Buying an unfinished cedar-strip canoe: Could use advice

Discussion in 'All Things Boats & Boating' started by Austin Reynolds, Jan 15, 2021.

  1. Austin Reynolds
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    Austin Reynolds Junior Member

    A person who I Know, who knows that I do fibreglass repair, asked if I'd be interested in this cedar strip canoe which has not been 'glassed yet. I think it would be good experience. She is asking $200 (canadian dollars). I am having a look at it 6pm tomorrow and was wondering if anyone has any advice for what a project like this might cost, and how much time it may take to do a good job. And if it is your expertise, what do you think of the hull shape? These were the only photos I have right now, but I might get more tomorrow when I see it.


    Thanks for any tips

    -Austin
     

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  2. Austin Reynolds
    Joined: Dec 2020
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    Austin Reynolds Junior Member

    I just found a post somewhere and thought I'd share it, because it somewhat answers my question. I would build this canoe purely for the experience, if I could sell it for the cost of my materials when it was done. Do you think that is possible?


    "A wood strip canoe is a fiberglass canoe. The only real difference is whether the entire composite is fiberglass, or if it has a wooden core. So maintenance really shouldn't be that different.

    I've bought a fair number of used canoes, and I've paddled alot of wood strip canoes as well. The biggest two issues I see with used wood strip canoes, is #1 how good a builder built the canoe. Alot of strip canoes look really good... that's great for riding on the car, or hanging in the ceiling of your great room. But few strip canoes paddle well. Even talented wood workers build bad paddling canoes. It takes very little alteration to make a good paddling canoe perform poorly. You can look a canoe over very closely, but usually you can only tell how it paddles by paddling it. I have paddled a few poor paddling strip canoes that were made off well designed plans that paddled poorly because of how the canoe was built.

    The #2 issue, is the design- If you truly want a excellent paddling canoe... it's not good enough to be looking for any Prospector. There are literally dozens of Prospector plans on the web and more that were available in years past. They are all different, and not equal. So knowing who actually designed the hull will tell you if the canoe is actually well designed.

    The final issue that might impact your purchase is what has been done to this canoe since it was built. What damage exists, where was it stored, how well was it maintained. Were repairs done... were they done well. These types of things are pretty easy to visually determine.

    One last thought on strip canoes... many people inflate the cost because strip canoes are pretty. The reality is that a pretty poor paddling wood strip canoe really isn't worth any more than a cheap department store poor paddling canoe if you plan to use it. From my perspective... I'm generally not interested in purchasing wood strip canoes because there often are too many unanswered questions associated with them to justify much effort into purchasing them."
     
  3. fallguy
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    fallguy Senior Member

    Well, you have to buy an oscillating tool and cutout the broken strip.

    I would not pay $200.

    Moving the thing might be difficult as it appears it has been removed from the strongback or the frames. So I am not sure what is holding it together.

    usually, a cedar canoe remains on the frames and atrongback until it is glassed and has gained some rigidity; otherwise the canoe can misshapen; you should have some idea by looki g at it in person if they put stiffeners in or if it is really a floppy mess...

    If it has no internal frames, but is strong enough to make it to your truck; consider giving them $100

    the canoe might develop hook if you are not super careful or it may jave some now from the middle sagging upside down

    if it has a lot of hook; it is junk unless you can somehow reshape it..

    also, if they have the plans; it would help a bit; you could try to at least get the bottom curve made right
     
  4. fallguy
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    fallguy Senior Member

    By the way, it does not look like it has hook, but hard to be 100% sure if the rocker as designed is correct mainly
     
  5. Rumars
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    Rumars Senior Member

    Those cracks appeared because of humidity changes, and that means the whole shape is compromised. To repair, you would have to staple it back onto its strongback, then dry to 12%, glue all cracks and sand to restore fairness. It's for you to decide if this amount of trouble is worth paying money for. If it's for sale without the original stronback then it's just firewood.
     
