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Thread: Budget skin on frame pack canoe

  1. #1
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    Default Budget skin on frame pack canoe

    G'day everyone,

    I'm planning to build a dirt cheap skin on frame canoe in the 11-13' range for camping around the Noosa river here in Queensland. Something suitable for a 200lb solo paddler and 2-4 days worth of gear. I'm having trouble finding plans that I can afford, I can't really swing more than ~$25 for it. I'd love to be able to build something like Cape Falcon Kayak's "66" canoe but the plans completely blow the budget. I've scoured the internet for skin on frame canoe plans in my price range but haven't found anything much to my liking (I'd be open to suggestions if you had any). There are a couple cedar strip designs built around molds on a strong-back that I quite like though.

    How practical would it be to take plans for a cedar strip canoe and adapt them for skin on frame construction? I was thinking that I could bend stringers around some molds and then steam bend the ribs in. Good idea or am I setting myself up for failure?

    Thanks for any help you can offer.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Budget skin on frame pack canoe

    Good morning! (Morning here, cold!)
    I haven't built an SOF, but I've done plenty of reading and owned three Folbots, one rigid. I think you can use strip plans for an SOF with some thought and study. I have seen videos of guys building canoes from bundles of branches wrapped in polytarp and watched the beautiful Cape Falcon videos. There is a method to suit every need and budget. You may be able to find free canoe plans online, or lines plans and offsets in a library book. I think Horton's Fuselage Frame Boats is reasonably cheap and includes offsets. I have even considered building an SOF using an existing canoe as a mold. I fully believe that it is far better to build a boat within your means than wait for the day you can afford the best of everything. Good luck, keep us posted.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Budget skin on frame pack canoe

    Culler.jpgCanoeCraft.jpg

    Ted Moores's book Canoecraft has offests for a very nice 12'11" Rob Roy.

    Pete Culler on Wooden Boats has offsets for the 13' Butternut.

    You might be able to get these books form the library or on interlibrary loan.

    Brian Chandler of Dreamcatcher Boats has a Rob Roy plans too.

    Mac McCarthy of Feather Canoes has a Wee Lassie at 11'6" and a Wee Lassie 2 at 13'6".


    I built he the 11' version.

    SOF Wee Lassie with sail...launched (woodenboat.com)

    Kudzu, Geodesic Airolite, Hilary Russell, Dream Catcher Boats and Cape Falcon all have YouTube channels which are great sources of information.

    Oh Yeah, forgot to mention Dave Gentry has a nice solo canoe. Non traditional construction and looks very good.

    G'Luck and let us know what you decide to build.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Budget skin on frame pack canoe


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Budget skin on frame pack canoe

    I love the idea and wish you nothing but success. If your budget for plans is $25, what do you have set aside for the rest of the project? Can you afford:

    Stringers of long, clear, straight-grained wood
    Adhesive and/or cord for fastenings
    Some kind of continuous fabric (roughly 60" X your intended length)


    None of those things are expensive by boat building standards, but all have the potential to make your $25 outlay on plans look small.

    I ask because plans are not where I would skimp.

    James

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Budget skin on frame pack canoe

    To answer your last question cedar strip canoe plans can easily be adapted for SOF as you suggest. That's what I did.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Budget skin on frame pack canoe

    We have had examples here on the forum of folks who built SOF canoes to stripper plans. This one was built to the plan of a Micmac model from David Hazen's book "The Stripper's Guide To Canoe Building". Are you sure that you want one that short? With a 200 lb. paddler and camping gear it is likely to ride deep and be quite sluggish with no glide at all.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Budget skin on frame pack canoe

    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Budget skin on frame pack canoe

    Thanks for your help everyone, I greatly appreciate it.

    I love the idea and wish you nothing but success. If your budget for plans is $25, what do you have set aside for the rest of the project? Can you afford:

    Stringers of long, clear, straight-grained wood
    Adhesive and/or cord for fastenings
    Some kind of continuous fabric (roughly 60" X your intended length)


    None of those things are expensive by boat building standards, but all have the potential to make your $25 outlay on plans look small.

    I ask because plans are not where I would skimp.

