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oldbuffpilot

Well-Known Member
May 13, 2014
374
10
77
Central Kansas and Central Texas
Hmmm... So I seem to be going down the rabbit hole....

On my way to pick up my 4mm okoume from the freight terminal I stopped to pick up some 2x4s to stiffen the load on my roof rack, While there I saw a nice piece of cedar that should make some nice rails with a bit of scarfing. It is really pretty with vertical and straight grain. The thing is that it got me thinking.... Why not re do the frames in cedar too and save a bit more weight.

Then if that, why not do something about the stems? I already made a pair that weigh 12 ounces each, but I can probably give them to someone who doesn't want to make their own or doesn't have a table saw. It may be an odd choice, but I have a piece of Paulownia that is big enough. It is crazy light (it almost feels like picking up balsa wood), very strong for it's weight. and reportedly rot resistant. Barring that I could laminate some of the cedar if I have enough left (or use some less select stuff if I have some in the scrap pile, or buy some more). I figure it might require a bit of extra glass, or dynel, or a metal strip to protect the stem if made of softer wood.

So am I going overboard or is this all a good idea? Someone talk me down if I need it :)
About the metal wear strip..... you might think about using pvc pipe or sheet of kydex to heat form a stem "keel guard".
Works good.
 

oldbuffpilot

Well-Known Member
May 13, 2014
374
10
77
Central Kansas and Central Texas
To make a light boat EVERY component needs to be scrutinized. Here's what I do. Can this piece be made half as long/wide/thick and still do the job? If not, how much can I get away with? Nails or screws every 3" or every 8"? Rails..... 3/4" x 1 1/2" or 5/8" x 1 1/8" ? Paint or varnish......1 coat or 8 coats? Breasthooks or decks......18" or 6" long? Wood variety ........balsa or oak? Side height....... 12" for safety or 9 1/2" for less weight but more care in paddling. Pine ply weighs 7/8ths of a pound per square foot. Boat length..... the difference in a 16' boat and a 15' boat is basically one foot out of the center of the boat. The ends pretty much stay the same. That one foot is made up the most per foot of wood, glue, and paint....probably 6-8 lbs right their.

No easy answers to any of these questions. You make an educated guess on this boat and you get better the more boats you build. Experience comes at a cost.
Good solid advice, I followed Joey's advice and ended up with a good usable 8' 6" pirogue.
 

beekeeper

Well-Known Member
Mar 4, 2009
1,632
30
Interesting how much value/effort/attention is placed on the weight of the boat. Many other features can be compromised if light weight becomes the priority. Only the builder/user can choose.
For me weight is an issue about three times, loading, launching, and unloading. Roominess, stability, durability, and ease of paddling are more important to me.
All the ideas presented will reduce the weight of your UJ pirogue. Material selection and the length of the boat will probably have the biggest effect.
 

PeteStaehling

Well-Known Member
Aug 23, 2020
72
0
69
Interesting how much value/effort/attention is placed on the weight of the boat. Many other features can be compromised if light weight becomes the priority. Only the builder/user can choose.
As I get older it becomes more important every year. I do agree that it doesn't over ride all other factors. That said my canoe is pretty heavy and I really do not mind all that much, but it sure would be nice to have a boat that is really easy to throw on a tall vehicle or to carry longer distances. A boat that a non superhuman 70 year old can comfortably carry a half mile into the woods with a paddle and a fly rod would be a real joy.

I'd be likely to pass on some opportunities like that with my canoe these days unless maybe it was wheeled in. Heck I probably get to the local lake where I can park 100 yards from the water less often due to the need to load and unload a not really all that heavy canoe. Back in the day, loading. unloading, and carrying a 17' aluminum Grumman didn't phase me at all. Carrying boats long distances was no big deal regardless of the weight. Sadly those days are long gone.
 

Kayak Jack

Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2003
13,714
113
83
Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
About 35-40 years agp, my Old Town Royalex canoe weighed 64 pounds. I loaded and unloaded it up onto a tall minivan.

