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Wooden boats in strip construction are light and robust with a high practical value and an elegant appearance. The composite construction of wooden strips and GRP (glass fiber reinforced plastic) does not represent a compromise between aesthetics and weight , but is usually even lighter than other materials in the canoe and kayak market. Depending on the used wood types and fabric grammatures, boats with a weight of well under 20kg can be realized. In terms of craftsmanship, the strip construction method is extremely demanding, as not only precise work is required while planking, but also a clean finish when laminating and varnishing the hull. In addition to the required craft qualities, a great amount of stamina is required for large-scale sanding work. The result, however, justifies all the effort: paddling your own stripcanoe for the first time is truly unforgettable.



Every construction of a stripplanked boat begins with a strongback. It is the frame on which the strips are forming the shape of the hull. Since the stations are attached to the strongback and the symmetry of the boat depends on it, it should be as straight as possible and also very stable. The hull strips will later be attached and glued over the hulls. The stations are removed after the canoe is built and can be reused in the same way as the strongback.


Once the strongback is in place and the hulls are aligned, all that is missing is the appropriate wood strips for planking. The ideal wood for a wooden stripplanked boats is Red Cedar (Thuja plicata), because it is very light, has an insanely beautiful appearance and is also very easy to process. Another advantage of the wood is the aromatic smell it gives off when sawn, planed and sanded. However, when processing this wood, a filter mask should be worn urgently, as the dusts are harmful to health.

Several hundred meters are traveled on the saw and router table in the production of these 6mm thick, approximately 20mm wide, concave and convex milled strips.


detailed view of the saw blade of a table saw sawing a board of ash
top view on a not yet finished stripcanoe build. you can see the stations, the strongback, a handplane and a ruler. some strips are held in place with small wooden blocks while gluing


A basic decision should be made before attaching the first strip: "with or without staples?" Stapling the strips to the stations has the advantage that the hull can be completed faster, since strip after strip can be attached without having to wait for the glue to dry. Visually, however, this method has the disadvantage of leaving trails of small staple holes evenly spaced on the hull later.

Better, but also more complicated, is the construction without staples, for which there are countless, more or less laborious approaches. Instead of stapling, I recommend placing screws in pre-drilled holes only where necessary and closing the screw holes later with wooden dowels. Screws because a few screws have to hold more forces than many staples. A f