update this blog a few times per month and eventually document my conversion of a broken Hobie 16 catamaran into a beautiful, cedar strip, sail-worthy ship that any Hobie Cat fan would be jealous of. :)
That's it, that's my canoe. I went on a shopping spree at Home Depot and bought the saws, hand tools, and even the cedar, oak, and pine used in the construction. The cedar planks were anything but clear, so at every knot in the wood, my 1/4 inch strip broke as it was being ripped. This forced several butt joints during the construction. If you can, find clear cedar boards, free of knots! More on the construction process to follow in future posts.