Plywood for strip canoe?

I built a stich and glue canoe last year and am ready to build my second boat, and am thinking about a solo canoe. I have enough 4mm Okume for another boat, but want to try a different design. The design I really like is a strip canoe design. Is there any reason I should not build it using strips of the Okume? I have worked as a professional cabinet builder, so I am familiar with the problems with sanding plywood.

I like how light my s&g canoe is, and would like to make a smaller one for solo use.




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RE: Plywood for strip canoe?

With your experience Dan I don't see why stripped Okoume wouldn't be practical.

My background is similar but the woodworking came mostly after I'd built a stripper 14' scow 45 years ago using red cedar. As long as both sides will be 'glassed you won't be compromising stiffness any, in fact you may benefit from cross-ply rigidity aiding it. Running plywood strips in a cove & beading step shouldn't present any unusual challenges either.

Let us know how it turns out, with pictures!

RE: Plywood for strip canoe?

I agree that you proppably can make a strip boat with 4mm Okoume but I suspect it would be a fair amount heavier than cedar strip.  The ply itself is heavier and all that exposed endgrain on the strips will likely soak up lots of glue and epoxy.  Also, I suspect that shaping the long narrow closing strips for the hull will be a bit more difficult with ply than with cedar strip.

Lastly, I wonder about cosmetics, the boat will likely look like a pin stripe suite with the ply seams much darker than the strips themselves.  I understand the desire to save money and use what you have, but the price of wood is pretty minor compared to epoxy, glass and all the time that you will invest.  Cedar strips are really cheap if you have the equipment to make them yourself.

Despite my comments above, go for it if that is your desire.  Post picts and tell us how it goes!


RE: Plywood for strip canoe?

That weight thing's been bugging me since I posted a reply earlier. I agree with Mark N in that regard, and have to add that cedar - indeed any solid wood - will be infinitely easier to fair in should that prove necessary. Planing / sanding ply will reveal those underlying laminates before very much surface material's been removed.

May be best use for your ply would be to trade/sell to someone local (thru this forum maybe?) who'se planning a project....

RE: Plywood for strip canoe?

   Thank you both for your responses. I will hold off on using the ply for a strip canoe. The other option I was considering is making it a skin on frame. I will eventually build a strip canoe, (They are just too beuatiful not to build!) but I am not ready for that yet.

This is the second builder's forum I have been on, and both have been great sources for building.

Merry Christmas!

RE: Plywood for strip canoe?


Skin on frame is fun and yields a real nice solo canoe too. I biult a 12' one that wieghs 20lbs. I can carry her the 1/4 mile to the nearby mill river no problem. SHe always feels heavier on the way home!?!? Water wieght or fatigue?

I used Starr's and Morris's books on skin on frame construction. Steam bending ash ribs was a very fun experience.


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