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"build me a 40lb 15ft canoe and I will buy it"

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by Denise MsWdnBoat, May 16, 2015.

  1. peter osberg

    peter osberg LOVES Wooden Canoes

    [I have used yellow cedar by preference to build historical reproductions (lines taken from Adney an Capelle's book) and the yellow cedar ribs taken down to 1/4 inch and under 1/8th inch planking (yellow cedar). With the dacron cover my 14 foot canoe is 25lbs. In terms of durability it has demonstrated bouncing ability from 8 ft (onto concrete) without any wood cracks (not an intentional test). I still like the 18ft chestnut for evening paddles with my better half, and it is still managable with its wieght loss program at 49 lbs. A 40 lb 15 or 16 footer is realistic, but you may need to build it yourself.
  2. Paul Fopeano

    Paul Fopeano INNKEEPER

    Getting Close!

    Hey Denise,

    When I designed my 15' 3" solo W/C my goal was to build a canoe that was fast, seaworthy and light enough to carry with a modest pack on a moderate portage. Of the 5 that I have built so far I think that I did get one to weigh in at just 'bout 50 lbs. My construction methods were pretty much right out of Stelmok & Thurlow's book except I thinned a few things down a tiny bit. My rails begin with 3/4" square spruce. I mill my ribs a little thinner - just a touch over 1/4" before fine sanding. I use # 12 canvas, considered lightweight by some and do not install the second seat or a keel. I think that I can, and will loose a pound or two on my next new canoe if I reduce the with of the ribs from 2 1/4" down to 2". I'll use cedar or spruce for decks and thin down the hardwood seat frames and thwarts and eliminate the bow and stern carrying thwarts (or use cedar or spruce for both). Last but not least I'll step away from "tradition" and use alumium stem bands like my dad's 1960 Chestnut. Will I cut it down to 40 lbs? I don't really think so, but I'll sure get down to 45 and still have a sturdy backwoods traveler.

    Paul Fopeano
    Onlyone Maine Made Wooden Canoe Works

    Attached Files:

  3. peter osberg

    peter osberg LOVES Wooden Canoes

    [apologies.. I reread my post and misstyped my 12 ft canoe as a 14ft.... I can hear the groans. That being said a 17 ft double kayak design made the same way as a canoe with ribs and planking and fully planked solid decks (intentionally overbuilt for an un stayed mast & rigging and reinforcing for leeboards) came in at 35lbs (it has not had the drop test), so it is definitely feasable to do a 15 or 16 footer coming in at around 40 lbs.
  4. OP
    Denise MsWdnBoat

    Denise MsWdnBoat Breaker of tradition

    About the same thing here Paul. I just love W/c canoes My baby is just right for me. If I do start tripping with it again I'll be packing a heavier boat since i don't need to be a minimalist much with the well established trails in the Adirondacks.
  5. BillSmith

    BillSmith New Member

    For another data point in your calculations, I just took off the canvas of my newly acquired old town 18' guide model in order to begin restoring it. The canoe was built in 1946 and refurbished at the factory in 1964.

    The rolled up painted canvas weighed 17 pounds. Less than I thought it would.
  6. OP
    Denise MsWdnBoat

    Denise MsWdnBoat Breaker of tradition


    I was just looking at my canoe hanging in the shop.. the out rails are mahogany, one is broke in the middle :( I also noticed that I have some old teak rub rails someone removed from a larger sailboat got me thinking how nice that could be.. but would not have the reddish look of mahogany. I still have a length of ash and the AKYC

    These pics about 12 yrs old now. Gad time flies! This is when were were almost ready to mount the seat and final fit the thwarts.
    Don't think teak out rails will do her justice
  7. WoodNCanvas

    WoodNCanvas LOVES Wooden Canoes

    There was a solo wood Dacron canoe built by Mike Schumacher? (see and, owned by Jim Davis.

    One off build custom made, modeled after the 1934 Chestnut Robinson/Crusoe model, 15' 28" beam, 12" deep and weights 42 lbs. Cherry outwales, thwarts and seat wood, seat is cane, what appears to be white cedar or spruce inwales and birdseye maple decks, white cedar ribs and red cedar planks.

    See also Jim's blog posts: and
    Last edited: May 19, 2015

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