Stripping along sheer or waterline?


New Member
I will be starting my first stripper in a couple weeks and have a few questions regarding the stripping process. First of all, I have read several books and done quite a lot of research online. I am a finish carpenter by trade, so I have all the tools required and an understanding that precision is necessary. I have seen canoes stripped both following the sheer and parallel to the waterline. I can see that it could be difficult to strip following a steep sheer. Are there any pros and cons for each? I assume that following the sheer(if steep enough) could pose some potential issues with compound bends/twists when approaching the bilge. Or is this simply a matter of asthetics?
I believe it is just personal preference. When I started my first strips, I anchored them on 2-3 forms and then just let the strip droop taking it's natural shape. This is what most folks do and most think that it more closely matches the gunnel lines. The accent strip will rise with the bow and stern.

I made a rather extensive decorative strip consisting of ash and walnut pieces like a chain and put border strips on each side of the chain. When I put it on the hull, it was so stiff that it would not bend. Because of this I used a straight line so the strip would follow the water line. It looks good too so it's personal preference, IMHO.

I have a website showing the strip so if you want to see it, drop me a pm...

CYA, Joe
Like Woodchuck said, personal preference dictates most of it, along with how much stress you're willing to put on a strip, hoping it won't crack. The cracks in strips are not structural issues, as the fiberglass is the structural backbone.

When I built mine, I let the first strips fall wherever they liked, then gently nudged the edges more toward the gunnels. When it's in the water, they look almost parallel to the waterline.

I saw a stripper once that had the bow ends turned upwards, and the stern ends turned down... Don't know if that was intentional or otherwise, but the boat floated.
Agreed, IMO, it's personal preference, and to some degree, which method looks good with a given design.

On the 3 I built, the shear is modest to flat, so I let the strips parallel the shear, thinking it looked better that way (to me). (To me it tended to emphasis the curves of the hull.)

On other designs, having the strips parallel the waterline looks good.

And sorry if this offends someone, but to me, one of the worst methods is to lay the football straight, rather then continueing whatever is done on the sides down and around to the center.

But agian, it's personal preference.

I think of a laid-straight football, and wonder just how much more work is that, fitting both ends of each piece? But then I've been accused of being too meticulous. :rolleyes:
As is noted, it is mostly personal preference, but there are exceptions.

On some hull shapes, following the sheer can make the boat look "bent". Also, if you try to keep the strips following the waterline it can make the ends appear to bend "down" even though they are parallel to the waterline.

Also, depending on the hull shape, following the sheer may require the use of "cheater strips" or some other tricks to be able to strip the hull relatively easily.