Q What is the average cost and how long does it take to complete a canoe or kayak?
A Acquiring the materials to build a woodstrip/epoxy craft depends on time, money and equipment. The plans can be drawn and materials sourced from references supplied in Canoecraft and Kayakcraft. If you have access to machinery you can mill your own parts. Locally available wood although usually shorter in length, is cost effective and will not compromise the strength of the hull if a good quality sheathing system is used. We have provided a materials list for you to print.
For a quick idea about costs: Machined wooden parts – gunnels, bead and cove planks, stems about $800.
OR Rough wood to machine in your shop $350.
Epoxy, fibreglass, fillers, screws etc. $600.
Total $950. to $1400.
Q How do I find the wood?
A The cost of purchasing finished planking will be about double what you might spend if you mill the rough boards yourself (but not counting your time).
The most difficult part is finding suitable wood for planking.
USING ROUGH LUMBER
We purchase rough cedar in 20 ft. lengths from the west coast. If you look around you might find specialty lumber companies selling long lengths. However, shipping a few boards for one canoe is sometimes not feasible. Consider the freight and waste – we figure about half the board ends up as sawdust.
We encourage people to use locally available lumber in shorter lengths which is more cost effective than long lengths of western woods – from an environmental perspective this makes alot of sense. The drawback is having to join the planks – a little more time consuming – and not having the attractive colour of western cedar.
We hear from builders in many countries who have used a variety of local woods with good success: ie: sassafrass, cottonwood, eastern white cedar, tawa, kahikatea. Ted says to look for wood with an average weight of 25 lbs. per cubic foot. If you want to know whether the characteristics of the wood you are considering will be suitable you may find out technical information from The Center for Wood Anatomy Research at http://www2.fpl.fs.fed.us/TechSheets/techmenu.html.
|If you are making your own planking Lee Valley Tools is a source of Bead and Cove router bits among many other wonderful things.www.leevalley.com - be sure to ask for a catalogue.|
READY TO USE PLANKING
If buying finished planking, there will be a huge variation in the quality of finished planking from one supplier to another, and so prices will vary.
At Bear Mountain, we work with Ron Frenette of Canadian Canoes (www.canadiancanoes.com). Ron has developed relationships with saw mills on the west coast of Canada and with a high end milling company to cut the strips while keeping each board together for uniformity. This means we have a good supply of the best cedar available and allows us to offer top quality bead and cove colour matched packages in long lengths. You may know that Ted is pretty fussy and likes to use what he considers perfectly machined wood. He says the frustration of using pieces that are not uniformly machined is not worth it when it comes to fairing and shaping. That is not to say you have to meet his standards especially if you find a product you are happy with and that suits your budget.
Q If I use locally available wood which is shorter than the length of the canoe, how do I join the short planks together?
A A simple butt joint is all that is necessary. Altho he used to stagger the joints over a station mold, Ted now finds that by joining the plank between the stations he is less inclined to bang several staples in, and the joint is less obvious.
Q Can an inexperienced person build a canoe?
A Absolutely! Be prepared to take your time and read the book completely before you start. You can buy the plans to shorten the process and give you confidence in the design. There is lots of tech support available either through the Bear Mountain builders forum and directory as well as from the companies selling the materials you will be using.
Q What is the average amount of time taken to build a canoe?
A This varies depending on how many of the parts the builder makes and how many are purchased already machined. It also depends on the skill level of the builder. Ted suggests that it should take anywhere from 100 to 250 hours with 150 hours a good average.
Q What Epoxy do you recommend?
A We have been using WEST® SYSTEM epoxy since 1977 with excellent results. Over the years we have seen a steady improvement in terms of safety and ease of handling and we like the availability of the Gougeon’s technical staff if we have questions.The company’s commitment to safety and ongoing improvement is reflected in a user friendly, high quality product with consistent results.
There are other epoxies available and we have heard of excellent results using them. We have also heard horror stories about resin not curing or sanding like bubble gum. If you are not familiar with the resin system you are buying, talk to someone who has used it.
IF you choose WEST® SYSTEM epoxy you may contact them at (517) 684-7286 for one of the many local suppliers worldwide. Builders in the U.S. will want to purchase it on that side of the border as it is manufactured in Michigan. Bear Mountain is a dealer for West System products and we can arrange shipment to most locations. While we cannot offer huge discounts we give technical advice.70
This is what you need to buy if using WEST @ for one canoe/kayak
- 2 x 105B Epoxy resin
- 2 x 207SB Special coating hardner
- 1 x 303BC Mini pumps
- 6 oz. x 60″ fiberglass cloth with episize – #403 Microfibres used with epoxy for gluing stems, gunnels etc. – #407 Low density filler (dark brown) for glue, filling – #410 Microlight (light brown) for glue, filling and sheer clamp on kayak
For schools, groups etc. building three canoes we suggest
- 105C (4.35 gal.) Epoxy resin
- 207SC Special coating hardner
Q What hardener do you recommend?
A 105 Resin / 207 Special Coating Hardener – Recommended where an exceptionally clear finish is needed to enhance the woods natural beauty. Designed to work well in cool, damp conditions without clouding. If your building environment is unpredictable, we recommend the 105/207 resin system.
Each kayak or canoe requires about 2 gallons (or 2 ‘B’ Packs) of resin/hardener for laying up the fiberglass. If you are building more than two canoes a “C” Pack is most economical.
Q What about Fibreglass cloth?
A We use fibreglass cloth purchased from theWest System dealer because it has been treated with episize for better adhesion. When purchasing cloth make sure it is rolled onto a tube or you will have a problem with creases. Used cardboard carpet rolls work well as does rigid plastic pipe.
You will need 60 inch wide cloth the length of the canoe x2 plus one foot.
Q What varnish do you use?
A Pettit’s EasyPoxy Spar Varnish $36. litre (contains 4% u.v. filter)