Rich’s Dual Pack 66 Canoe Build, Gardiner NY

2020-08-24: Having never built a canoe, I spent the first couple weeks watching the videos, tuning up my saws, ordering parts & tools, identifying lumber sources, and making jigs. Before cutting the first piece of wood I need to visualize the process in my mind. I often ruminate on problems just before falling to sleep. Tomorrow I’ll go buy lumber: green white oak and red cedar.

Zero clearance table saw insert, blocks for lamination of gunwale, capture form, thin push stick


I obtained clear vertical grain cedar at Curtis Lumber, Ballston Spa, New York. For the gunwales 1″x4″x12′, for the stringers and keel 1″x6″x12′. The lumber was sanded on 3 sides.

I picked through the pile at Lowe’s and found a straight 2″x8″x12′ fir board to serve as a base for the gunwale lamination. The board wasn’t perfect so I improved the surface by running it through my planer (DeWalt DW735). I planed the cedar board to thickness.

I marked out the mortise locations, etc., applied TiteBond III to two surfaces and clamped the gunwale boards.

I used what’s know as a holdfast to clamp the center of the board. It fits into an ordinary dog hole in the bench top. Available from “Tools for Woodworking”

Having other work to do in the meantime, I removed the clamps after 48 hours and measured 3/8″ of “spring back”, which I deemed acceptable based on the instructors comment of ‘about 1/2″ to be expected’.

With the help of an experienced friend I cut the 2 pairs of gunwales on a small Delta contractor’s table saw using a 24 tooth Diablo thin kerf (3/32″) rip blade. I screwed together a pair of gunwales and prepped for cutting mortises. For support I used the same three blocks as used for the lamination.


Using scrap cedar from a deck project I cut out stem blanks on a band saw (Laguna 14-12) with a fine-toothed 1/2″ blade.

Cedar stem blanks

To record the actual sheer measurements I placed the gunwale my floor using the seam bewteen planks as a straight edge. I recorded the deflection at each rib location.

Set-up for measuring deflection of gunwale (sheer) at each rib location

The gunwales are secured in the capture forms and the center spreader is inserted. The spreader is cut to the canoe width minus the combined gunwale thicknesses (28 1/2″ – 1 3/8″). A string line is dropped to insure the bow and stern align with the centerline of the spreader.

Securing the gunwales and checking for symmetry with a string line

Borrowing a 16kg kettlebell from the gym located in a corner of my shop, the center of the gunwales is weighed down so as to deflect the gunwales to be parallel. The two end spreaders are screwed in. Note: the video calls for a 1/8″ drill bit with #6 screws. This bit is too thick and can be reduced. Use your own judgement.


View posts by Rich
With a background in electrical and computer engineering and sales, I retired from the IT industry and now spend my time on woodworking, training/teaching jiu-jitsu and various outdoor activities including paddling and XC skiing. I'm a member of the Northeast Woodworkers Association where I served as President from 2019-2020. I enjoy making Shaker Oval boxes, a craft that involves steam bending thinly sliced wood of various species. I hope to develop expertise in canoe building and have an audacious goal of constructing 6 nested vessels.

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