Preamble and Intent of this site.
The following information I have compiled from building my own cedar stripper. The information supplied on this site in no way implies that I am an authority on the subject, nor does it imply that my way is the best way to do something. As you probably know, there are many ways to do things. Some work well, others not as well but get the job done. The information I'm supplying here is only what I found worked for me. Using this information, I expect you to improve upon it and do a better job. So, the intent here is to help you do a better job of building your dream canoe . . . all by yourself.
I also admit this was my first stripper. I also do not represent myself to be a woodworking expert. Though I retired as a Commercial photography owner, my main background prior to that was mechanical. i.e., AC Flightline Mechanic with several of the major AC companies, and Aerospace Missile Mechanic with several of the largest aerospace companies in the business at Cape Canaveral, FL. & Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX. I mention these only as a description to give you an idea of my type of background, none having anything to do with woodworking.
Now that you know I'm not an
experienced woodworker, the point of all the above is to say to you
Also, when doing my research trying to decide to build or not, I visited several nice "How to build a Cedar Stripper Canoe" websites. Most were excellent. All were pleasant and had helpful suggestions . . . but one in particular whom I feel also deserves special recognition, (though I will be pleasant and not post his name or address) he had a large and well documented site and listed his e-mail address in case someone had a question, but when I contacted him, he actually was a rude butt whom I suspect posted his site to inflate his own ego. Nothing more. He told me that he was too busy to answer questions. When I questioned his reasoning for posting his e-mail address for questions, he was quite rude and asked me not to bother him again. I have to admit that of all those whom I contacted - researching, before deciding to begin my project, this guy was the only rude nerd I ran across who did not want to be helpful. Trying to understand why he was so rude, I later suspected that because I had told him I was first building a large workshop so I could have a place to build my stripper, he probably thought I was some joker blowing smoke. I guess he must be a very small minded individual. I hope he reads this and it makes him ashamed of his egotistical attitude. Old story, "what comes around, goes around."
Therefore . . . . should you or anyone needing help with their project, rest assured you will get a pleasant reply and I will be as helpful as I possibly can. I don't guarantee I'll have all the answers, however, if I'm not able to answer your question, I will at least try to give you an address of someone who can.
NEXT- - - Most all of the sites I visited did a very good job of photo documentation and at the end, showed what their stripper looked like, though in my opinion, some did not do as good of a job of displaying their finished product as they did the construction. Only one or two photos. So, I'm going try and do a better job and show the finished product at the beginning, (to be different) then I'll show how I accomplished the construction in detailed small steps.
My completed cedar stripper
The black mark
visible at the center of the accent stripes in first photo is the name of the
canoe with a beautiful Monarch butterfly. ("Logan's Monarch" -
decided on this name since as I was building last year, a Monarch butterfly lit
on the part of the canoe closest the open door. She was beautiful and sat only
for a minute or so. Though I'm not superstitious, I considered it a lucky
omen and decided that would make a good name for her. I also pondered Mohammed Ali's favorite cliché
about floating like a butterfly (she does) but decided that would be a bit much so let it
Just returned from river and drying out gear
When empty, she sits on the water perfectly level, paddles and maneuvers perfect. Better than any other canoe I have ever owned. And my navigator likes his deck. (which has plenty of storage underneath for misc. items like his food, his life jacket (should we have rough weather, he's 11 years old) , extra propane bottles, water, etc.)
I will attempt to give you a complete step by step description on what I found worked for me to build a stripper, with far more detail and three times the photos as I have seen on other sites. It may be overkill and even bore you, but as an old (very) Aerospace Technician, I always try to go the extra mile. It is mainly aimed at those who have never attempted to build a stripper and were afraid to try. Those of you who have, can grin and move quickly through. But --- maybe you'll find something useful.
Starting point. The sawhorse or other strongback supports should be very sturdy. In this case I began by building three 32" sawhorses all alike with fresh new lumber, light enough that they could easily be moved or stored later, or if necessary, could be easily disassembled, since I used #12 Phillips head wood screws at all joints and cross braced well so they were strong and there could have no movement whatsoever.
I built my strongback of new 14' 2X6's with 2X4 cross pieces spaced 18" apart to hold the stations, and 1X4's diagonally placed underneath to prevent any distortion over time. Also assembled with #12 Phillips head wood screws. Gil said it was not really necessary but I made certain the strongback was perfectly true and level not only front to back but from corner to corner. Due to my concrete shop floor not being perfect I had to use shims in a couple places. OH! (my opinion) To build a 16', you should figure on a minimum of 19' shop space. I had one foot extra at the bow and 2' extra at the stern. You need this to be able to move from one side to the other while working. My shop is 14' X 24' inside but I have a lot of other stuff taking up too much space.
With my sawhorses 32" tall, the strongback made a good work bench. I added a small 1/8th sheet of the material I used to make my patterns, to one end and made a small drafting table which worked well as a temporary work bench to calculate my patterns from Gil's book. This is a critical stage and your calculations MUST be correct and right on or your whole project will end up a mess. Check and recheck several times to make certain it is right. NOTE: When doing your layout, it is important to also lay out the centerline on the patterns exact and clearly. You will need those later and they are extremely important.
I elected to first make paper patterns on vellum, then transfer that pattern to a 1/8" chalk board seen here, purchased from Home Depot. Using this pattern I was able to check everything and fine tune, and in one case, I caught a problem and was able to quickly and easily make another. Had I not had this step, I would not have caught the problem until I had already made the station out of plywood. Just made it faster easier. When the patterns were done, then they were traced onto 1/2" plywood. The other plus is I have these original patterns to work from should I ever have damage or ? to one of the stations. Note the bold centerlines on the patterns.
It may be overkill and a waste of time but I set my patterns in place and with centerlines all lined up I checked (eyeballed using a long flexible strip) all edges for a glitch. Luckily everything was fine. Satisfied all was well, I then began the task of cutting the stations from 1/2" plywood.
Again the strongback comes in handy, being an easy height to work with. After the pattern is transferred to the plywood, each station is cut into sections then each station is clamped to the strongback and are cut out with a scroll saw.
Special tool I made.
This web page is going to end up being so large that I had to break it up into multiple pages.