    • The budget is still a bit nebulous as I get quotes on material and run some experiments to see what I can get away with. My goal is to keep the materials cost under $150 AUD (approx. $115 USD) but I suspect that will be ambitious. Stringers, the keel, and the gunnel will be my greatest expense and will likely have to be scarfed.



    • My plan for cord is to cut up plastic bottles, as inspired by this Advoko Makes video. I'll need to do some testing to see for myself how strong it is but it seems promising. Using a heat gun shrinks the cord and draws the lashing very tight.



    • For adhesive I've got some leftover exterior wood glue. I don't really trust it though. The scarf joints will be particularly long and clinch nailed in addition to the glue. I might also add in a butt-block if it seems anemic. There's definitely some research and testing for me to do on that front. The stringers will be doweled into the stem and lashed.



    • Dacron is reasonably inexpensive ($1.85 AUD /foot, comes out to ~$25) and is so much nicer than using a tarp. If I completely blow the budget the tarp is always an option though. I have some paint that would be good for waterproofing the dacron which has the primary advantage of being already purchased; it would be a shame to ruin the lovely translucent effect though.



    • I plan to make the ribs out of fence palings. They're made from radiata pine here which bends well and they sell them green. I suspect a high breakage/reject quantity due to the poor quality of the timber but each one only costs $1.40. If I'm picky I predict I can get 3 ribs from each paling which comes to 46 cents a rib. I have to test it out to see if it will work but there are some big savings to be made if it does.




    • I agree on not skimping on the plans but unfortunately there really isn't anything in the budget to take away from.


    Are you sure that you want one that short? With a 200 lb. paddler and camping gear it is likely to ride deep and be quite sluggish with no glide at all.
    I would prefer a bit longer but unfortunately my storage space is limited. On the plus side, most of the use will be for day trips so I'll lose some lbs there.
    Last edited by CrashDive; 01-30-2021 at 12:15 AM.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Budget skin on frame pack canoe

    Hey Crash
    Im looking forward to follow the story.
    You sometimes get nice wood, long straight boards, out of packing crates for bigger items.
    So haulage companys may be a good source.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Budget skin on frame pack canoe

    You'll have to do some real creative scrounging to get close to $150 budget.
    My first kayak was built for just about that much, from free plans. I scrounged all the wood for free. Used braided fishing line for lashings.
    Canvas from the local fabric store, and varnish from the big box hardware store.
    Still cost me right around $150.
    Good luck with yours.


  12. #12
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    Default Re: Budget skin on frame pack canoe

    You'll have to do some real creative scrounging to get close to $150 budget.
    My first kayak was built for just about that much, from free plans. I scrounged all the wood for free. Used braided fishing line for lashings.
    Canvas from the local fabric store, and varnish from the big box hardware store.
    Still cost me right around $150.
    I remember reading that canoes are usually ~25% cheaper than a kayak of the same size. Even still, your $150 is a bit concerning for me. Are you including things like of building jigs, a steam box, or seating in that figure? I was feeling quite confident that I could get all the materials for under $220 (I always allow margin to go over budget) but now I'm thinking that I've failed to factor something in. I'll take a closer look at my bill of materials.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Budget skin on frame pack canoe

    One more option.

    Tarn-Canoe-Plan-DB (1).jpg

    David Bynoe ... works in progress: Canoe

    Highly recommend artificial sinew for the lashing if you can get it. Very strong, easy to work with and not pricey.

    G'Luck

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Budget skin on frame pack canoe

    Quote Originally Posted by CrashDive View Post
    Dacron is reasonably inexpensive ($1.85 AUD /foot, comes out to ~$25) and is so much nicer than using a tarp. If I completely blow the budget the tarp is always an option though. I have some paint that would be good for waterproofing the dacron which has the primary advantage of being already purchased; it would be a shame to ruin the lovely translucent effect though.
    I'm in the middle of building a Geodesic Airolite dacron covered pram. I've been told that heat-shrink dacron is different from that used for sails, could be wrong but if you plan to shrink it to tighten it up you might want to check. I like your budget - a worthwhile goal if maybe a little tight. My Airolite pram is going to the the most expensive boat I've ever owned, pound for pound, despite using quite a lot of materials left over from other projects.

