Dave’s Tandem 66 Canoe – Belfountain, Ontario, Canada

Last summer my wife saw a need for a canoe. In 2008, I built a SOF Sea Kayak for myself and in 2009 a Stitch & Glue recreational kayak for my wife. The Rec boat is perfect for guests… very stable, easy to paddle… BUT we are now short a boat (or two). After borrowing my sister’s canoe last summer to spend time with family on the water, it was decided… we need a canoe! This coincided with a discussion and fellow builder neighbour Matt, we both decided to build a 66 each. Then, talking with a colleague at work, there are now three 66s in the works.

Today, July 15 2021 I stated my month long vacation with plans to start the build in earnest. I have already purchased all the materials and started to process the wood. As I am building a full size tandem, red cedar is out, I found a local supply of Yellow Cedar, a guy who imports wood as a side hustle focusing on boat building types. it was slim pickings but I managed to find enough wood though I will have to scarf. The Burr Oak for my ribs came from a local farmer/hobby wood worker friend who fell & milled the tree two weeks ago! All three of us bought our Oak!

Made the stems, started to rip the gunwales and process the wood this morning.

July 16 2021 – started work in earnest today, ripped the gunwales and stringers today. As I could not get 17′ lumber, I am working with 12 footers. I cut my stems first and the remainder of the board will become stringers & gunwales… I did not want to accidently rip that material. BTW, I am using a table saw I bought 40 something years ago as a present for my dad, they do no make then like they used to!

July 17 2021 – finished the setup of the shop, scarfed the gunwale pieces. I have a 16′ x 32″ work bench, so I chalk lined 3 lines, but down some plastic wrap to prevent gluing the pieces to the bench. Now, onto the keel and stringers!

July 19 2021 – laminated the gunwales, left them overnight and ripped them this afternoon (once my assistant was off work. As I had not in/out tables on my table saw, we found it way easier to rip the gunwales as a hump and not as a “U”. We did a couple dry runs to practice, went really well.

July 20 2021 – cleaned up the gunwales (aka sanded and sanded again), all set to mortis. Worked on carving a paddle as a gift for my nephew… almost done. It is a northwest design made out of Cherry.

July 21 2021 – mortised the gunwales and slick planed the keel & stringers… starting to feel real :-D… Finished the paddle, ready for test paddling tomorrow

July 22 2021 – had a great day on the water with Evan as he tried out his new paddle… HE LOVED IT!!!

July 23 2021 – installed spreaders and symmetry is looking good, amazing how much a shift in the ends effects the symmetry. tied and pinned the ends. I found working on the bench is great… until you get to the 3D curved parts so I made a couple of mini workhorses… they are working really well. I can slide them along the bench as needed, even added a little stop on the ends.

July24 2021 – trimmed the ends, attached the stems and checked symmetry… took some figure’n as the string was a good 1/2″ above the keel, then I followed Bryan’s sage advice and triple checked everything to find I was using the planned shear height and not the actual… fixed my error and everything fell into place. shifting gears to rub rails before ribs.

July 25 2021 – took a day off from canoe building to launch a SOF kayak that my nephew started building in 2008, left it for a bunch of years and asked to complete it just before the pandemic started. Working around the restrictions, progress was slow. Finally the day came and we had a successful launch!

July 26 2021 – Rub rails ripped and scarfed. And made the steam box… got creative and adapted the one of the steam fittings to the box… another great day!

July 31 2021 – TROUBLE! started prepping ribs, followed Brian’s sage advice to do test ribs, #1, #7, #16, #26 & #33… the middle three were perfect, the ends were 1.5″ too short… I have double-triple checked everything and am at a loss for the error. Back at it this AM to sort things out. very glad that I did not cut, prep & bend all of them to have things go so far wrong. I am going to add temp blocks to the Rib #1 so see if adding 3″ (1.5″ x 2) solves the issue. I will report once back on track. In the mean time ripped the rest of the rib stock, all ready to measure, cut and bend.

August 1 2021 – BIG DAY – bending in all the ribs and clamped the stringers. went really well, definitely worth it to get good quality bending stock.

August 2 2021 – lashed in the first two stringers… busy day hiking with friends so not much work on the Canoe. Tomorrow is another day – I did setup a nice rack for varnishing my rub rails, needed to get them off the bench. Added a small triangle block to minimize the contact with the wet material. nice to have it out of the way… 5 coats and counting.


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Long time Builder, first time Blogger ;) I built my first boat when I was about 10... it was more of a help my older brother as he started building SeaFleas as a small business (the Minimax 8 https://muskokaseaflea.ca/StaticWeb2/?page_id=61). I continued to help my brother as he started a business importing yachts from Taiwan, 30'-50' motor yachts, we were Oceania Yachts, I opened the American office. Fast forward to 2008, I had taken up kayaking and in a phone conversation with my friend Garry who introduced me to the sport, when I asked why he did not own a boat - "I could not do one of those plastic pigs, I would need to build one..." after a quick search I found a skin on frame kayak that used modern materials, in particular aircraft dacron that is heat shrink, the same fabric that was on my airplane... technology that I am familiar with. I started the build with 3 nephews, each building their own boat. 11 months later I launch Kia Ora, my 17' Sea Kayak, a year later, Leo joined the fleet, a 12' Wood Duck Stick and Glue for my wife. One nephew launched in 2014, second is about to (2021) and the third is ready for skin. Last summer, after borrowing my sister's canoe for the summer, we decided we needed our own canoe and I really loved the 66. I am building a full size tandem, 16', 36" beam R/B ratio 1.40 and a D/B ratio of .37. Burr oak for the ribs and yellow cedar for the rest.

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