Lightweight Canoes

I had a dream of having a canoe light enough to carry across a portage in one trip, with a pack!

The Four Finger Carry!
I heard that wood-strip canoes were lightweight and strong. So I started building canoes using the wood strip method and experimented with ways to make them even lighter without sacrificing strength. The 14'6" Solo Portage was the canoe that made my dream a reality.

I offer many classic canoe designs and sizes, several of which are pictured here. I have existing building forms for a number of Classic designs.

Also, I can take a design that is close to your purpose and tailor it to your specific needs. This means modifying an existing design, fairing and creating new building forms.

Solo Portage 14' 6" x 30", 30 pounds above Wee Two 12' 6" x 30", 32 pounds, above

In deciding which canoe design is for you, it is important that we talk about what experience you have in canoes and what purpose you envision for the canoe of your dreams. If you can come to my shop, I will show you canoes I have on hand and show you examples of other possible options. Or we can discuss options on the phone, and I can send you drawings and a proposal.

Lightweight has been a driving force behind the boats I design and build. A large part of my experience in canoeing has been on extended trips, portaging from lake to lake, in the area near my family in Northern Ontario. I've carried canoes many a mile. I got tired of trips back and forth on portages carrying heavy canoes.

I started by using 3/16" wood strips, instead of the 1/4" strips most other builders use. That's a 25% weight savings right there! The difference in wood thickness does not effect strength. The real strength of this building method is in the fiberglass cloth and epoxy resin.

My gunnels are made of a special laminate of strong and lightweight spruce with an exterior edge of hardwood for abrasion resistance. This design is pounds lighter than conventional all hardwood designs.

My gunnels are scuppered, which means that spacer blocks set the inwales away from the hull. This makes the gunnels more rigid than solid gunnel designs. Only one thwart in the center of the canoe is necessary. Scuppered gunnels allow easy drainage of water when the canoe is inverted. They also give you many places to tie in gear, an anchor or a fishing stringer.

I glue my gunnels on instead of screwing them on. It takes more time to glue them ,but it's worth it to eliminate the weight of 60 to 80 screws. While repairing other canoes with screwed gunnels ,I've found that because there is no seal between the gunnel and the hull, dirt and moisture get trapped there and cause rot. That can't happen with a gunnel that's glued to the hull.

My gunnel design contributes greatly to the lightweight of my canoes and I believe my gunnels are superior. Contact me for details.

These are the canoes I have to offer

Wee Robbie is a solo double paddle canoe (paddled with a kayak paddle seated on the boat bottom) and is very light-weight at 17 lbs. Building plans are available!

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Wee Vera and Wee Two are light-weight double paddle canoes. The Wee Vera is similar to the Wee Robbie but is more stable and can handle more weight. The Wee Two is designed for two adults or can also be paddled solo. Both of these canoes are very stable and can be set up as traditional canoes if you wish. Building plans are available!

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Solo Portage is designed as a fast, light-weight, solo canoe.

Building plans are available!

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