My wife and I are planning a BWCA trip this summer with another couple. I have been once before and this will be my wife's first trip. We are fully equipped with most of the camping gear but we missing a critical item: the canoe. I've done a bit of research online just to check out all of our options (buying, renting, building) and I am truly intrigued by some of the plywood canoe plans/designs I have seem. Building one of the boats would be right up my alley, I love a new project. I'm just looking for some feedback on the durability and practicality of use for BWCA. I think the weights look great, and I can pick w/e length to build to suit our needs. Just looking to see if anyone has any specific experiences good or bad about building and using a plywood boat for the BWCA. Thanks in advance!!
Generally plywood canoes are not as seaworthy and are very heavy. Plywood is generally better for kayaks. Kayaks can get away with harder lines while canoes need more of a curve, that is why strips suit canoes better.
For boat/kayak/canoe building, special plywood is needed. It can not have any voids in any of its layers. If you are looking to save money, building a canoe, especially a plywood canoe, is not the answer.
Generally plywood canoes cost more for materials, but strip canoes are more labor-intensive.
If you really want to try building a plywood canoe I recommend the lapstrake method and recommend the book The Canoe Shop .
Actually Bannock, a stitch and glue canoe is no heavier than a cedar strip. The solo I started building should come in aroun 38-40lbs. And after building a cedarstrip, I'd argue a stitch and glue style is cheaper and less labor intensive. Plus there are molds or forms to make, no strongback needed, etc...
Bob Brown, who designed boats for Bell and Wenonah, paddles his stressed Plywood/stitch and glue canoes all the time. I've paddled one of his and thought it was a fun, fast canoe. He likes the method because he could design and build a new canoe so fast.
The problem comes when you want to build a tandem. You can't build one out of 2 sheets of ply, you need four and at that point costs become a bit prohibitive.
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