Cedar-Canvas Canoes

A few decades before the start of the twentieth century, woodsmen in the heart of the Maine forest region began developing and building a new type of canoe with a hull made of cedar and a waterproof sheathing of canvas. The cedar-canvas canoe is the direct descendant of the native birch bark canoe, with several improvements that made it easier to build and more durable.

A wood-canvas canoe consists of a frame of light, flexible cedar ribs running across the shape of the canoe to which thin cedar planking is attached, running along the length of the canoe. A covering of canvas cloth is stretched around the wooden hull and fastened along the sheer line. The canvas is filled with a thick, paint-like compound, which makes the boat waterproof and abrasion resistant. The result is a strong, flexible, very functional design that is also exceedingly beautiful to look at and a pleasure to use.

The interior of the canoe is covered in several coats of clear varnish, which accentuate the natural wood grain and protect the weather-resistant cedar. The outside of the canoe is coated with a tough, wear-resistant paint available in many different colors and designs. Because every canoe is made individually by hand, a high level of personal customization is possible. From extra seats or special trim pieces to custom paint jobs, a customer purchasing a hand-built wooden boat has a wider array of options than the buyer of a commercially produced synthetic canoe.

Even though this style of design is over a century old, the cedar-canvas canoe still performs as well as it did years ago, and its rich tradition of grace and beauty will continue to grow in the future.
Besides the obvious aesthetic advantages of a wood-canvas canoe are the often overlooked functional advantages. A cedar canoe is much quieter and smoother in the water than a synthetic canoe and the strong canvas covering and flexible wooden hull are more damage resistant than most people believe, bouncing back into shape after sustaining a hit from a rock or other obstruction, rather than becoming dented or bent out of shape. A wooden canoe is perfectly suited to its environment, and is the perfect companion for exploring a remote waterway or for a quiet evening of fishing on a favorite pond.

Available Models

The Housatonic Canoe Price:$4000.00

A large, high-capacity canoe, reminiscent of the traditional guide canoes of the Maine forest regions. This Canoe has a flat bottom and straight sides, with a low profile sheerline to minimize the affect of the wind on handling characteristics. It is capable of holding one to three or even four paddlers, remaining stable even with a large load. The Housatonic model will serve the paddler well on daylong fishing outings to extended flatwater cruising trips.

Weight: approximately 75 pounds

Depth: 12 inches

Length: 19 feet

Width: 36 inches
The Shepaug Canoe Price:$3400.00

A smaller canoe suitable for carrying one or two paddlers on a small lake, river, or pond for an afternoon of paddling. It is similar in shape to the Housatonic model, with straight sides, flat bottom, and a moderately upswept sheerline. It is small and light and can be easily handled by a smaller paddler, but can also bear two comfortably.

Weight: approximately 45 pounds

Depth: 12 inches

Length: 12 feet

Width: 32 inches
15 Foot Pleasure Canoe Price:$3600.00

A mid-size canoe intended for day use or possible overnight canoe camping. It will hold up to two paddlers and their equipment, or three paddler for day use. Currently, this model is only a blueprint, waiting for someone to take interest to turn the plans into a reality. This canoe has tumblehome sides, flat bottom, and a moderately upswept sheerline. This model should be versatile, easy to use and transport, and visually appealing.

Weight: approximately 65 pounds

Depth: 12 inches

Length: 15 feet

Width: 34 inches

Custom Options

Every canoe is handbuilt individually for the owner. Because of this, there are endless options for personal customization. The Housatonic Canoe Shop wants to help every paddler create his ideal canoe, and no design variation will be turned down without consideration. Some options include; custom paint designs, placement of seats, extra seats, special trim woodworking, half-ribs for extra support, addition of a keel, oarlocks, sailing rigs, and much more. The customer should not hesitate to ask about special customization if he desires his canoe to be truly unique and well suited to his needs.
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