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.
Some may consider this a mistake or a challenge, but I chose to buy cedar boards from the local Home Depot store. The problem here is that the boards aren't (or weren't) "clear" - meaning knot free. The cedar boards I bought were defiantly not knot free. In dozens of strips cut, only a handful of them were ripped from the entire length of the board without cutting through a knot. Knots are weak points in the board. If the strip doesn't break at the knot when being cut, it is a sure bet that it will break as soon as you try and bend it around the frame. Since the length of the strip needs to run from bow to stern and the canoe is 17' long, this meant several butt joints throughout the canoe.
Beads and coves: like hardwood flooring, in order for the cedar strips to nest next to one another without coming apart, cedar strips get a concave edge on one side (cove) and a convex edge on the other (bead). This allows the edge of one strip to sit partially inside the neighboring strip. This further allows the strips to be angled somewhat as you work your way around the bilge of the canoe. The beads and coves allow the strips to be angled without a gap that would be created if the strips had straight, 90 degree edges.
After cutting the 1/4" strips from the boards, I ran them through a router table with feather boards to keep them in place. In the router is a bit that cuts coves along the edge of the strip. After cutting the coves, I changed the bit to another that did the opposite and cut beads along the other edge. Now the strips are ready to add to the canoe. More on that next!
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Trent Denison: Blogger, YouTuber, DIYer, Electronics Repair Technician, Foodie, Cyclist, Runner, Mountain Climber, Entrepreneur, Genuine jack-of-all-trades.