Canoe Alternatives

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pipascus

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Just wondering what you all use for doing a trek on the water. Was looking at the imitation birchbark canoes bit at over $3,000 that's just way too much. Modern canoe would look sort of silly.
All I can think of is making one of those French Bateaus.

Any other options or ideas?
 

Daveboone

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It would be a shame to pass on a trek just because of your float, but I understand your mind. Locally (upstate NY where water is everywhere) I have seen cedar strip canoes (clear epoxy finish and glass, but is wood, looks like wood) for sale 1500.oo or so...Or you could take a relatively inexpensive aluminum and clean it up, prime and paint it a more natural green just so it looks less shiny. You can also find glass or Royalex canoes used relatively inexpensively.
 

tenngun

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Any boat we would want might run a bit pricey.
Nesmuk, Sears did make a small one man canoe himself.
Bateaus were hc.
You tube has a vid on making a small plywood canoe you could paint up.
 

Carbon 6

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Unfortunately, the the lack of materials today makes most traditional boats unaffordable. The type of boat depends a lot on where you were and what local material was available. In the far north natives used skin boats, in the northern U.S. they used bark canoes, the plains Indians used bull boats covered with buffalo hides. the far south used dugout canoes.
Colonists used traditional European sailing designs.
Building most of these boats today is an endeavor beyond the reach of most of us.

My advice is to focus on the trek and not the boat. I'd choose a reliable cheap aluminum canoe and just tell myself it's birch bark. I want a safe trip and will still have to have all the necessary safety gear as required by law anyway.
 

sawyer04

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My advice is to focus on the trek and not the boat. I'd choose a reliable cheap aluminum canoe and just tell myself it's birch bark. I want a safe trip and will still have to have all the necessary safety gear as required by law anyway.
Yep, less expensive, less maintenance, and once your trek is over, you shouldn't really care. The streams I navigate would be nothing but torture on a birch bark, but I wouldn't object to have one to look at in the shop.
 

MC One Shot

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Not wanting to hijack this thread but the OP may be interested as well.

Now, I remember reading somewhere a while back on plank flat bottom canoes (not sure if the name is correct). Can't remember how they were built, with a single plank bottom or not. When were these first built and in what region. Don't remember if the planks were hand hewn or sawn. Any one have information on these. Thank you.
 

Carbon 6

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Not wanting to hijack this thread but the OP may be interested as well.

Now, I remember reading somewhere a while back on plank flat bottom canoes (not sure if the name is correct). Can't remember how they were built, with a single plank bottom or not. When were these first built and in what region. Don't remember if the planks were hand hewn or sawn. Any one have information on these. Thank you.
Those would fall into the pirogue category.
 

Scott_C

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I've seen people paint aluminum & composite canoes to look like birchbark. A couple of them used black tool handle dip like pitch where the seams would be. One even painted the inside to look like wood ribbing. Was hard to tell any difference until you were practically in it.
 

pipascus

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Everytime i get in a canoe i turn the damn thing over reaching for a...coke.. yea that's it, a coke... seriously, I'd take a 10' jon boat in a heartbeat and never look back.

I mean, if you get cut are you gonna refuse antibiotics cause they didn't exist in 1800?
I see your point, but the canoe vs jonboat is more like carrying an AR15 because I wouldn't have refused one in 1800. That is, on a historical type trek. If it's just a day in the river, then yeah, but if I'm gonna go through the trouble of doing a trek, I'd like to have a craft that at least feels like it fits in.
But again, I see your point. A solution could be adding a pontoon type thing to help prevent a rollover, or lashing two canoes together.
 

Coot

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Great input! Thanks!

I will do some more reasearch and maybe just get a fiberglass canoe in green, or make a french bateau from plywood.
When considering plywood, very few vendors carry marine grade plywood - which uses better glue and has no interior (inside ply layers) voids. A boat built with lumberyard grade ply will be just as labor intensive to build but will have structural and rot issues that can be avoided with marine grade wood. The 13' cat boat that I built in 1971 is still sound but I remember having to drive over 150 miles to get the marine plywood (also cleaning out the local hardware of brass screws multiple times! Today I would just order the 1000 screws on line).

Painting a fiberglass canoe makes a lot of sense to me - cheaper & easier than a build (& avoids the giveaway "bong" noise of aluminum. A used canoe is not expensive & if scraped up a bit, you can knock the price down a bit & just paint over the scrapes.
 

Many Klatch

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Some buddies got hold of a large Cottonwood tree trunk and build a dugout canoe using traditional tools and processes last year. They did a trek down the Wabash river on it two weeks ago. it's the journey not the trip.
 

Essayons!

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It would be a shame to pass on a trek just because of your float, but I understand your mind. Locally (upstate NY where water is everywhere) I have seen cedar strip canoes (clear epoxy finish and glass, but is wood, looks like wood) for sale 1500.oo or so...Or you could take a relatively inexpensive aluminum and clean it up, prime and paint it a more natural green just so it looks less shiny. You can also find glass or Royalex canoes used relatively inexpensively.
I agree. Don't pass up a chance to do a river trek because you don't have a period canoe. Work up to it, like everyone has to do with everything else. There's a lot to learn about canoeing treks, and not knowing your level of canoeing abilities, I'd use the opportunity to learn all the other aspects without having to learn how to canoe in a birchbark canoe..
 

Treestalker

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Unfortunately, the the lack of materials today makes most traditional boats unaffordable. The type of boat depends a lot on where you were and what local material was available. In the far north natives used skin boats, in the northern U.S. they used bark canoes, the plains Indians used bull boats covered with buffalo hides. the far south used dugout canoes.
Colonists used traditional European sailing designs.
Building most of these boats today is an endeavor beyond the reach of most of us.

My advice is to focus on the trek and not the boat. I'd choose a reliable cheap aluminum canoe and just tell myself it's birch bark. I want a safe trip and will still have to have all the necessary safety gear as required by law anyway.
I love aluminum canoes, except they make a hell of a racket when banged even slightly with a paddle. If you could dampen the sound with something like pickup truck bed liner sprayed on the inside, and painting up and perhaps adding some kind of material (fiberglass?) to the bow and stern to give it more of a historical look, it would go a long way to being easier to live with. Fiberglass canoes might even be easier to modify, and are quieter but also harder to paddle in my limited experience. But by all means keep on trekking, it will be fun and all the other canoe buffs will ask 'what the %$#% is that? LOL!
 

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