How Do You Make a Seat for a Canoe?

If you’re an avid canoeist, you know the importance of having a comfortable seat while paddling. A well-made canoe seat can make all the difference in your experience on the water. In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to make a simple, yet sturdy seat for your canoe.

Gathering Your Materials

The first step in making a canoe seat is to gather your materials. You’ll need a few items, including:

  • Wooden plank (preferably oak or maple) that is at least 1 inch thick and 12 inches wide.
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil or pen
  • Saw (circular or table)
  • Sandpaper (80 and 120 grit)
  • Stainless steel screws (2 inches long)
  • Drill with drill bits

Measuring and Cutting the Wooden Plank

Once you have all of your materials, it’s time to measure and cut your wooden plank. Start by measuring the width of your canoe’s gunwales. Make sure to measure at the widest point.

Next, mark the center of the wooden plank with a pencil or pen. Then, measure and mark half of your canoe’s gunwale width from both sides of the center mark.

Now it’s time to start cutting. Use a saw to cut out the shape of your seat from the wooden plank.

Make sure to follow your markings precisely. Cut out a rectangle that measures approximately 16 inches by 8 inches.

Sanding Your Seat

After cutting your seat out of the wooden plank, it’s time to sand it down. Begin with an 80-grit sandpaper to remove any rough edges or splinters.

Then, switch to a 120-grit sandpaper to smooth out the surface of the seat. Make sure to round off any sharp corners and create a comfortable, curved shape.

Attaching Your Seat to the Canoe

Now that your seat is sanded and shaped, it’s time to attach it to your canoe. Use a drill with a drill bit that matches the diameter of your screws to make pilot holes in your seat. Then, line up the seat with your canoe’s gunwales and use stainless steel screws (2 inches long) to secure it in place.

Make sure that your seat is securely attached before taking it out on the water. You can test your new canoe seat by taking it for a spin on calm waters before going on longer trips.


Making a seat for your canoe is a simple project that can greatly enhance your paddling experience. By following these simple steps and using quality materials, you’ll have a sturdy and comfortable seat in no time. Now get out there and enjoy the water!

Photo of author

Lindsay Collins