a new canoe

Rob von Bitter

Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

I'm going to have display space at the Sherway Gardens Summer Antique Show which will be happening until August 10th. One of the canoes I will have there is a new all-wood design which has two layers of overlapped ribs. One of the advantages of this design is that it results in a smooth interior. In the attached pic, it's the canoe on the right. The canoe isn't totally finished unfortunatley but may still be of interest to some. It would be great to get some feedback on what people thought of this design.

If anyone in the area felt like popping by, that would be great. Also, I should mention it's a free show.

I'll have at least one WCHA brochure to share with interested folks at the show and have got a call into Rob Stevens to see if he has any more.



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Thanks for posting the pics, nice looking canoes.

I've trying to understand the construstion method, is it literally 2 sets of ribs and completely smooth inside? What is their orientation? What is on the outside?

How does this comnpare to the Willits construction?


The interior would very similar to a Willits or Herald Double Cedar. The main difference would be the outer layer of ribs oriented in the same direction as the inner. I'm thinking that since each layer of ribs covers over the edges of the other layer preventing water from getting through, this canoe will only need to be varnished (not canvased) to be watertight.

The gunwale shown in the attached pic is just a temporary pine one.

There are actually 2 pics attached - one profile drawing and one of the canoe at the show.



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Ok, now I see it.

Has this ever been tried before?

What is the thickness of these "ribs"?

I would agree with Dan, what provides the longitudinal strength?
It would seem that this strength comes from/while bending each rib across the short dimension, ie, bending across the grain where it isn't very strong.

Are they tacked together like a reg W/C? or bolted like some strip runabouts(Thompson)? It would seem that the joints are being asked to do a lot.

My initial reaction is it's different and lots of questions pop up, but,
I say do it, and lets see what happens.

Your right - a substantial keel will have to be added before it is put into water. It might take a few bilge keels for additional lateral support. If Cedar Rib canoes could be made to withstand the longitudinal forces, I think this should work.

I'm thinking that brass tacks would be best instead of other fasteners such as bolts.

This first canoe I built has 1/4 inch thick ribs but I might try a bit thinner next time. Also, I've used a bit of waterproof glue on this first one but would eventually like to get it to just be cedar and tacks.

I know some folks have infinitely more experience building canoes so if anyone has any suggestions or advice, I'd love to hear it.

One thing I realized during the process of making this canoe was that the ribs had to be tapered to make the hull shape. I've lent my Willits book to someone but does anyone know if the Willits Bros. tapered the inside layer of boards?