    Jamie

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Budget skin on frame pack canoe

    https://www.instructables.com/Free-skin-on-frame-canoe/ among the cheapest ways to go

    A nice young man details building 3 skin on frame canoes here http://www.jonsbushcraft.com/Article...0tutorials.htm
    Nature is the result of human caused extinctions

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Budget skin on frame pack canoe

    I've been told that heat-shrink dacron is different from that used for sails,
    It is a different animal. But the main feature is how much it shrinks when heated with an iron or hairdryer. BTW, you can seal it with varnish if you want that translucent look. Not sure what the quality of the fabric you're thinking of is. The proven material for super lightweight construction is this, from Aircraft Spruce. Most SOF builders prefer heavier material -- typically 8 ounce.
    -Dave

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Budget skin on frame pack canoe

    Quote Originally Posted by CrashDive View Post
    Thanks for your help everyone, I greatly appreciate it.





    I opened that link with great skepticism. Consider me converted! Thanks for sharing.

    James

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Budget skin on frame pack canoe

    Quote Originally Posted by pez_leon View Post
    [/LIST]


    I opened that link with great skepticism. Consider me converted! Thanks for sharing.

    James
    I need to make a bottle cutter!

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Budget skin on frame pack canoe

    You don't need plans at all to build a SOF canoe (though I would advise reading as much about building them as possible, before starting). Just hunt around the net, or the library, for a set of lines drawings, preferably with offsets, for a canoe you like. Use the offsets or scaled drawing to make three molds, bend the stringers around them, attach the stems and bend in the ribs, then finish her off.
    Here's my old article detailing the process: https://www.duckworksmagazine.com/10...hton/index.htm

    If you have good wood, you can use a heat gun to bend the ribs, if you go slowly and carefully.

    Good luck, and feel free to contact me if you get stumped.

    Dave

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Budget skin on frame pack canoe

    The Tarn canoe in action by Lake Luise, in Alberta Canada:

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Budget skin on frame pack canoe

    No need to scarf. I've had luck finding straight spruce in the construction lumber at Home Depot--especially in the 2 x 4 section.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Budget skin on frame pack canoe

    Here's another option for cheap plans
    https://www.amazon.com/Fuselage-Fram.../dp/0615495567.

    I've never read this book but have seen boats that were a product of it and they were bayooteefoool.

    I'd imagine with some creative scrounging these might be within your budget.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Budget skin on frame pack canoe

    You don't need plans at all to build a SOF canoe (though I would advise reading as much about building them as possible, before starting). Just hunt around the net, or the library, for a set of lines drawings, preferably with offsets, for a canoe you like.
    I built this 22' wood stripper fur trade canoe from a lines drawing I found in a book. The station drawing was a half view from one end and 1.75" wide x 2.5" tall. No offsets were given, so I blew it up on a Xerox machine, then had a friend who worked in a blueprint shop blow that up to full size. Once done, the ink lines were about 1/4" wide. It probably should not have worked, but we were young and fearless back then. Once you get the station forms or frames set up you can check the shape with battens, looking for humps or hollows that need to be fixed before starting the permanent construction elements.

    The original plan:

    voyageur-plan.jpg

    The finished boat:

    lau3.jpg

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Budget skin on frame pack canoe

    One year at the Hobart WB show there was a West Greenland Kayak with a driftwood frame and heat shrink dacron skin. All the wood picked up on the beach.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Budget skin on frame pack canoe

    resized boat wee lassie.jpg
    It's easy to build a small pack boat for very little. This 11' 8" Wee Lassie was built with ripped down 2x10 home depot lumber and some scrap oak that was lying around. So far the most expensive items used were artificial sinew and the polyurethane for the finish. I used the station molds from Mac MacCarthy's book, "Featherweight boatbuilding" to fom the shape of the boat and watched videos from others on which techniques they used to build up the frame.

    I did scarf most of the stringers, but it is very easy to do - I use a piece of aluminum angle iron as a glue-up fixture. The best way to get a good joint is to make sure both sides are clamped securely before applying much pressure to the scarf. This stops the pieces from shifting on the slippery glue. Watch Larry from Geodesic boats for a video on a simple chop-saw scarf jig.


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