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Canoe Building Books

Canoe Building Book

There are several canoe building books that helped me get started and I highly recommend any or all of them to anyone thinking of building their own canoe. I’ve narrowed the list down here and provided what I believe are the top five canoe building books that any canoe builder should read.

Canoe Building Books
Ted Moores signing my copy of Canoecraft at Bear Mountain Boats

I don’t keep it a secret that Ted Moores book Canoecraft played a big role in my first cedarstrip boat build (even though, my first boat was actually an Adirondack Guide Boat). After meeting Ted and his partner Joan in person a few years ago and discovering first hand how wonderful and committed they are to canoe building and canoe culture I have to admit, I’m probably a bit biased. Still, Canoecraft is really what I would consider to be “the bible” of woodstrip canoe building.

The Top 5 Canoe Building Books

Canoecraft: An Illustrated Guide to Fine Woodstrip Construction

Ted Moores is a master builder of woodstrip/epoxy canoes. Over four decades teaching wooden-boat construction, he discovered that the same dream motivates all of his students, no matter their age: to build something beautiful and functional.

Canoecraft is the road map to that dream. Moores offers comprehensive instructions for the first-time builder, and for the second-time builder. He adds a variety of canoe plans, each presented as a traditional table of offsets. There is also a series of builder’s tips and techniques, and an entire chapter on carving a paddle, the perfect accompaniment to a handcrafted canoe.

Whether the goal is to build a general-purpose recreational canoe, or an efficient modern tripping canoe, or a full-decked fast-cruising canoe with walnut veneer, Canoecraft is the ideal guide to making it happen successfully.

Building a Strip Canoe

The second book in my list of the top 5 canoe building books is Building a Strip Canoe.

Building a Strip Canoe was written by Gil Gilpatrick, an expert outdoorsman and canoe builder who has supervised the construction of more than 500 canoes.

In his book Gilpatrick shares his voice of experience in guiding both novice and accomplished woodworkers in building a canoe with easy step-by-step instruction.

Gilpatrick’s book is unique to the rest because of his building method. Illustrated in Building a Strip Canoe is his method of canoe building without an inner stem. Gilpatrick also has a more rustic approach to canoe building and it appears that his method is focused more on function, rather than form. Its the subtle differences in building method that brings his method to second place.

Illustrated Guide to Wood Strip Canoe Building

The third book in my list of the top 5 canoe building books was a tough decision. Really, I’d say its a fair tie between “Illustrated Guide” and our next book “Building Strip-Planked Boats.”

This book, written by Susan Van Leuven, offers complete coverage of the procedures and techniques of mold set-up, assembly of the wood strip hull, epoxy resin and fiberglass application, finishing, and more.

All phases of construction are extensively illustrated with colour photos and line drawings. For each stage of the building process, a range of alternative methods is presented, enabling the builder to select those which will yield a craft customized to his or her own needs. Source lists for canoe plans, building materials, and tools are included. This book is dedicated to helping the backyard boat builder achieve professional quality results in creating a fine canoe to use and be proud of for years.”

Building Strip-Planked Boats

The first comprehensive book on strip building almost any type of small boat, Building Strip-Planked Boats by Nick Schade is tied in third place in my list of the top 5 canoe building books.

Strip-planking is a popular method of amateur boat construction, but until now there has never been a book that showed how to use it for more than one type of boat.

Author Nick Schade presents complete plans for three boats of different types (canoe, kayak, and a dinghy) and shows you step-by-step how to build them. Written for all amateur builders, the book covers materials, tools, and safety issues.

Kayak Craft – Fine Woodstrip Kayak Construction

Ok. So its not really a book on building a “canoe,” but the fifth book in my list of the top 5 canoe building books is KayakCraft by Ted Moores.

In KayakCraft Ted Moores provides the same high level of detail in explaining the woodstrip building process and applies it to several kayak designs.

The reason I’ve included this book in my list of “top 5 canoe building books” is due to value of information presented in this book. Whether you’re planning on building a canoe or a kayak, KayakCraft is a resource that you should have in your canoe building books library.


What do you think?

Have you read any of these books? 

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