Picture of Building A Cedar Strip Canoe

A practical account of my experiences and a brief guide to building a cedar strip canoe. It includes links to stories of using the canoe for wilderness camping and fishing.

I also now have an instructable for a cedar strip kayak:


for more information on the canoe see:


for more information on the kayak see:


estimating epoxy costs:

estimating cedar strip costs:





stripping the hull:

seats, decks,yoke:

sanding and fiberglass:

final details:

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Step 1: Gather Information – getting started

Picture of Gather Information – getting started
Read books about cedar strip construction techniques. Canoe Craft by Ted Moores, Kayak Craft by Ted Moores, Building a Strip Canoe by Gil Gilpatrick. I read Canoe Craft twice before I started the project.

Step 2: Select a design

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Determine what the boat will be used for, a canoe for the cottage, a canoe for camping and tripping, or a work of art just to look at hanging in the garage.

Step 3: Plans

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canoecraft fredom 17tables.jpg
These can be purchased from Bear Mountain, Chesapeake Light craft (www.clcboats.com) or a number of other sources. They can also be created from tables of offsets, using a process called lofting.

for more info on lofting: http://jimmar.hubpages.com/hub/Building-a-Cedar-Strip-Canoe-The-Details-Lofting-the-Plans

Step 4: Build a construction platform

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A sturdy, level, long thin table needs to be built on which the canoe can be assembled.

Step 5: Cut out the forms

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The outlines of the hull cross sections are drawn on sheets of plywood, particle board or MDF.

Step 6: Attach forms to strong back

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The forms are attached to the station blocks on the strong back with drywall screws, taking care to line up the centerline of the forms with the centerline of the strong back.

for more information on making forms: http://jimmar.hubpages.com/hub/Building-a-Cedar-Strip-Canoe-The-Details-Making-the-Forms

Step 7: Cover form edges

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The strips will be glued along their edges and stapled to the forms. Some protection on the forms is needed to keep dripping glue from permanently sticking the hull to the forms.

Step 8: Cut and mill the strips

Picture of Cut and mill the strips
Use the table saw with feather boards clamped to the guide and table to keep the strip thickness uniform. A circular saw with a guide jig for cutting the strips is shown in the photo.

for more information on cutting strips: http://jimmar.hubpages.com/hub/Building-a-Cedar-Strip-Canoe-The-Details-Cutting-and-Milling-the-Strips
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poofrabbit1 year ago
Just wanted to say congratulations on being a finalists in the Great Outdoors Contest! This was a fantastic instructable and just stunning to look at! This goes beyond being a canoe, but just plain art! Love it!! Good luck!
jimmar57 (author)  poofrabbit1 year ago
Thank-you for the kind words. I didn't really expect to become a finalist, nor did I expect 146000 view in less the a month and a half. I just like to create something I can use and enjoy documenting and sharing the process.
Reiff2 years ago
I just can't get over how beautiful that canoe is. I would love to know what you do with these besides show them off. What I'm saying is what kind of waters do you take them in? Or do you even take them out at all. Also, where do you buy kit for these canoes, or did you make it from scratch. I do have a lot of questions because I'm really interested in these kind of canoes.
BigMrTree2 years ago
Amazing work!! Truly a functional work of art!!
I really enjoyed the read on this project. It was well thought out in its planning and in your explanation of the steps and details. Thank you for sharing this, and I look forward to your future projects.

clazman2 years ago
This is absolutely beautiful!

I love your fixtures

I love your attention to detail.

I love your quality of workmanship.

Someone posted an alarming question as to paint color. Paint!? Hide such beautiful work, such lovely wood grain.

I just cannot say enough.

godson19522 years ago
BEAUTIFUL!! well built and I love the way you explained how to do it.I have 3 plastic Coleman 14' canoes and I'd sooner have a wooden canoe than a plastic.For to ride in a canoe is nothing like the "SILENCE" of gliding through water with out any noise.You see wildlife as it was meant to be.Also you can sneak into places to watch the wildlife with out scaring them.LOVE THE canoe build.
buck22171 month ago

That is a beautiful Kayak

ChaseN27 months ago

Check out another example of a cedar strip build at


ChaseN2 ChaseN24 months ago

I updated the site!


jimmar57 (author)  ChaseN27 months ago

Superior work! Nice looking canoe. Sometimes I wish I would have taken a little more time to add the artistic detail like you have done.

Wonder what the common traits are that make people do similar things. I also own an Outback and play guitar.

ChaseN2 jimmar577 months ago

For some reason I'm not surprised. I think building a canoe must be a lifestyle!

Check out my blog on my Senior High School project of building a cedar strip canoe: http://makingcedarstripcanoe.blogspot.com

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leifforrest10 months ago
nice work!
nic nak1 year ago
Just beautiful.

