New; in Illinois


Curious about Wooden Canoes
I'm Emily. Originally from Iowa, currently a grad student in Biology in central Illinois.
I've been interested in building a kayak for several years now. This summer I will be doing split time between Illinois and home... where my dad has a shop and at one time expressed an interest in building a strip-built canoe. I'm hoping I can talk him into doing a joint project together, either him building a canoe and me building a kayak, or both working on my kayak.

I have a good idea what I am looking for in a design and have even tried creating some designs myself (and I've even got 1:12 and 1:48 paper models made up of one of those designs) but haven't decided how I'm going to build it. stitch and glue designs are the current frontrunner.

I'm also interested in local paddle events, if anyone is in central Illinois and can point me in a good direction.

If your interested in a "stripper", check out Bear Mountain Boats site and Ted Moores book "Canoecraft" which is the bible of building strippers. I'm currently building a 17" Nomad... WCHA is THE site for Wood/Canvas so between the two, you have all the info you will ever need...
I'm pretty sure my dad has that book (several years ago we went to a wooden boat show in Wisconsin and he fell in love with a little strip-built canoe; then he never got around to building one). I bought "The New Kayak Shop" and joined the Bear Mountain Boats forum in 2005 or 2006... but of course building a kayak in a dorm room is only a dream for the sort of crazy who prefers the woods to people... it's not a practical application of time, space, money, and energy.

That said, this crazy person has a dream of paddling a kayak (preferably one I built myself) down the Mississippi from Itasca to New Orleans someday... and that ain't gonna happen if I don't get some time on the water! Hence, the plan to coerce my fatherling into building a boat with me. The kayaks I've found for rent nearby simply don't make the grade (and this from a girl who spent a summer paddling the world's stupidest inflatable kayak around a bay in Alaska a few years back. The thing tracked like a fish on dry land - that is to say, it flopped all over the place and I would have been better off swimming.)
Not sure where in Central IL you are, but the Illinois Paddling Council lists several paddling clubs, grouped by rough geographic location:

Some of the other clubs operate statewide, like the Prairie State Canoeists, which has a strong contingent of kayakers.

Be wary of commercial (barge) traffic on the Mississippi... they are moving much faster than you think, and they can't possibly see a boat that small.
The Great Rivers Chapter of the WCHA covers Illinois and part of Wisconsin (there are two WI chapters). Great Rivers is responsible for the well-known and well-attended yearly adventure at Jag Lake, near Minocqua, WI... and other events in IL and Southern WI. Here is the contact information:

Jerry Karbon
1531 Red Oak Court
Middleton, WI 53562

Here is documentation of part of last year's festivities at Jag Lake:

Thanks for the references. I'll check them out. I grew up on the Miss - usually we canoe around Louisa county (Lake Odessa) or on the Cedar, but I've been out on the Mississippi in a fishing boat, and you're right, those barges are certainly worth great consideration. Especially in a hand-powered boat. The Mississippi trip won't be for quite a while yet, certainly not until I've done a lot of study of where the channel runs and where a safe distance is and such. Idiots in fishing boats are another major consideration. The family canoe has had some close calls with them when we've been down at Lake of the Ozarks. There's a reason mom won't let us take the canoe out of the bay where the resort is.

After talking to my dad, it sounds like stitch-and-glue is the way I'm going to go (SOF is an option but I'd prefer stitch and glue). Dad isn't sure he'll have much time to work with me, and while I know how to use most of his tools, I'm not sure I have the skills to build a strip-built boat without him. But I know I can handle a stitch&glue one, if I have a jigsaw.
I haven't built a S&G boat, but strip isn't difficult -- there are more individual pieces, but they install pretty easily, and you don't have all the stitching do do. Maybe somebody here has built both, and could comment on which is easier/less time-consuming?
One of my many skills is sewing, so "all that stitching to do" is just "sewing with wire" to me. From what I've read, S&G goes together somewhat faster and requires fewer clamps.

bredlo - I'm sure he won't be able to let me just do it, he'll be out there working on it too. My dad's meddlesome when it comes to anyone doing something he thinks he knows how to do better (for instance, he thinks he knows how to canoe, but his idea of canoeing is yelling "paddle harder!" and panicking if anyone leans too far in either direction. Even though our clunker canoe is virtually impossible to capsize on flat water. I know because I've done it intentionally.). But the past couple of years his duties at work have been increasing as lay-offs were done, and while they've hired back lots of other people they still haven't replaced all their management. So he's putting in a lot of hours.