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Wood strip-built Kayak

Strip-built is a method of boat building commonly used for canoes and kayaks, but also suitable for larger boats. The process involves securing narrow, flexible strips of wood edge-to-edge around temporary forms.

These are the most popular among boatbuilders. Some professional builders also offer both kits and finished boats. The canoes are constructed by gluing together 1/4" x 3/4" strips of wood over a building jig consisting of station molds that define the shape of the hull. The forms are cut as a series of cross-sections of the final design and set up along a "strong back" or other solid base.

Cedar-strip canoe hull fabrication in process

The strips are shaped with bead and cove router bits. Stripping begins at the sheer line and finishes with "the football". The strips are edge-glued to each other, being held in place with nails, staples, or simply clamped to the forms. Once the strips are glued together, and the staples/nails removed, the inside and outside are sanded fair. Fiberglass and epoxy is applied to the canoe inside and out. The fiberglass covering is transparent, waterproof, and allowing the wood strips to be seen. The strips are usually cedar, but can be any type of wood. Contrasting woods are sometimes used as accent strips.[1] The last steps in construction is to install the seats, thwarts, and gunwales. Finally a coat of marine grade polyurethane is applied to protect the wood and epoxy from ultraviolet light.[2]

In the 1950s, this process for building canoes was adapted from ship/boat building techniques, and refined by a group of Minnesota canoe racers; primarily Eugene Jensen, Irwin C.(Buzzy) Peterson, and Karl Ketter.This process is similarly suited to building kayaks.

Canoe made by the 2003 Maryville High school boat building class.


  1. ^ "How to build a cedar strip canoe". Retrieved 2012-09-20.
  2. ^ Moores, Ted (2007). Canoecraft: An Illustrated Guide to Fine Woodstrip Construction. Firefly Books; Revised & enlarged edition. ISBN 1552093425.

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