I got interested in building my own canoe after seeing my neighbor build a kayak. He came to me for woodworking advice and we discussed various aspects of the his project over the 10 months that he took to build. I must admit that I had my doubts on anyone home building a kayak using the techniques he was describing, but he was adamant about it and confident so who was I to criticize.
I started searching around for a canoe plan as I just can't seem to see myself in a Kayak (at least not yet). Found 2 sets of plans I liked and downloaded them. Looked at all the pretty pictures of the previous constructions, consulted with my wife, my neighbor and thought some more.
Next thing I printed out the plans in 1/3 scale, got some sheets of cardboard from work and made a model of each. Well the first one, while easist to build was also not to my immediate liking. It was a one person, no seat with low sides. Almost like a kayak without a top and not as tippy. On to model #2 same deal print out plans to 1/3 scale and build the model... well sort of. The bottom sides once attached caused the bottom of the boat to distort very badly, it looked like a Gondoloa taken to the extreme. Banana boat extreme!!!. Tried to move forward with it and found the bulkheads were getting distroyed. obvously I was doing something wrong!
Model #2 Attempt #2 ok check the scaleing, Yup everything ok there. Check The printer, Ok there too. OK printer out again but this time try 1/4 scale so any cutting errors are minimized. Hummm... hey if I take this piece on the bottome side and flip it upside down then i get a curve like this and .... Ureka I figured out the gondola issue and the 1/4 scale model worked out great. I liked the design and decide to go with it. Wife and son also approve.
The Final Selection
1/4 scale and the misift, half build, broken 1/3 scale
Ok so now the plans are approved Time to get the materials together. Easy enough. Lets see.... Wood, Expoxy, fiber glass, tools for fiberglass, gloves, sandpaper, more sand paper, saw blades, saw horses Whoa !!! hold the saw horses. I have 4 but they are 2 sets of 2 different types, one set is falling apart due to age and holds my boat motor between trips to the river, the other set is a cheap plastice set the is ready for the recycle bin. Best to make 4 good solid ones that are the same height and width after all this is a 15+ foot canoe we are talking here. Search is on for the magazine I had "Just the other day" with the plans for a knock down set of saw horses that you can build out of half a sheet of ply per saw horse. Ah after about 2 hours of searching found a magazine with a version of one that will do (just not the one I was looking for (darn where did that issue go?) Made 4 saw horses, sanded and water proofed them with Wesley's (my son) help.
As luck will have it no project is official until you have to buy either a tool you never owned before or replace an existing tool that breaks during the project. Well my favorite sabersaw just plain wore out and to fix it would have required the replacement of every major internal component. Cheaper to get a new one...
Straight on view of a three piece knock down saw horse. Each one is made from 1/2 sheet of 3/4 inch ply.
Angle view of same. They take apart easy for stowage.
Wesley sanding one of the new saw horses, Note: he insists on wearing the saftey gear and reminds me if I try to cheat. Plenty of dust masks, eye protection, latex gloves, and even ear plugs in my shop.