  6. Austin Reynolds
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    Austin Reynolds Junior Member

    Thank you both for the sound advice, I'm now leaning toward keeping my money for something else
     
  7. fallguy
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    fallguy Senior Member

    Most likely they sold the strongback and forms.

    Cedar canoes when shesthed with outside glass are still pretty floppy, and stiffeners are used to help keep the shape until the inside glass is completed; they are still floppy until the gunwhales are done. A canoe is generally flipped with the internal frames still inside. They are only held in with yellow glue on tape, but enough to flip without changing shape.

    The black spots are from staples being in too long and exposed to moisture.

    Best to walk or pay little of the frame are included, but it will probably only be a so so canoe now.
     
  8. rwatson
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    rwatson Senior Member

    I am amazed at the strange answers here. $200 for an attractive and pretty fair wooden stripped hull is a STEAL!

    If you just epoxied and glassed both sides and hand painted the hull, you would have a useful, attractive craft for under $500. You can't buy a used plastic boat, twice the weight for that.
    As for misshapen, you can easily brace it into a symmetrical shape, because it is a compound curve. There is little distortion that can occur unless some serious loads have been applied.

    As for that "But few strip canoes paddle well. Even talented wood workers build bad paddling canoes", what a load of bollocks

    There is no "magic hull shape" that makes paddling 10 or 20% easier. I defy anyone to do a blind test, and be able to tell if the hull paddles easier with a few minor variations in hull shape. Even a "hogged" hull only suffers from maneuverability slightly. Unless you are a slalom paddler, you would hardly notice.

    There may be a 2% difference depending on smoothness of hull surface, and width, but canoes are just very basic hydrodynamic shapes.
     
  9. Austin Reynolds
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    Austin Reynolds Junior Member

    Here I've received a photo showing some internal stiffeners, what do you make of it?
     

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  10. Austin Reynolds
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    Austin Reynolds Junior Member

    With all in mind perhaps I will make an offer but y'all say I will need to replace a strip. That may not be a problem as I work with wood and have some clear red cedar.
     
  11. fallguy
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    fallguy Senior Member

    It is good that there are stiffeners, but it doesn't change the facts.

    The canoe was removed from the frames and it lost its shape or was broken in the process. The staples or nails got wet and blackened the holes.

    I, personally, do not pay $200 to fix someone's broken, unfinished, imperfect boat, removed from the frames designed to support it. That's me. A hundo would be my max.

    Even getting it home can be a bit tricky.

    Like I said, an oscillating tool and a few hours of patient work to cut away and make a new strip to match in all 3, length, width, thickness. In order to do it well, you use a beltsander to fit the length and a table saw for the rest.

    Since it is blackened, I agree, it would be wise to paint it as it would never be a real beauty.
     
  12. rwatson
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    rwatson Senior Member

    Huh? The shape is a compound curve, and it can easily be reformed into a fair shape. Even a stitch and glue canoe has that characteristic.
    Blackened holes are inconsequential. It was probably the water based glue that oxidised them anyway. I see the foamy fill in the gaps, probably .
    One broken strip is inconsequential.

    Fifty to 100 hours of hours of careful work, $300 of strip planking and glue, is a bargain for $200.
     
  13. rwatson
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    rwatson Senior Member

    It's definitely a "paint and enjoy" project.
    But what is a canoe for if not to knock around on water.
    Some people expect a dining table for eye candy, not to actually scrape over rocks and branches.
    For $200 + $300 epoxy and paint, you could throw it away after 4 years of hard use, and still have a bargain.
    Or better yet, just repaint it after 4 years and have a "new" boat.
     
  14. fallguy
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    fallguy Senior Member

    We are not all that far apart. I jist don't like paying full ask for fix its.
     

  15. rwatson
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    rwatson Senior Member

    $200 ??? That's pocket change for anything to do with boats. Its going to cost nearly that much in time and petrol to go and pick it up.
     
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