What Tools Do You Need to Build a Cedar Strip Canoe?

Building a cedar strip canoe is a rewarding and challenging experience that requires careful planning, attention to detail, and the right tools. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the essential tools you’ll need to build your own cedar strip canoe.

Tools for Building a Cedar Strip Canoe

1. Table Saw

The table saw is perhaps the most important tool you’ll need for building a cedar strip canoe. You’ll use it to rip long strips of cedar from boards, which will be used to create the hull of your canoe. A good quality table saw with a sharp blade is essential for accurate and consistent cuts.

2. Planer

A planer is another critical tool for building a cedar strip canoe. It’s used to plane down the thickness of each cedar strip, ensuring they are all uniform in size and thickness. This will help ensure that your canoe’s hull is symmetrical and strong.

3. Router

A router is an excellent tool for creating clean, smooth edges on your cedar strips. You can use it to round over the edges of each strip before you begin assembling them together. The rounded edges will not only look nicer but also help prevent any sharp edges from cutting into your skin when you’re paddling.

4. Clamps

Clamps are indispensable when building a cedar strip canoe, as they’ll hold the strips in place while you glue them together. Make sure to have plenty of clamps on hand, as you’ll need them throughout the entire building process.

5. Jigsaw or Bandsaw

While not strictly necessary, having a jigsaw or bandsaw can make cutting out complex shapes like stems and decks much easier than trying to do it by hand with a hand saw alone.

6. Orbital Sander

Once you’ve assembled your cedar strips into a hull, you’ll need to sand it down to a smooth finish. An orbital sander is perfect for this task, as it’ll help you achieve a consistent finish across the entire hull.

7. Drill and Bits

You’ll need a drill to create holes for attaching the gunwales, seats, and other hardware to your canoe. Make sure to have a variety of drill bits on hand so that you can create holes of different sizes as needed.


Building a cedar strip canoe requires careful planning, patience, and attention to detail. With the right tools at your disposal, however, it’s a project that’s well within reach for most DIY enthusiasts. By investing in high-quality tools like those mentioned above, you can ensure that your canoe will be both beautiful and functional for many years to come.

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Daniel Bennet