what to look for when buying?


Curious about Wooden Canoes
Hi everyone, New here and new to stipper canoes.

I am going to guelph to take a look at a cedar strip canoe on friday and i would like to know what to look for when i am inspecting this canoe. The canoe in question has already been stripped of its finish. Also what kind of questions should i be asking? Pictures below...



I can't tell much from these pics, but the questions you'll need to ask yourself are, how will you use it, and how much maintenance/repair work are you willing to give it?

If you use it as a canoe, it will get dings. If you use it in whitewater, it will get cracks. Just some stuff to think about...
When you say stripped of it's finish, exactly what do you mean?

This appears to be a stripper, ie, a fiberglass canoe with a wood core.

If it's a stripper, and IF they removed the outer glass (finish) then it needs to be replaced before use, from the second pic, it looks a bit like I see jagged edges of remaining glass coming from under the outer rails.

Are they going to reglass it, or are you planning to do that?

If the glass has been removed, the price should be close to free.


also, find out what design this was to get an indication of how it will perform on the water.

and look at the finish details to make a judgement as to the level of craftsmanship that the builder had/used.

to me, a/the flat leading edge on the decks is not very inspiring.
Even a beautifully-restored antique wood/canvas will probably escape injury if it's simply paddled on a quiet lake... except perhaps for dog-claws! We take the dogs out in our yet-to-be-restored "user".

Price, and whether the canoe makes your heart go pitty-pat are other factors. My first wooden canoe was a sweet little 14 foot stripper. It paddled nicely as a solo or tandem and the woodworking was nice-- it was built with some finesse.

There may be some interested past-discussions here in Forums. You can use the "search" function above and may find answers to questions, or just scroll through the various posts in "strippers" to see if a topic interests you.


I once finished an unfinished Redbird (sans finesse on my part). It was tender. too tender for me except solo. My wife did not seem to mind but I was leery. Lowered seats would have made a difference. the hull was well made before I got it and it was pretty. It was straight and very fast. I paid as I recall $300 for the unfinished hull. Glass and resin and varnish probably doubled the cost. My interests are w/c (and BB) so I sold it on ebay for around $700.


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That's a free canoe (until you own it - at which point it becomes a money drain.) In the course of normal life, you don't take the fiberglass off of a stripper unless it has serious problems. It's not like replacing the canvas on an old wood/canvas boat, the glass on a stripper is structural. It would be like buying a w/c boat that had had all of its ribs removed. Sure, it could be fixed, but unless it has potential to be a really good boat or is in some way rare or valuable, it's probably not worth it. In order to return it properly to sound, usable condition you would need to disassemble it back to the point of being a bare hull, brace a floppy hull somehow so that you can work on it, sand the crap out of it to try to get the old polyester off of it (otherwise you get blotches and other color variations under your new glass) and then re-glass it, inside and out and reinstall the gunwales, decks and other trim.

If you want a stripper, it is probably easier to start from scratch and build one in the proper, logical order that fits your needs - and you would very likely end up with a much nicer canoe. In addition (if it matters) this project pretty much leaves out almost all the fun part about making a stripper (watching the hull take shape, planning the strip patterns, planning the trim and watching it go on with every piece getting you a little closer to a boat that is truly and uniquely your own). Instead, this project leaves you little more than the most tedious, least fun part of the process (glassing) and you have to do it in bass-ackward fashion because the boat's already been built once.

If you want to buy a used stripper, rather than build one, look for one that has all of it's parts intact. This one is just somebody else's troubles looking for a new sucker.
looks like the seller is into making bookshelves too, judging by the contents in the rafters....
And its not a money drain, its a racy "high speed wallet emptier". very quick indeed.
I agree with Todd, though I might go as high as $50 IF the wood is in good condition. If ANY wood is broken, step back.

And I also agree with Dave, my son and I test paddled a Redbird some years ago, and for us it was way too tender, ie, tippy. Not my kind of canoe for casual paddles. With that said, I'm large guy and my son is/was about 180, so our CG was pretty high.