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      Any suggestions, also I have an idea. . .     



10/18/2021 11:11PM  
I appreciate taking the time to read this:

Okay, I'll start by saying I'm new to the forum; and follow up with I am new with Canoe stripping and boat building in general. I want something that will last a lifetime, but I don't have the necessary money to start this as a hobby. Nevertheless, I'm going too; that being said I know cedar is traditionally used when it comes to canoe stripping, especially Western Red Cedar, and the "best" being Northern White Cedar. Would it be logical to attempt a bamboo build for a canoe? Cedar's Jenka scale varies between 320-580, which is good considering how light it is compared to other woods. Bamboo has a Jenka hardness rating is 1280 and weighs less compared to cedar. Has anyone on this forum used bamboo? Or am I just a delirious college student? Please correct me if I am wrong, any guidance is appreciated.

The canoe build I'd like could be used for two people, but still small enough for solo portaging. I don't mind roughbacking it with only what is needed, but I would like to plan trips to be 1-2 weeks. Surely not off the get go, I have only gone a couple times, for more limited durations. That concludes my rant, but assuredly is only the tip of the iceberg of my future questions. Any and all guidance is welcome, and I look forward to learning as I go.
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distinguished member (300)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
10/19/2021 06:39AM  
"....just a delirious college student?" I'm can't comment on your mental state, but thinking outside the box is where new changes are made. IMO bamboo with make the boat too heavy in the end. Strength to weight ratio is why cedar is used. Any thing can be used to build a boat.(almost) Bear in mind that you are building a composite boat and the material on the forms is a place to put the fiberglass, whats underneath if pretty is the bonus. I built a couple of boats this past spring with cheap 1/4" Luan plywood. The boats aren't as pretty as cedar boats, but more than serviceable. I also built one with Basswood.Beautiful boat, weighs a ton.
Any non-resinous material with work.

distinguished member(2943)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
10/19/2021 08:53PM  
Why do you want to use bamboo? Sustainability and/or environmental reasons?

From what I know of bamboo, you are not going to be able to get very long strips which really isn’t a problem if you don’t mind butt joining all of them together. The type of canoe you want to build is sort of irrelevant to the question of the wood you are using.

Bamboo is almost twice as heavy per cubic foot as cedar. Therefore you are going to be building yourself a heavier boat then you could using cedar.
These are my thoughts so far, awaiting your response.

I occasionally get frustrated when people try something new right off the bat and want to change the best practices methods before they understand what they are doing. I tell people to thoroughly learn and understand the project they are building before they try to make changes to something different. Whether you are a doctor, auto mechanic, or hobby canoe builder. Learn and master prior to inovating.

10/20/2021 04:57PM  
Valid points, thanks for your thoughts on the matter.

Sustainability, and the environment are always on my mind. From what I first read of bamboo, the cubic foot weight was 19 lbs. Today, I tried to clarify this but found some websites saying 19lbs, and some saying 40 lbs. Cedar seemed to be roughly 23 lbs around all. I assume that Cedar is used for its resilence against rot, rigidity when shrinking or swelling, and is a natural repellent to a number of critters such as insects, rodents, and moths. I totally understand why it is traditionally used. It's simply superior to other woods in regards to boat building. Nowadays wooden boat's typically have fiberglass incorporated to extend longevity and increase durability. I simply wasn't sure if anything other than strength and weight mattered with modern canoes; especially in reference to portaging.

On a side note, getting bamboo strips would be a pain, especially when taking into account how long those strips would be to begin with. Not to mention the overall damage done in order to ship it. It simply doesn't grow around here. Western Red Cedar it will be. Now it comes to affordability and if I am able to find quality strips that aren't outrageously priced. Afterall, Covid has made lumber prices skyrocket in recent years.

I do have ample space to work on this project. And I'm glad I received responses in quick order of making the original post. You all are a great source and place for me to list my thoughts and ideas. Any good sources I may use to get this started would be awesome.

Thank you and have a good evening.
distinguished member(2943)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
10/20/2021 09:24PM  
For a stripper, the cedar is strictly because you can buy it in long clear boards and it is easily workable and very light weight. The decay resistance of cedar is not really relevant with strippers since the wood is completely protected by the fiberglass and epoxy.

Overall the cost of the wood for your canoe is not the largest expense. The fiberglass and epoxy will probably cost more than the wood. Adding up all of the items it takes to build a canoe, from the sandpaper,wood, glass and all that you will probably spend around $1000.

Try Menards for your cedar. You can find clear boards up to 12 feet if you pick through the piles, sometimes longer but finding a clear 16 foot board is few and far between but they’re out there.

Sorry about my typos, I have a cast on one hand.

distinguished member(586)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
10/27/2021 05:44PM  
I buy Western Red Cedar from Menards. I've bought 16' 1x planks, for years. They allow you to sort, but restack properly when you do !
WRC has skyrocketed in price, and the quality has dropped.
A sign of the times.
10/28/2021 06:34PM  
Unanimous posts on checking out menards, I appreciate the responses. I'll check sometime over the weekend. I can only hope that wood is included in Black Friday deals!!!!
distinguished member(2943)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
10/30/2021 06:16PM  
Menards is phasing out old growth to second growth plantation cedar. The good stuff is almost gone.
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