Recommendations for a lightweight stripper


"Tiger Rag" back on the tidal Potomac
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A friend, who is approaching retirement, phoned and asked me for recommendations. He wants to build a cedar strip canoe. He wants it to be lightweight so he can carry it into small, inaccessible lakes. He's not a big guy, so my first thoughts are for something around 13 feet, using thin strips, and perhaps kevlar cloth rather than glass, doing whatever can be done to keep the weight down around 45 pounds. He is a paddler, but not a woodworker or boatbuilder.

I have some of the usual books, and have done some net surfing looking for ideas. The Gilpatrick Puddle Duck seems to be close to filling the bill, but one weight I saw posted was 55 lbs., - too much.

So I'm asking for suggestions of other designs and information about lightweight construction that I can pass along. Thanks.
Tom McCloud
Hi Tom
It shouldn't be difficult to find plans for a strip canoe that could be built under 45 lbs. without the expense of kevlar. I would want one 30 lbs or less for going into remote areas. Some models that come to mind are: the Wee Lassie or Wee Lassie 2 from the book "Featherweight Boatbuilding". these are double paddle canoes and are very popular. Also Rob Mack at Laughing Loon specializes in lightweight designs. He has the 'Solo Portage". I am currently finishing one of his designs "the Wee Robbie" for a grandson. I am sure there are many other designs out there and other people will chime in with their recommendations.
Also check over on the Bear Mountain forum for information as well. There is an abundance of help and expert knowledge available on all these forums.
Small canoes

We sell plans for several small canoes in the 35 lb range. See our canoes on the website at several may work as the Teals and Widgeons can be either single or double blade models. The weights given are with 6 oz. fiberglass and 3 coats of epoxy.
Al Bratton


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As Jawihan indicated, the canoes in Mac's Featherweight Boatbuilding book are very light weight but are really intended for protected waters. My students routinely build them in Western Red Cedar and use 4 oz fiberglass cloth inside and out. The finished canoes usually weight in at about 25 pounds for the Wee Lassie and about 30 for the Wee Lassie II - both with nice hardwood trim. If you were to obsess a bit about your construction method and choice of material you could probably make them even lighter.

If you are serious about building a light weight strip canoe, go to this site and study the methods presented. The author has probably pushed light weight stripper bulding methods farther than anybody. (note: this is of 2-3 years ago)

But, wouldn't it be easier to just buy a small kevlar canoe?
If you're considering using kevlar, that means that you are giving up the look of wood, (at least on the outside), meaning that you should consider existing kevlar canoes.

There is also a group who are making there own kevlar canoe using Moran's methods. Arguably the quickest way to lighten a stripper is to remove all the wood.

You should also decide/identify how the canoe is to be used.

Making light canoes is easy, making light tough canoes is very hard.

With a stipper you gain so much more. Light weight kevlar is not very rigid; it flexes all over. Most of them now have vinyl gunnels and cheap seats. And the look of a wooden hull that you have built yourself, and the feel of wood gunnels in a 30-35 lb boat...priceless. My strippers are strong enough to go everywhere I prefer to paddle. (I no longer do 2+ whitewater, I am no loger as strong as my boats.)
The first in this thread did identify the use "to carry into small inaccessable lakes..." not likley a need for ultimate strength. I think a small simple stripper is an excellent choice.
Al Bratton
Woodstrip Watercraft Co.
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I'm not against strippers, and in fact, that's what our BW/Q boats have been for the past 8 years. The last 2 are 18.5 ft with 40 and 43 lb hulls, (without trim).

But I'm just giving the guy options.

He said the guy isn't a "woodworker or boat builder" and that he was considering kevlar, which hides the exterior wood, so he may as well consider other offerings.

But you're right about paddling something you built yourself, and if that's what the guy is looking for, then yes, he should consider/build a strripper.


"He wants to build a cedar strip canoe. He wants it to be lightweight so he can carry it into small, inaccessible lakes........and perhaps kevlar cloth...... done to keep the weight down around 45 pounds..... He is a paddler, but not a woodworker or boatbuilder."
Here are my thoughts about lowering weight in canoes.

Weight in a canoe has to be considered systemically. There is no one place to save a lot of weight, but rather many places to save a little bit of weight. For example, instead of trying to save 5 pounds in one place, find 5 place to save one pound.

Also the trim of the canoe is a considerable portion of the total weight. There are many ways to lower the trim weight.