This is the first post to chronicle the building of my first wooden boat. It will be a 15' cedar strip canoe made from 1/4" x 13/16" strips of Western Red Cedar encased in a single layer of clear fibreglass for rigidity and waterproofing. I bring almost no experience to this endeavour, but I from what I read, this type of project is doable for someone of my level. The plans that I have ordered from Bear Mountain Canoes in Peterborough, Ontario suggest that is should take roughly 200 hours. I'm banking on about double that for myself. The design is called the "15' Bob's Special" and the lines for this boat were lifted off of an old Chestnut design. I like it for its classic look and size.
I like the size for a couple of reasons. First, the finished weight is only 45-50 lbs, which I should be able to portage relatively easily and Tracy and I like to travel light. Second, it is about the only design that I could build in my limited work space (half of a garage). I have read that a builder should plan for about 3 ft of space on each side of the canoe as it is being built. My space is only about 20 ft long by 7 to 8 ft wide. The canoe beam is 3 ft, so I will be a little bit squeezed and I'm hoping things will work out.
Things have started out well at least. I spent a couple weekends putting together the strongback, from 3/4" sheets of plywood and lots of screws. The strongback is the rigid bench that supports the station molds around which the strips are layed to make the hull. There are couple of photos of the all but completed strongback above. The first shows it lying upside down and second right side up. All that remains to be done for the strong back is to screw on the top boards and anchor it to the floor. You can also see in the picture how small the workspace is. I used this first part of the project to gain some confidence and I am fairly pleased with how it came out.