Building a Cedar Strip Canoe, the Details: Making the Forms

Updated on July 26, 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 second part of the more detailed description of how I built my third cedar-strip canoe, a shortened Freedom 17 design. It expands on my article "Building a Cedar Strip Canoe: The Basics."

Ranger 15 ft
Ranger 15 ft
Resolute 16.5 ft
Resolute 16.5 ft

Cutting Poster Boards

Now the plans are lofted, or you have purchased plans, and you have hull outlines on a large sheet of paper. Since the cross section of the hull is symmetrical, only half of the hull shape is needed for each form.

I cut three small windows in the plans, each about ¼” X 1/2: at the top of the vertical center line, at the end of the horizontal baseline, and at the intersection of those lines. Then I aligned the plan lines with the edge of a poster board and traced the hull outline onto the poster board using carbon paper. Take care not to allow the alignment to slip. You could use tacks or tape to hold the plan sheet to the poster board.

This results in a tracing of a half-hull cross section. I repeated this for each outline, then, using scissors, I cut the half-hull poster boards. I was hoping the poster board edges would be square.

Cutting Out the Forms

Next I purchased a 4’X8’ sheet of 5/8” particle board. I had a sheet of OSB of similar thickness laying around, so I used that also. Using a carpenter's square, I drew a straight vertical line on the sheet of particle board, far enough away from its edge for the half-hull cardboard cut-out I was about to trace. I drew a line perpendicular to the vertical line 4 inches from the edge of the plywood. The side and bottom edges of the cut-out were lined up along the horizontal and vertical lines I drew.

Then I traced the outline, flipped it, and traced the opposite side. I repeated this step until all the cut-outs were traced onto the plywood. I marked each side of the hull outline where the sheer was located. I also drew a rectangular area below each outline between the edge of the plywood and the 4-inch line. This would be the pedestal for the form, which is the area where the form is mounted to the station block. The I drew a line from an inch below each sheer point to this rectangle.

I used a jig saw to cut out the forms. I had a newer saw but the blade tended to wander around the curves so I switched to my old saw with a broken base plate. That worked much better but was slower. After each form was cut out, I smoothed the edges a bit with a sure form plane.

Mounting the Forms

Next I drew the length of the strong back table (mine already had one from before) and mounted the station blocks (1-1/2 x 1-1/2 inch 12 inch long blocks). This design was for a 17-foot canoe but I wanted mine to be about 16 ft or maybe slightly less. The design called for the forms (or stations) to be spaced every 12 inches. I spaced mine every 11 inches.

First I drew a line in the center of the table perpendicular to the long center line then repeated it from there every 11 inches towards the bow and stern. The forms should be centered over each line, so the station blocks need to be mounted one-half of the form thickness from each of those lines. The station blocks should be on the bow or stern side of the forms depending on which side of center.

I drilled clearance holes in the forms and mounted them to the station blocks, being careful to align the vertical pencil line on the form with the one on the strong back table center. A string stretched from end to end can help with alignment. The forms were attached with drywall screws.

The stem forms are mounted at each end along the center line of the strong back and butted up against the second to last form on each end. The top of each stem form should be about ¾” below the top of the form it touches to allow for attachment of the inner stem, which is a laminate of three ¼” strips. I attached some guide boards along the base of the stem forms. I cut 2-inch diameter holes in each stem form to allow the laminations to be bent around the forms and clamped once they are steamed. A long thin strip should be nailed to the top of each form to tie them together. This will be removed later but helps with stability during the stripping process.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • 4wardthinker profile image


      8 years ago from Sierra Nevada CA

      You have a work of art. Beautiful work!

    • Outbound Dan profile image

      Dan Human 

      8 years ago from Niagara Falls, NY

      Great pictures with your project! Someday I'll get around to building my own canoe. Thanks!


    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)