Sassafras 14

What happened to the Sassafras 14 kits? Guessing demand was not high enough to continue sales. 

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RE: Sassafras 14

We had trouble marketing that one. The Sassafras 14 is suitable only for one adult, or perhaps one adult and one dog or toddler, at which it excels. Two adults are an overload.  Our advertising copy always pointed this out in strenuous terms, but nevertheless most builders tried to use it as a tandem and were unhappy. It was easier just to pull it out of the catalog.

It was also on the heavy side as a solo canoe.  Experiments in building it lighter resulted in a canoe that was too fragile, so we just gave up on the Sassafras 14 sometime around 2002.

Plans for the Sassafras 14 may be found in the book "The Canoe Shop," which is out of print but pretty easy to find.

RE: Sassafras 14

   John, thank you. 

RE: Sassafras 14

   With grateful thanks to John at CLC & from information in 'The Canoe Book' I am currently building a Sassafras 14 in 4mm ply but with additional strengthening.

It is being built solely as one adult and one small dog, as a car toppable canoe for inland lake & river exploration in the UK

The plan isn't for a "pretty wooden boat" but for a usable (or is that ab-usable ? ) canoe for general use. It will be painted finish inside & out. The wood will be treated fully with CPES prior to sheathing. Some sheathing (wear points) will be aramid and the thwart is to be reinforced beneath with axial carbon fibre like an inverted mini 'L' beam.

The below-deck voids will be filled with expanding foam to give permanent & robust bouyancy and both prows will be reinforced for ice-breaking during winter use. A painter will not be fitted but small 4" cleats will be fitted on each foredeck with a reinforcing pad beneath the deckplate.

Though not finalised as yet, the facility to add either single or dual outriggers will also be incorporated - some intended waters, though sheltered, have large boats which can cause moderate wakes.

Additionally, the plan isn't for seats as such, but a movable seat-like kneeler for comfortable paddling (also bouyant) held in place by velcro. Steerage & propulsion will be with a 4" double ended greenland paddle, already made

RE: Sassafras 14

   Sorry the 14' kits are not still available. Are full sized pattern plans available? Wood parts kit? Looking to put together a solo unit for me to bounce around in and something big enough to adapt to a mirage drive unit for my wife. She has physical restrictions that limit paddling, but pedaling is not a problem. Would love to drop down to the 12' model, but not sure a mirage drive would work in that size. Am I all wet on this idea? I have the book to mill my own 14' if necessary and reasonable skills. Thanks in advance.

RE: Sassafras 14

   Hi Jeffrey

The instructions in the book John mentioned are very easy to follow as far as marking them out. If I can do it, anyone can.

I drew out my 'lines' onto 9mm birch ply 'masters' which I then used as a template, cut out with a guided router cutter in the 4mm (3/16") marine ply.

This served 2 purposes - it ensured that every part cut is identical and I still have the templates if I wish to make another.

The 16 footer is way too big for me to manhandle alone, especially on& off the roof of a pickup and having seen a 12 footer, its just too small for meand my little dog. Hence the 14 footer is the perfect size for me

It will always only ever been used as "one man & his dog"

If you wish to share ideas on a build, we can always keep in touch via email


RE: Sassafras 14

   Thanks to everyone for their responses. Decided to go with the Sassafras 12 kit.  Hull assembly is completed. Now spending hours sanding and detailing in preparation for glass, epoxy, varnish and paint. Daily update photos are on the CLC Facebook page under Visitor Post. 

RE: Sassafras 14


 While building the 14 from the plans in The canoe Shop book I noticed that Plank 4 bow deminsions are reversed. top should be 12 1/6" and botttom should be 12".

Also I created plank patterns and by placing the patterns closer together I was able to get all the planks out of two sheets of Okume.

I have also made a table of offsets for the 14.



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