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:

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.
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poofrabbit2 years 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.
nkatic15 days ago

you sir deserve that prize, congratulations!

The finished product is beautiful and truly a work of art. The Instructable for creating the canoe is also very nicely done. I hope you win something for all your hard work. Two thumbs up!

jimmar57 (author)  smilesfromnowhere18 days ago
Thanks for the comment. I did win a first prize in the Great Outdoors contest in 2013.
Verga21 days ago

Very nice work. You might save yourself a bit of sanding if you used router bits that gave you a concave profile on one side and convex on the other. You would need to use 2-3 additional cedar strips per side, but this would be a small price to pay to reduce the sanding and get a tighter fit on yhour joints.

jimmar57 (author)  Verga19 days ago
see photo
jimmar57 (author)  Verga19 days ago
Thanks for the comment. I did use that type of joint, it's called bead and cove. The problem I had was that I cut mu own straps with a table saw and they were not very consistent in thickness, even along the length of the same strip. I would invest in a thickness planer if I build another strip boat.
BenTauer19 days ago

Why the fiber glass?

jimmar57 (author)  BenTauer19 days ago
For waterproofing and rigidity. The wood strips alone are held together with glue and the hull eventually would swell and leak without the fiberglass or some sort of water proofing. The fiberglass cloth on inside and outside of the wood makes a laminated core structure which is very stiff and strong.
Laral21 days ago

I got the book years ago but never made it. :(

You did a great job on it and gave so many details. Great Instructable.

jimmar57 (author)  Laral19 days ago
Thanks for the comment. You should go through with building one. It's a little overwhelming at first but once you get started it's not bad.

I'm stunned. A cousin of mine makes these and they never cease to amaze me. The quality of your work is astounding. Thanx for posting this.

JNiece21 days ago


Phil_S21 days ago

Outstanding boat-building craftsmanship.

I love wooden boats way over the utilitarian glass fibre offerings.

The nearest we get to see boat -building craftsmanship in the UK are some of the Lake District and Thames vintage steam and petrol cruisers - the Italians still make nice speedboats.

buck22171 month ago

That is a beautiful Kayak

ChaseN28 months ago

Check out another example of a cedar strip build at


ChaseN2 ChaseN25 months ago

I updated the site!


jimmar57 (author)  ChaseN28 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 jimmar578 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

2013-08-20 18.12.24.jpg
leifforrest11 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
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