Canoe Alternatives

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Essayons!

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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!
Fiberglass is the worst material for a canoe IMO. Every fiberglass canoe I have ever been in has left me with glass rash.
Store fiberglass canoes out of the sun greatly extends their lifespan. They seemed heavy though, bit the really good trade off is that you can repair them out in the field.
 

Carbon 6

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Store fiberglass canoes out of the sun greatly extends their lifespan. They seemed heavy though, bit the really good trade off is that you can repair them out in the field.
I don't think any manufacturer today still makes canoes out of fiberglass. There are much better alternatives. Any canoe can be repaired in the field.
Steer clear of the plastic canoes like Coleman and pelican.

If the OP is looking to save some money he might look into renting a canoe for his trek, instead of buying one.
 

pipascus

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A good friend and I used to skip class in high school (South Florida) and go to his parents house where we'd get his step-dad's aluminum canoe and head down the canal, which was just outside the fence of their back yard. Even that was such an awesome adventure! The alligator gar were huge in a certain area and man they would freak me out!!! Then I read Mark Baker's book A Pilgrims Journey 1. The part about the canoe trek has just stuck in my imagination!
So no worries; I won't forgo a trek for the want of a period canoe!
The options are buing a canoe or maybe just making a plywood one from plans; but it seems like by the time I am done, the time, cost, and effort to build one won't really outweigh buying one. I have yet to see though! I certainly have the space in my classroom, which used to be a woodshop and still has the stand up saw, bandsaw, table saw, and a lathe (that isn't working). Could be a winter project on the side now that winter is almost here.
 

troy2000

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Buy 10 Wooden Boats You Can Build from woodenboatstore.com, for $24.95. It has a reprint of an article for building a Caddo Lake Bateau, from way back when. It's a 16' flat bottomed canoe, with 1x12 sides wrapped around three boards in the center that flare out from bottom to top. The flare twists the 1x12's into forming a fore and aft rocker, and form a bait well and fish well. If you aren't going to use it for fishing, you can cut that down to one board...

It's double ended, with a stem at either end. In the article, the old boy building one finished it in two days using hand tools. I built one for myself years ago in my living room, in a few days after work, and used heck out of it (I was single at the time, so there was no one to complain about the sawdust and wood shavings in the carpet). The original plans called for a solid board bottom, but 1/4" plywood works fine.

Here's a link to a build thread for a flat bottomed canoe I designed (i.e., made up as we went along, based on experience), built as a father/son project before my younger one went into the army back in 2009. It's based on the Caddo Lake Bateau, but fancied up a bit. We gave it a stern instead of making it double ended, and instead of wrapping the sides around bait and fish wells we added frames. We also installed compartments fore and aft, for flotation and storage. But you don't have to get that fancy...

 
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Greg Blackburn

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I bought a pretty aluminum 12 foot rowboat out of a recycling center for $62.50. Plan to name it after my mail order bride!
 
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I could knock up a plywood or dimensional lumber pirogue in an afternoon. It doesn't take much effort really, once you know how it's done. Both pirogues and punts are HC. A flatboat can be made from cheap materials, used for awhile and then discarded, and you'd be better off for the experience
 

Snapper Petta

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For years there was a non-public event generally called "the lake" that took place on Lake George the week of Columbus Day. Only one guy I ever knew had a birchbark canoe. The rest of us? We had an armada of canoes painted to look like bark. My partner and I paddled a Mad River "Explorer" she painted and it was difficult to tell it wasn't a bark canoe until you got within 20' or so; certainly good enough for our needs. Even the guys with aluminum canoes were able to apply decent paint jobs to their canoes. Again, until you got close to us, or someone dropped something in the boat and the sound shot out across the water, it was difficult to tell. Bottom line, my guess is if you spent some time with a paint brush and appropriate color pallet, you'd be able to create your own " bark" canoe.

That's all for now. Take care and until next time...be well.

snapper
 

Carbon 6

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Buy 10 Wooden Boats You Can Build from woodenboatstore.com, for $24.95. It has a reprint of an article for building a Caddo Lake Bateau, from way back when. It's a 16' flat bottomed canoe, with 1x12 sides wrapped around three boards in the center that flare out from bottom to top. The flare twists the 1x12's into forming a fore and aft rocker, and form a bait well and fish well. If you aren't going to use it for fishing, you can cut that down to one board...

It's double ended, with a stem at either end. In the article, the old boy building one finished it in two days using hand tools. I built one for myself years ago in my living room, in a few days after work, and used heck out of it (I was single at the time, so there was no one to complain about the sawdust and wood shavings in the carpet). The original plans called for a solid board bottom, but 1/4" plywood works fine.

Here's a link to a build thread for a flat bottomed canoe I designed (i.e., made up as we went along, based on experience), built as a father/son project before my younger one went into the army back in 2009. It's based on the Caddo Lake Bateau, but fancied up a bit. We gave it a stern instead of making it double ended, and instead of wrapping the sides around bait and fish wells we added frames. We also installed compartments fore and aft, for flotation and storage. But you don't have to get that fancy...



 

Carbon 6

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I bought a pretty aluminum 12 foot rowboat out of a recycling center for $62.50. Plan to name it after my mail order bride!
I bought a 12 foot Jon boat out of a junkyard once and used it for ten years, I had lot's of fun using it as both a canoe and as a motor boat with a tiny Elgin motor,
 

appalichian hunter

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I had the chance years ago to buy a cedar and canvas canoe. A friend and I were trout fishing a local lake in my aluminum canoe back at the launch site there was a older fellow also fishing we got to talking about canoes and he offered his for sale really good price, said he was about to give up fishing. Kick myself every time I think about that.
 

Morgan Gray

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I got a cheap, almost free, old fiberglass canoe, tidied up the glass, and painted. Simple, low resource alternative. As suggested earlier in the thread, you can paint to achieve a birch bark look and it will be very satisfactory.
 

Greg Blackburn

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I bought a 12 foot Jon boat out of a junkyard once and used it for ten years, I had lot's of fun using it as both a canoe and as a motor boat with a tiny Elgin motor,
Did you get a title with it? I got a Bill of Sale but to put engine on it in my state, a title is needed. I bought it as a rowboat only, for "exercise variation," but it might be neat to put an engine onto it.
 
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