BWCA Canoe build Boundary Waters Listening Point - General Discussion
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hfpedersen
member (20)member
 
03/02/2021 10:01PM  
So after displaying my canoes over on the trip planning forum, I was asked to talk a little bit about the builds.

I built these two boats over the course of maybe 3 months, and in all honesty they could probably be built in half that time. I got the plans from Cape Falcon Kayak over on the west coast. He has a great website and the plans/videos are incredibly well done. He mainly focuses on kayaks and the canoe plans are in "beta testing" so plans are actually fairly cheap for now.

The tandem is 15'8' x 31.5" and the solo is 14'8" x 30". Seats and thwarts are removable in both boats and the small boat actually nests inside the tandem so I can fit both easily on top of the car.

Unlike most builds these boats do not require you to build any bucks to form the frame. The ribs are all hand bent and lengths are determined by a formula provided in the plans. A little intimidating at first but its actually fairly easy. I will say, the one downside to this style of building is that its tough to end up with a very flat bottomed boat the bigger you go due to the tendency of the ribs to spring back. He makes this very clear in the build, hence the "beta testing". The boats require minimal tools, a table saw, plunge router, hand saw, block plane and a wallpaper steamer to build the steam box.

Both boats are made from pine and white oak, except the rub rails which i used some reclaimed white oak floor boards from a salvage place. The plans recommend cedar, but being in the midwest finding 16' long clear pieces of cedar was not going to happen. There are no mechanical fasteners and only minimal doweling. Everything is held together by artificial sinew and the skin. The skin is Xtra Tuff 800 nylon with a 2 part low VOC resin.

Please feel free to ask any questions as I'm sure I've glossed over things. I'd build another in a heartbeat and actually have 2 friends who have requested boats if I have the time.

Both of these boats will be headed up to the BWCA in August.

 
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Savage Voyageur
distinguished member(13897)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished membermaster membermaster member
 
03/02/2021 11:16PM  
Outstanding work. I wish my workshop was bigger. How much does it weigh.
 
hfpedersen
member (20)member
 
03/02/2021 11:20PM  
Savage Voyageur: "Outstanding work. I wish my workshop was bigger. How much does it weigh. "

Actually not totally sure. 38-40lbs seems about right. Maybe a little more. They are stored away now so I can’t weigh them. Building them out of cedar would have dropped the weight by a lot.
 
03/03/2021 09:13AM  
"The boats require minimal tools, a table saw, plunge router, hand saw, block plane and a wallpaper steamer to build the steam box."

And a LOT of clamps! It may seem simple to you, but that's craftsmanship there. Well done!
 
Chuckles
distinguished member (188)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
03/03/2021 09:16AM  
Awesome work. Thanks for posting this.

Do you have an idea on total cost, ignoring labor?
 
hfpedersen
member (20)member
 
03/03/2021 09:21AM  
OneMatch: ""The boats require minimal tools, a table saw, plunge router, hand saw, block plane and a wallpaper steamer to build the steam box."


And a LOT of clamps! It may seem simple to you, but that's craftsmanship there. Well done!"


Ha! Yes, I forgot about the clamps! Luckily HD has them for $1 each.
 
hfpedersen
member (20)member
 
03/03/2021 09:22AM  
Chuckles: "Awesome work. Thanks for posting this.


Do you have an idea on total cost, ignoring labor? "


It’s kind of hard to nail that down. Lumber has become so expensive and varies so much by location. I know a couple people have built the gunwales on these with scarf joints and therefore dropping the cost as long clear lumber is where most of the cost is.
If you have a sawmill near you I’m sure you could save even more.
The skin kit for one boat is around $300.
If/when I build another I want to try and do it with only lumber from a big box store.

Check out the Cape Falcon site. There are videos and a partial plan you can view for free. He talks about tools needed and materials.

I’d also like to state I have no woodworking experience beyond very basic skill sets. If you take it slow these kits are very easy and simple to follow.
 
Chuckles
distinguished member (188)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
03/03/2021 09:42AM  
hfpedersen: "Chuckles: "Awesome work. Thanks for posting this.



Do you have an idea on total cost, ignoring labor? "



It’s kind of hard to nail that down. Lumber has become so expensive and varies so much by location. I know a couple people have built the gunwales on these with scarf joints and therefore dropping the cost as long clear lumber is where most of the cost is.
If you have a sawmill near you I’m sure you could save even more.
The skin kit for one boat is around $300.
If/when I build another I want to try and do it with only lumber from a big box store.


Check out the Cape Falcon site. There are videos and a partial plan you can view for free. He talks about tools needed and materials.


I’d also like to state I have no woodworking experience beyond very basic skill sets. If you take it slow these kits are very easy and simple to follow. "


I'm truly inspired by your work. I'm with you on the lack of woodworking experience, so it is great to hear you can create beautiful boats without crazy skills. I've been on their website watching videos (i.e. blowing off my customers) and am already trying to fit this into my life. Their videos say total materials are $350, but I'm sure this is the low end. But this is totally within reach, even if it is double or triple this, it is cheaper than a similar quality solo.

 
hfpedersen
member (20)member
 
03/03/2021 09:59AM  
Chuckles: "hfpedersen: "Chuckles: "Awesome work. Thanks for posting this.



