Canoes in North Dakota

My First Build


Hello, I’m Justin, I live in the middle of nowhere North Dakota (ND). Living in the middle of nowhere as you can imagine makes getting proper material a bit of a challenge as most of the lumber yards around me just have your typical building materials. If you know anything about North Dakota you also know we are not known for our plentiful tree populations as we have none. However, there are two places that cut and sell wood for projects and I’m hoping ill be able to get good bending stock from them.

I have build one canoe already It was a 15.6′ x 29″  fuselage frame with painted skin. It weighs in right at 53 LBS  (Right)

I am planning on working on two canoe builds in the next month (minus the skinning). I’m looking at building a 15′ x 30″ for a more stable and higher sitting canoe.  The second will be a nesting 13’8″ x 28″ smaller canoe that will mainly be for a more agile and quick sailing canoe. I should be able to do a little fishing from them as well as take a few day trips if I wished to. The wind is usually somewhere between 10-18 MPH so the sails will be put to good use in some of our larger waters. The waters here in ND are choppy when the wind picks up they are not very fast moving and we don’t have white waters here although there are parts that can get a bit speedy during certain times of the year.

This last month has been filled with the preparation of tools. I ended up needing things like a router, thin kerf saw blade (wow are they pricey) along with a few other things. I ended up getting myself an Irwin Marples chisel set that came with a stone, three chisels and a sharpening jig. The Jig will allow me to sharpen the chisels as well as several hand planes I have access to.  I also have watched the how-to videos although I will be watching them all again this time taking notes.

I plan on updating this as I build them. I will be building the 15 footers first then the smaller one after. I sadly don’t have the room to build them both in my little shop area I have access to. I look forward to reading your alls build logs as well as sharing mine. I will be updating on my Instagram more often then here so if you want to see more images follow me there as well.

Instagram: DoingProjects


5/31/2019 WOOD & MORE

Well, this week has been a bit slow on the progress of the canoes, However, I did go to the lumber yard and tell them what I was looking for and he is going to see about getting it ordered in and get prices for me Hopefully within this next week. I also got ahold of a small mill about an hour and a half from me. Yes, that really is the closest one to me, hey im in ND we arent knows for our trees haha. anyway, I was seeing about white oak for the bending wood and he said he only had one log there that he thought would be good enough but that he has a tone of green ash logs. I did a little looking and asking on a few facebook pages and many said that green ash should bend well, so I told him that I’d be ok with that as well since he never cut boards in a rift cut before figured better to let him practice first if he wanted to. below I have included my wood list for the most important stuff anyway. it should cover both canoes if I did my math right

3= 1x4x16′ Gunnels Pine

1x8x8′ stems pine

1x4x16′ or 2=1x4x8′ rub rails Ash/Fir

1= 1/4″ half sheet birch ply, steam box, and jigs

1x3x16′ low-grade straight pine for workbench

Bending Green Ash – wet

43″ long x 1″ thick x total of 50″ wide

I am hoping I did the math right. I probably could bring the price down a bit just by figuring the wood out separately for each boat but honestly don’t see a need to as I don’t think it would be that big of a difference. Plus doing it this way makes it so if I decide to make 2 big ones or a different dimension for the 2nd one I will have enough to do so. I should be hearing back from him sometime this week as well.

I also got my steam box built this week it’s not perfect but I think it should work and get the job done. Im guessing I over-engineered it with all the screws I used but Im ok with that as I hope I never have to make another one. Well at least till the mess ups drive me nuts anyway. Im planning on getting it running a few times this coming week and maybe see about bending some pine just for fun.

I am also trying to figure out where or who to have the sails made for these canoes… going to have to think on that one for a while I think.


Can’t say Im not a bit anxious to find out how much all the wood will cost me. Im going to try and keep in mind that im not just building one boat with it but two, might take a bit of the sting off the wallet.

This is all I have to update for now anyway.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to top