This project looks amazing. My grandpa said he would help me build this, as I don't have the necessary tools. I have looked at estimating cost websites, but my grandpa is insistent upon me asking you what your final cost actually was. I am an avid canoe/kayaker, as well as a big fan of Doing it Myself, so just the thought of making my own canoe just makes me feel awesome

jimmar57 (author)  Woodlandboy461 year ago

Hi Woodlandboy46,

This instructable includes links to help estimate epoxy and wood costs, which are two of the larger components of the cost. I have started on my 4th cedar strip boat, another kayak this time, maybe I'll try to keep an account of costs this time. Your final costs depend a lot on the type of wood and how much you have to pay and the epoxy costs which can vary a lot depending on manufacture. I would say that 1/3 of the cost is wood for strips, 1/3 for epoxy and fiberglass and 1/3 misc such as wood for gunnels, material for the station forms and strong back, tools, sandpaper, wood glue, screws, brushes, plastic, tape, squeegees, deck, yoke & seat frame material, Varnish. I tried to cut costs where I could by making every thing I could. I even reused some old white pine lumber I salvaged when I rebuilt the front porch on my farmhouse. It was used for the hull on my kayak. I think you could estimate about $500 on the low side if you find ways to salvage material and make everything yourself. If you purchase a kit you could spend $2000 or more.

Good luck!

Thank you sir i have decided on the Prospector Ranger 15 im just waiting for the weather here in ohio to warm up so the wood doesn't freeze as soon as i steam it

Just to clarify the Prospector Ranger 15 is the is the canoe plan i decided on and i did use the site you suggested www.bearmountainboats.com/">www.bearmountainboats.com/

Beautiful canoe. how many hours did it take to complete?
jimmar57 (author)  ivan_stephens1 year ago
didn't count the hours, but I started in October and finished the following April and worked maybe 5-10 hours / week
spylock1 year ago
Really nice job,to buy a canoe like that one would dent the bank account for sure,but worth it.
wow impressive work!
Reiff2 years ago
That is a beautiful canoe! That is just beautiful!
Too nice to band on the rocks. Smooth lakes are for me! Nice job, but too much work and the smell!!! Just bought a classic one from a yard sale. Cedar with all the gear, oars, vests, seats, rods & reels, rooftop carrier and lake strap- on wheels., Guess how much ?
jimmar57 (author) 2 years ago
I built these to USE. Yes they do get scratched and banged up a bit, but since I built it I know how to repair it too. Sure looking at the finish product gives me some satisfaction, but not nearly as much satisfaction as using it. I get lots of looks and comments when I bring out one of me boats. I avoid rivers where it might bang hard into a rock, but any kind of lake is ok.

stevedawg2 years ago
That's really cool I voted
jimmar57 (author) 2 years ago
ranger 15- my second was shortened freedom 17
trker2 years ago
What plans did you end up following off of? I thought it might be the Freedom 17 but yours doesn't seem to have the same shape as others I have seen
What a magnificent piece of work!
jimmar57 (author) 2 years ago
In my experience all canoes feel a little tippy at first. After an hour or so that feeling subsides and after a week of paddling while tripping you done even notice. This design is stable. It is a BearMountain Ranger design with a stability rating of 104. A good tutorial is at http://bearmountainboats.com/compare-our-designs/
How is the stability of this canoe? I bought a fiberglass one last year and unless I sit on the floor of the canoe it wants to tip on me!!!
INTHERMA2 years ago
What a beauty!
stephenf2 years ago
All I can say is NICE!
So, being totally clueless, the fiberglass cloths/sheets actually become transparent after the resin & hardener are applied, and the beauty of the wood shows through. Correct?
jimmar57 (author)  stephenf2 years ago
Also didn't need coloring paint only PU clear doff or glossy...
Rob O2 years ago
WOW. This is a beautiful boat. Stunning work. I've always been confused how the ends come together at the stem and stern. Can you post some close ups showing how the strips meet the pre-bent stem pieces? Thanks!!
jimmar57 (author)  Rob O2 years ago
The best photos I have are already incluede in the links in this instructable.
KILLERK2 years ago
gorgeous boat! I was wondering if you have seen my toy gun that shoots over 300ft with a repeating turret? just looking for opinions. http://www.instructables.com/id/TR8-2013-last-updated-07192013/ i also have a video coming soon. I'm sure ill spoof future weapons or something.
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Beergnome2 years ago
Amazingly enough...this build, and the instructions for building the Midwest Hobbies Indian Girl Canoe scale model is pretty much...

exactly the same

that actually gives the confidence that even I could pull this off!!

Great build! and a gorgeous craft!
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