Do you have an idea on total cost, ignoring labor? "




It’s kind of hard to nail that down. Lumber has become so expensive and varies so much by location. I know a couple people have built the gunwales on these with scarf joints and therefore dropping the cost as long clear lumber is where most of the cost is.
If you have a sawmill near you I’m sure you could save even more.
The skin kit for one boat is around $300.
If/when I build another I want to try and do it with only lumber from a big box store.



Check out the Cape Falcon site. There are videos and a partial plan you can view for free. He talks about tools needed and materials.



I’d also like to state I have no woodworking experience beyond very basic skill sets. If you take it slow these kits are very easy and simple to follow. "



I'm truly inspired by your work. I'm with you on the lack of woodworking experience, so it is great to hear you can create beautiful boats without crazy skills. I've been on their website watching videos (i.e. blowing off my customers) and am already trying to fit this into my life. Their videos say total materials are $350, but I'm sure this is the low end. But this is totally within reach, even if it is double or triple this, it is cheaper than a similar quality solo.


"


Yeah, that definitely on the very low end and he may be referring to building a double blade pack canoe, far smaller. Also, he's in the PNW where lumber is far cheaper.
I will say that sourcing still green white oak for the ribs was hard. Again, I live in a metro area so I had to drive pretty far to a sawmill and I ended up buying a lot of extra to make up for knots. Now, he has been doing tests (available on the site) with kiln dried white oak and while it doesn't bend as consistently as the green stuff it seem pretty promising.
 
03/03/2021 10:36AM  
How strong are these? I've never used a Kevlar canoe before, only aluminum and plastic, do you have to worry about stepping between the ribs or that there might be a rock on a sandy beach? Would getting in the canoe while it is on shore damage it? What would it take to put a hole in a canoe like this?

I'm interested in building my own canoe, but I'm not sure I want something that would break easily. We bump into rocks all the time, stow the canoe in less than perfect spots at camp, and I have a hard time believing that I would suddenly baby my canoe perfectly. Even if I did, everyone else in the group probably wouldn't be as careful since they are so used to aluminum canoes.
 
hfpedersen
member (20)member
 
03/03/2021 02:08PM  
If you are looking for a canoe you can drop off a cliff, drag over boulders and leave outside in the winter this is definitely not that boat. Its a give and take between weight and strength, you can't have both. That being said there are some videos out there of ppl stabbing the skin with screwdrivers and smashing it with mallets with no damage beside cosmetic.

In all honesty the skin is the strongest part of the build and here is video on the subject:

Cape Falcon

 
03/03/2021 03:06PM  
hfpedersen: "If you are looking for a canoe you can drop off a cliff, drag over boulders and leave outside in the winter this is definitely not that boat. Its a give and take between weight and strength, you can't have both. That being said there are some videos out there of ppl stabbing the skin with screwdrivers and smashing it with mallets with no damage beside cosmetic.


In all honesty the skin is the strongest part of the build and here is video on the subject:


Cape Falcon


"


Not going to drop it off a cliff or anything. I'm more worried about it being pulled over a beaver dam, loading up at a landing on a hidden rock, or running into a rock on a river or when approaching a landing.

The people I trip with are used to dry footing and pulling a canoe up on shore to make it easier to unload. I just don't know how careful you need to be. Is it like waterproof paper where rubbing up against a rock is going to rip a hole down the side of the canoe? With aluminum, you have to hit something that is sharp and you have to hit it hard to cause actual damage. The only way I could see anyone doing that on accident in the BWCA is if a tree falls on one or if they wrap it around a rock in rapids.
 
tumblehome
distinguished member(2104)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
03/03/2021 07:00PM  
I would avoid kiln dried wood as it is less flexible/ more brittle.
A better hardwood than oak would be black ash. Strong, light, very flexible.
Readily available in clear lengths.

F&S is the clearest grade. Means first and seconds.
Next is #1 occasional small knots, less straight grain
Then #2 which would not be desirable for this type of craft.

Clear cedar is still pretty easy to find if you ask for it from a specialty store. Even HD might sell you some but you can’t see it before you buy it. $5 a BF is not uncommon but worth the price when it comes to boat lumber. Google the smaller mills and suppliers. Big box stores don’t know what you want and would have to custom order it sight unseen.

It looks like you would want a hardwood for a canoe like this since there is such sparse support. Cedar will snap under a load whereas ash will not.

I think your canoe is very pretty and functional. Like a good pair of shoes, or a hand-made knife, you take care of it and it will take care of you. Gentle paddling and respect will keep it seaworthy. If that is Kevlar over the frame then it is a pretty strong hull. Kevlar is not easy to tear by any means.

Tom



 
yellowhorse
distinguished member (115)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
03/04/2021 07:13AM  
Awesome builds. Thanks for sharing.
One plan, multiple options for sizing?
 
hfpedersen
member (20)member
 
03/04/2021 08:39AM  
yellowhorse: "Awesome builds. Thanks for sharing.
One plan, multiple options for sizing? "


Thank you.

Yes, one plan. It’s based on a series of formulas that determine length, depth and other factors.
 
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