When I decided to start doing some kayaking, I searched the buyer’s issue of the “Canoe And Kayaking” magazine. They catalogued the physical specs and price of boats and gear for sale in the U.S. I quickly found out that kayak weights spread from 80 some pounds down to 40. More looking showed that there would be three ways to get a 40 pounder.
1. Spend $3,000-$5,000 to buy one
2. Steal one
3. Spend $800 and build one

That’s part of the story of how Southern Paddler hot started.
 

beekeeper

Well-Known Member
Mar 4, 2009
1,632
30
For the record I like "lite". Just trying to say every thing about boat building is a compromise. Only the builder/user can know what is right for them. If our usage varies very much we might be served better by two or more different designs. No one design can work best in every situation.
Back to topic. Unless you need rub protection consider placing the rail on the inside. The widest side should be parallel to the floor and attached to the top of the side ribs. Also pay attention to grain direction when you make and install the rail. The harder to bend the rail the more stiffness it will add.
 

jdupre'

Well-Known Member
Sep 9, 2007
2,161
12
South Louisiana
I'd like to see a study sometime on the correlation between canoe/kayak/pirogue frequency of use and weight. I would bet that at , say, 60 pounds or so, use drops off steadily. At 80 pounds I'd bet the graph drops like a rock. Of course, younger folks would have a different graph. My buddy with the 105lb pirogue hasn't used his in months.
 

Kayak Jack

Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2003
13,714
113
83
Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
I hadn’t thought of that, Joey, and I think you have a good point. If it’s unpleasant - or even punishing - to use a piece of gear, we’re going to avoid it.

When we’re standing alongside a piece of our gear, we should be smiling, and have pleasant memories tumbling out of our mind. And a bit starry eyed with dreams of future exploits. Using our gear, particularly something that we made ourselves, should bring
pleasure.
 

beekeeper

Well-Known Member
Mar 4, 2009
1,632
30
I'd like to see a study sometime on the correlation between canoe/kayak/pirogue frequency of use and weight. I would bet that at , say, 60 pounds or so, use drops off steadily. At 80 pounds I'd bet the graph drops like a rock. Of course, younger folks would have a different graph. My buddy with the 105lb pirogue hasn't used his in months.
I agree with your assessment about the weight vs usage. I also wonder about how many "ultra light" designs that aren't being used because they are an unsuitable design or have failed when used in the real world. Most of my boats are heavier than I would like but I have not wanted to spend the money for better materials nor have I desired to do the kind of work needed to build lighter.
What would you think the average number of trips a wooden boat builder paddles per year ?
 

jdupre'

Well-Known Member
Sep 9, 2007
2,161
12
South Louisiana
I'm ashamed to say that I've descended to less than a handful of days a year. Years back my average was much higher........possibly 20-25 trips a year.
 

PeteStaehling

Well-Known Member
Aug 23, 2020
72
0
69
I wonder whether any average is at all meaningful when it probably represents a pretty extreme range of values, There are probably some that are nearly daily and some that approach or reach zero days per year. Also these extremes may be the same person at different points in their life.

At the peak of my paddling career I probably got out 4 or 5 times per week 6 months of the year and a couple times per week 3 month of the year and was frozen in maybe 3 months of the year. That was when I was working, had a long commute, and family responsibilities. I wasn't building boats at that time though.

After that, I got into other things and I went a couple decades without paddling at all.

Not sure how much I will get out in my pirogue once it is built, but I hope it will be more than I have been getting out in the canoe. I have been getting out less than I had hoped, but have still gotten out at least once a month and usually more for the short time I have had the canoe. I figure if I find out where to fish here, get the wife more interested in going more, and start fishing again I will get out a lot more. Personally I will consider it a failure if I don't get out once a month or more.

All that said, here in Tallahassee, it seems that everyone has a boat of some sort and 99% of them look like they NEVER see water other than the rain water pooling in them.
 

Kayak Jack

Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2003
13,714
113
83
Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
Pete, you echo an old Air Force adage, “averages are made up of extremes”.

If we truly gathered the info, and laid it out in mean (average of all reports), median (average of the extreme least and extreme most reported), and mode (most often reported number) it would give each paddler an idea about where his activity laid on the spectrum.

It probably would be more for entertainment value than anything else. It wouldn’t change any behavior, though. Most of us on here are older, and getting set in our ways. I’m pleased to see the various kinds of activity we do have!