Curious about Wooden Canoes
I have a wood strip canoe which seems excessively twitchy--tends to roll very easily. I understand that adding a keel would help in straight line paddling, which isn't an issue. But, would adding a keel help in modulating what seems to be an excessive tendency to roll? If so, is there a particular formula for the size and length of the keel? Thanks, Paulter
I do not believe a keel will help you.Keep at canoeing that tender boatYou will catch on to paddling it without tipping.Your time and money would be better spent on swim lessons than fiddling with a keel. Or maybe sell it and buy a more stable design.Thats my opinion others may think differently
Good morning to everybody. Well, just would like to say that I agree with Dboles. Talk to you later!!

Sandpiper, happy that the canoe season is on the way.
Thanks for the replies. I love the canoe--I had hoped to use it for solo canoe camping, but am leery of tipping over with a canoe full of camping and fishing gear. I will use it to learn to be a better paddler, but will get another more stable canoe for camping. Thanks again. Paulter
Some canoes behave differently when loaded with gear, so before giving up on your canoe try taking it out with a load you might be camping with. peter

You could just duct tape a couple of those foam "noodles" that kids use in swimming pools onto the sides like sponsons. Thats a good look for ANY canoe. Splinter

How long is the boat and how are you paddling it? If you are sitting in the stern seats solo and unloaded it will be much more twitchy than kneeling in the center for example.
Ditto Fitz's. Try it with a load before giving up on it. Once paddled with Steve Lapey in a new 16 footer he made. With him in the bow and me in the stern, it was very tippy. After a beaver dam portage left him kneeling just aft of the bow seat, the canoe's performance changed radically: it was stable and paddled like a rocket. So trim can have a big effect too: try bow heavy, stern heavy.

If you are sitting in the bow seat facing backwards and the trim is good then maybe the seat is too high? Try lowering the seat an inch. I have a Sawyer that was so tippy I couldn't get in it. And it like to pitch me out regularly. Now it feels like a battleship. Don't forget to stay loose in the saddle. Keep you head over the midline until it gets easier. Other bits of wisdom may help if we knew the length, width, type, model. That kinda stuff.
dave, i thought it was roxanne who pitched you out regularly!
ps. the south fork was awesome thursday, only 2 deadfalls the whole trip. we putin at norway lk. and tookout at klam rd. 2.5 hrs.:D
truth be told

Actually, The only times I have not fallen out is when the Roxinator is in the canoe with me. Except for the one day when our runabout had a really big wave wash completely over us. She claims I was trying to kill her. Not true. The St Clair River was trying to spit us both down river. It was good you took out at Klam rd. there has to by 20 carries between there and Norway lake rd. Steep banks, deep undercuts, Blow downs and sweepers that go all the way accross. I tried to get under one and got stuck with the canoe shoving my chest into the oak. Or the other way around. Don't know what that's got to do with making a canoe less tippy, I apologize.
Thanks for all of the replies. The canoe is a 16 footer, I have tried different trim levels. Kneeling certainly works best, however, I've got a pair of knees that sound like microwave popcorn when standing up from sitting. But, the point made--lowering my center of gravity helped. Also, the design was for a square stern (May be heresy, but I had wished to use a motor. It was supposedly designed for fishing--getting to and from places--not for the journey) Anyway, forget the motor--I would just like to use it for solo paddling. I do feel that it will work out, but my skills do need to improve. I was just trying to see if I could help make something idiot proof--or, at least give me an edge. By the way Splinter, I do fish bamboo--I make bamboo flyrods as a hobby.
the most stable of all

With enough ballast and resting comfortably on the bottom.


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But see how stable it is.

this canoe was pretty bad. I am slowly working on it. 24 new ribs. new decks and all new stems. it will need all new planking. i am planking it now. it is real hard to get the shape fair. rollin was helpful. i took his advice. Actually, I replaced one rib at a time and tacked it to the old plank. then moved down a few and did that rib, etc. I was able to use the planking as an inside out form for the rib. I bent the ribs over the outside first and all that. this canoe had bilge keels on it at one time. it belongs to a friend and i would not have taken it on but for the sentimental value. his mom gave it to him for his 14th birthday. He went on to win an olympic gold in rowing. I expect I will put a keel back on but not the bilge keels. there was alot of breakage at the keel holes in the ribs. Once done the only original parts will be a thwart and 14 ribs. the fiberglass really messed up the wood too. Especially the planking.

How about an outrigger? I am making an Ama with aka's for my Nomad 17. It will be very stable and at my age and weight, I need the stablity for fishing and storms, etc. Send me an pm or email and I will forward my plans. The purist may laugh but I will be much more comfortable. The good ole days of running and jumping into an open canoe are over... One must adapt...
CYA, Joe
square stern?

Ok Paul if you don't want to mess with a motor how about an electric? the battery on the floor has got to make it more solid in the water, depending on where you put it/ Dave Dean of Sutton's bay put an electric motor in a rudder and attached to the stern. Just brainstorming. I like the outrigger idea too. All in all the simpler solution is better. Which leads to another idea. Azlands leather seat?
I have not tried an electric motor, but since this canoe design did not work for a motor, I picked up an Old Town Discovery to use with a motor. The Old Town does exactly what they say it will--but, it's a barge. I have used some outriggers with the strip canoe, but did not care for them. Besides bothering my sense of esthetics, I just couldn't shake the "training wheels" feeling. I was bummed about the strip canoe design because it just didn't do what I had specified, but I want to make the best of it. It will certainly turn me into a better paddler--I had just wondered if a keel might help idiot proof the canoe for me. Since getting this canoe, I have learned a lot about design and handling. Another post mentioned about a canoe with a square stern being beamier and carrying more width in the transom. This hull has rounded chines, a narrow stern, and will almost tip over by itself with the motor attached (one of those heavy 28 lb. 2hp Honda motors). Anyway, I had always admired strip canoes and still plan on using this one somehow.
Change the Center of Gravity

Hello Paulter,

In my experience, Dave if right. I sell videos and plans for strippers and this question comes up a lot with customers. A keel will only server to make the boat paddle straighter and make it more difficult to turn. Generally the only keels you find on canoes is if they are sail canoes. Sometimes you will see them on lakers but not very often.

The problem is the center of gravity. Here is a test you can do. instead of paddling from the seat, get down on your knees and paddle and if you are alone in a two person canoe then move more toward the center of the boat. If the boat is rock solid then it is a matter of shifting the center of gravity which can be accomplished by simply lowering the seat. In general, there is no reason for a seat to be above 7 to 8 inches off the deck and the closer you get to the center of the boat the wider the beam will be which tends to be more stable.

Most designs for symetrical canoes will allow you to turn the boat around and paddle from the bow seat facing the rear if you are alone. Because the person in the bow of a two person canoe needs room to put their knees down the seat is generally closer to the center of the boat than the stern seat. Therefore in a symetrical boat you can simply turn it around and make it easier to paddle.

Hope that helps.