Building a Cedar-Strip Canoe, the Details: Lofting the Plans

Updated on January 29, 2017
jimmar profile image

Jim is a retired software/electrical engineer who enjoys the outdoors. He likes to challenge himself with creative projects at home.

This is the first of a new series of articles documenting the details (as diligently as I can) of building my next cedar strip canoe. I cannot guarantee new information will flow onto these pages very quickly but as I proceed I will add new articles. The descriptions will be my own words and experiences (and mistakes) as I proceed with the build.

If you plan to build a canoe I would advise purchasing a book. It will contain much more information than I intend to provide here.

I decided to build another canoe of a different, more modern design. I chose the Freedom, which is a non-traditional shape with an efficient asymmetric hull. This means the hull has a sharper taper from the center toward the bow than it does from the center towards the stern. The slimmer forward profile helps increase speed while the wider aft section helps improve tracking. So goes the theory. My goal is build this canoe somewhat lighter than my last, although I still want it to be rugged enough for canoe camping and wilderness trips. I am thinking 55 lbs is a good target.

Choosing a Design

So the first step was to choose a design, which I have done. I selected it from the various designs provided in Canoe Craft, though I will shorten it by about a foot.

The next step is to transfer the numbers in the tables onto paper so that the shape of the hull can be traced onto plywood for the forms. This process is called "lofting."


I will describe what I did, but another description is available at the link below. On a large sheet of paper layout a grid of 2 inch X 2 inch squares. About 18 horizontal and 10 vertical. Mark a baseline and a centerline. The horizontal lines are water lines (WL) and the vertical lines are buttress (butt). Since the hull is symmetrical side to side only one half of the hull needs to be plotted to define it's shape. Once the first half of the hull is traced for a particular station, the outline plan for that station can be flipped about the vertical center line to trace the other half. Station lines tend to get crowded together near the center of the hull bottom so it would be a good idea to draw half of the stations on the right of the center line and the other half on the left. Or use more than one sheet of paper.

An example of a plot for station 8 is shown above. Measure from the center line along each horizontal water line for the "WL" values in the offset tables, then make a mark. Measure each vertical buttress line for the "butt" values in the offset tables, then make a mark. For the sheer draw a horizontal line at the distance from the baseline given in the table of heights. Then use the distance given in the table of half-breadths to mark the sheer along that line. The stem plots are created the same way by just using the WL gridlines.

Creating Templates

My plan for the next step is to trace the half hulls on poster board to create templates for transferring the hull outlines to the particle board which will be used for the station molds. At the bottom of each station there needs to be a portion that will hold the station moulds above the strongback and which will allow the stations to be attached to the station blocks on the strongback. I plan to use about a 4-inch extension on each mold.

Shown is the strongback from my last project. It has the station blocks attached.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • jimmar profile imageAUTHOR


      21 months ago from Michigan

      They do not need a bead and cove, but they will need a bevel so they meet flush. I believe it is called a "rolling bevel" since the angle changes along the length of the strip. I have never tried this but some say it works well. Seems complicated to me.

    • profile image


      21 months ago

      do the stripes need to be milled with a cove or can I just butt joint the full length of the stripes

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I got what you mean, regards for putting up.Woh I am delighted to find this website through google. You must pray that the way be long, full of adventures and experiences. by Constantine Peter Cavafy. ceekfecfbeed


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)