• Bear Mountain Redbird Canoe 2019-2021


    After eight kayaks, it's time for a change. I'm building a redbird Canoe, hopefully ready for a solo back country trip in Kejimkujic National Park this year.

    There's a great video series by Nick Offerman to accompany the book and plans.

    I've started in January 2019, and have the forms cut and recently picked up the cedar planks. I'm waiting till I get my new air filtration unit installed before I get going with milling the cedar. It's a toxic wood.






    - Transferred reference lines onto both sides of form pairs, cut stem clamp holes in stem sections.





    - I received the air filtration unit today. Got it in operation and was able to proceed milling the cedar. Toxic stuff in dust form. Full PPE, glasses, gloves, 3M respirator, tool vacuum and air filtration.

    - Got the six 12 foot 1 x 6 planed down carefully to 3/4 thickness. tomorrow, if not driving, I'll start turning this stock into 1100 feet of 1/4 x  3/4 strips.


    - How does a 175 pound 62 year old man get 65 pounds of air filtration mounted to the ceiling? Brush off those rope rescue technician skills.


    What a difference this makes. 1050 CFM capacity, more than enough for my shop. After planing for a couple hours it was like being in fresh air outside.

    planing line set up, 12 foot infeed and outfeed.


    Grain pattern will be very nice under glass and epoxy.

    Enough for today.




    Just a few hours work today. Set up jointer line to dress up rough edge on planks, then set up cut line to start on strips. Lot of finicky adjustment and arrangement to mass produce. I’m going with 3/16” strips rather than 1/4. My last two strip kayaks were done this way, and after some research I’ve seen that others in the builder community have done this with canoes as well as kayaks.


    Jointer line


    Saw blade change. This 1/8" kerf Diablo carbide is the bomb for cutting strips efficiently and with minimal waste. 

    Tons of fine, toxic dust. Max vacuum setup.

    Cut line ready to go. Mass production tomorrow.



    Cut the remaining five planks today. Four hours on the saw; not for the faint of heart or sound of mind. Got between 1200 - 1400 feet of strips, more than enough. There will be some walnut and basswood accent strips. I'll cut the exotics tomorrow hopefully, then get the strong-back set up.


    Averaging 220 feet of good material from each 12 foot 1x6

    Each strip is identified, each bundle identified. This will allow 'book marking' grain patterns side to side. There's good uniformity with this cedar, so I might not need to worry about this too much.

    PPE in addition to two vacuum units, shop and tool, a directional fan feeding fresh air, and the air scrubber on high throughput all day. All possible  precautions taken.

     "Call me Dusty darling, everybody does" (fans of Little Britain will get the reference)





    just a bit of shop time today. Working a couple airport runs for the limo company. Got the shop cleaned up from the cedar ripping operation, then did a major reorganization to make room to set up the strongback and still be able to use the tools.

     The new air scrubber is doing it’s job. This is a blue filter.



    Work and other building projects got in the way of progress on the canoe, so there was a long break on this project


    February 2020


    Inner stem bands.


    Accent strips, full length. Walnut and Basswood.



    Scarf cutting jig.

    scarf cur


    Nick Schade's robobevel. Works great.



    March 2020


    Flap Wheel makes quick work of profiling inner stem band.


    The Whiskey strip goes in.


    In order to form the outer stem band, a cutout profile of the inner stem band is added to the duplicate form.


    This Bostich stapler is the cat's hindquarters for staple removal.


    For sunken or broken staples a small pair of side cutters works great.


    Smoothing the hull.



    Smoothed and sanded, ready for glass. Fill coat of epoxy before glass.



    April 2020


    Fiberglassed the hull. One epoxy fill coat, glass then two or three coats.



    May 2020

    Working on the inside.

     This Lee Valley spoon carver was the best tool for interior cleanup and smoothing.


    Epoxy fill coat and glassed.



    May to August 2020

    I got busy with some other projects for family and friends.




    September 2020


    I decided to reinforce the area which will be bulkheads with CF.



    Gunwales. I lucked into a deal at my local mill with this ash slab. It has some cracking, so they couldn't sell it.

    Perfect for my uses, gunwales and paddles. Worth $300, got it for 1/3, cash.



    3/4" x 3/4" stock made for inner and outer gunwales.

    No pictures of the router table setup and cutting of the scuppers, but carefully positioned to leave material for seat and thwart hanging.

    Rough fit of inner gunwales, tools off, and this is as close as we'll get to Jamaica this year.




    October 2020


    The sweep up at the ends of the redbird is aggressive. Made a form to bend up the gunwale ends.

    Didn't go as far as steaming these, wetting for several hours and heat gun was enough.




    November 2020

     Whoever dies with the most clamps wins.





    January 2021

     On to outer gunwales and seat frames.

     The outer gunwales are profiled twice, small radius on upper edge, half inch on lower edge.

    Gunwales are stained. Minwax English Chestnut. Close match to walnut used for seats.


    Seats are walnut, no stain, just epoxy and varnish.



    February 2021

     On to bulkheads, seats, decks, thwart.

     Inspection ports are from a marine supplier, 4 1/2" opening.


    Decks are walnut and bird's eye maple.


    Seats are caned with 3mm climbing accessory cord.


    Seat hangers are stainless steel hardware.

    Carry thwart is walnut.


    All metal hanging hardware is capped by thickened tinted epoxy.


    Varnish, first two of four exterior coats.




    March 2021






     Final steps this month. Four coats of Epifanes on outside, one on inside. (out of expensive varnish). Second coat on gunwales and center thwart.


    Made a jig to hold the stem bands for drilling. first hole 1/2"in from end for keel line, then 5" spacing as per the book. 5/64" pilot hole, 

    then 1/8" hole. 1/4" bit for countersink. 5/64" pilot into stem.



     Done. Now to wait for the Canadian lakes to become less solid.


    She comes in at at just over 60 pounds. Happy with that at it being 17'6". It wasn't too many years ago I was

    carrying 60 extra pounds in my birthday suit, let alone with a boat on my back.


    Winched up out of the way till the weather improves. On to re-conditioning and re-finishing a couple paddles.