Katie and Mike's Canoe Building Page

Katie and Mike's Canoe Building Page
More Canoe Building

(-or One Lady and her Lollipop Stick!)

(Last up-dated 29/10/07)

Katie is Paul - the designer's daughter and Mike is her man and both are keen canoe enthusiasts with little time to spare from busy jobs and little space to build a canoe in - typical really of many people who would like to build a canoes or small boat. Neither have anything more than basic woodwork skills or tools - but they do have 2 advantages - enthusiasm and a dad who can advise.

So we thought we would show their slow progress to building a canoe in a small and in a garage already full of bikes and gardening tools.

The canoe is our Kate design and she is being built in 2 halves to save on the building space required and to make storage easier. Incidentally, the Kate design is simply a deeper version of Little Kate which Paul designed many years ago and which was named after the Kate you see in these pictures - when she was a lot smaller.

On the subject of building a canoe in 2 halves, this can be done with most of our open canoe designs and simply requires 2 plywood bulkheads (frames) in the middle of the canoe attached to the planking with a simple wood frame or fillet and bolted together using four 6mm bolts with large penny washers - we used to put a neoprene gasket between the bulkheads but this was found to be unnecessary. We have a simple A4 sketch on how to do this, so if you want to build or store your own canoe in this way, let us know when you order the plans and we can include the sketch.

The planks have already been marked and cut out (for more information on this go to our FAQ's page), so we start with stitching the hull planks together.

1. Katie is using a medium gauge garden binding wire - this is a shot of the inside of the planks - holes were drilled along the top edge of one plank approx. 6mm in from the edge and spaced around 200mm and, whilst holding the adjacent plank in place, a hole was drilled to match - the planks are light in weight so this is easy to do.

2. This is a shot of the outside showing the ends of each stitch twisted together - initially thay are not twisted too tight, allowing some adjustment in the position of the planks. Stitching starts from the middle of the canoe and works towards the ends - thin cable ties or scrap copper cable can also be used.

3. Starting from the bottom planks, Katie now has all 5 planks stitched together - lastly she has stitched the bow and stern seams and standing back, has the beginnings of a canoe. The stitches are temporary and simply hold the planks in place - they will be removed later.

4. This is a shot of the inside - with all the planks together, Katie has gone round all the stitches, starting from the bottom and working up and tightening them all and making sure that the edges of the planks are together properly (ie. one is not riding over another) - you can see some gaps but small ones are not important and will be filled by thickened epoxy - larger gaps either require a bit more filling with wood and epoxy or releasing the stitches and having any bumps either side of the gap planed down a little.

5. We mentioned above that this example of Kate (the canoe) is being built in 2 halves - here is a shot of the centre/middle join - the bulkhead does not come right up to the gunwales and can have a removable seat fitted over it - the simple pine frame can be seen and the 4 bolts will go through this, spaced to dictribute the stress.

6. Katie has mixed up some thickened epoxy (epoxy resin+hardner+filler powder) and is applying this with her trusty lollipop stick to the chine and centreline seams in between the stitches.

7. A closer view of the epoxy filleting - the centre frame (not required when building the canoe in one piece) has already been glued in place. Once the epoxy fillets have cured, Katie can remove the stitches altogether ready for glass taping the seams which will be the next stage.

8. With inside seams given an initial epoxy it was found that the low temperatures were not allowing the epoxy to cure so after a couple of days the canoe has been turned over and the opportunity taken to clean up the outside seams before...........................................

9. .....................the canoe is covered with a tarpaulin and a small heat source is applied under the canoe using a small fan heater - the upside down canoe traps the rising hot air allowing the epoxy to cure under better temperatures - always check that the canoe has not taken on a twist.
10. To be continued.........................................