How to Build a Canoe

Using a canoe, you can explore the rivers and sea in your area. You have many options for this. You can buy a canoe or rent one, but if you are too adventurous, or would like to add your touch to this adventurous sport, then you can build your own canoe. For this, you must know how to build a canoe.

You can build canoe with wood or fiberglass. Wood canoes are however more popular. Canoes are made out of soft wood and hardwood. Hardwood canoes are more preferable as these last long, and need little maintenance. Besides, you have an option from fiberglass and wood.

Choosing the material for your canoe:

  • If you wish to make a cost effective and maintenance free canoe, opt for canvas and wood. If you need a stylish and sleek boat, use fiberglass.
  • Fiberglass canoe can be made if you have a mold for your canoe, or if you get readymade molded, and cut fiberglass. You get it readymade and you just need to fit the different parts together using bolts and screws.
  • Also, while making a canoe out of fiberglass you need to make sure that the fiber particles do not enter your respiratory system. Cover your eyes and nose with a mask.  It is compulsory to use a mask while making a canoe of fiber, but it is advisable to use one while making a canoe of wood.

How to build a canoe?

  • Before buying any raw material or equipments, buy a canoe building manual and get a blueprint of canoe. This will help you clarify your concept, and help you decide on choosing materials and equipments.
  • Do not start directly. First list down all the materials and equipments, draw a blueprint of the canoe or get one. Prepare a workplace where you can work on your canoe.
  • Get all the materials, cross check with the list you had prepared.
  • You can get some good canoe designs available online. Print one and work towards it.
  • Collect all the material at your workplace. Wear your gloves, cap and goggles to avoid any injuries while working.
  • Use thick plywood to make your canoe. Very thin canoe will not be durable. Using a ply marker, scales and measuring tape, follow the blue print instructions, and mark it accordingly on your ply.
  • First, take two ply sheets with a length of 1 foot and width of at least 8 feet. The canoe will have a base and two walls or sides. The sides should be equal. So place these two plywood sheets on one another, and then mark the measurements and design of the canoe.
  • Then, from another plywood sheet, draw the base of your canoe.
  • Once the design is drawn, cross-check it once again with your blueprint.
  • Start cutting the ply with a saw, and cut various parts of the canoe from the ply.
  • Using drills, screws and nails, join the various parts of the canoe. Cut two long pieces of plywood. Fit this on the base of your canoe to make a cross. This will strengthen the base of your canoe.
  • Smoothen the edges of the canoe. This will prevent your canoe from hurting, while you touch the canoe.
  • On the base of the canoe, fit the seat. Use varnish to give a final touch to your canoe. Varnish is like paint, and it will also prevent your canoe from getting spoilt in water.
  • On one end of the canoe, you can make a small box. This box will be in Vshape as it will be at the extreme end of the canoe. This will be useful to place your life jacket or any other equipment you need in a canoe.
  • Finally buy a set of paddles, or if you wish you can again make one using a manual and blueprint.
  • Check your canoe one last time before you take into waters. Once everything is fine, you can now use your canoe


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