How to Build a Plywood Canoe in Steps

We're an affiliate. "We hope you love the products we recommend! Just so you know, when you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you.. Thank you if you use our links, we really appreciate it!"

There are so many different types of canoes made from different materials. All you have to do is decide which canoe will best suit your needs such as the best canoe for family or best canoe for duck hunting and deer hunting. But then, what if you want to make your own canoe from scratch? What are the materials you will need and how will you proceed?

Best Canoe for Hunting and Fishing

Below is a detailed step by step explanation on how to build a plywood canoe from scratch.

Step 1: Get the required materials

The trickiest part when building your own canoe is selecting the best materials that will ensure your canoe is not only stable but also durable. You will thus be required to get marine plywood.

This is known to be the best plywood to use for building canoes. You will also need some nails, hammer, drill and anything else that you have in mind such as a cutting saw.

Step 2: Sketch the design of the canoe you want to build

This is so far one of the best ways to ensure that you don’t make a mistake on the design along the way. Try and sketch the type of canoe you want to build. If possible, create a cardboard model of the same.

This step will give you a complete insight into how you should proceed. You will also be aware that coming up with the model will enable you to note areas where you are likely to face some problems and how to avoid them.

Step 3: Build the sides

Once you have every material assembled, take the plywood, and build the sides of the canoe. Take one half of the plywood and stack it on top of another, join them with the most suitable join method.

This will be used to make one side of the canoe. The other side should be done the same. After coming up with a much stronger plywood, go ahead and put them together then cut out exactly how you want the side of the plywood to be.

The sides should be at least 8feet long and about 2 feet tall. Join the ends of the sides by using either duct tape or by stitching. You should now be having two sides of the canoe with a hollow middle.

Step 4: Come up with the bottom of the canoe

The bottom of the canoe is also critical. So make sure you join two plywood to get a much stable base before cutting it to size. Ensure that the base is as long as the sides with pointed ends.

To come up with just the right base, you will need to place the hollow sides of your canoe on top of the bottom plywood. You should then mark the edges at the bottom on the plywood with a pencil.

When you lift the sides, you will have a neat path on how to cut the bottom. Make sure you don’t deviate from the marks.

Step 5: Join the sides of the canoe to the bottom plywood

Once you have to come up with the sides and the bottom of the canoe, all you’ve to do is join them together to complete your canoe. This should, however, be done well without making any mistakes.

Gently place the base plywood on top of the upside down sides of the canoe. You should then use duct tape to firmly join the edges. Ensure that you apply the tape repetitively so as to end up with a firm canoe that won’t collapse as soon as it is placed on water.

By the time you are done, you should have a hollow canoe that is not only beautiful but strong.

Step 6: Add two gunwales

To make your canoe very stable, you will need to add gunwales. These are usually strips of curved wood that are placed near the end and the back of the canoe to make it more firm and also give you some place to anchor while paddling.

The positioning should be strategic and very ideal. They should not be too far apart, and they should also not be too near from each other.

Step 7: Sand and then paint

Sanding and painting your plywood canoe is the best way to achieve a great finish that makes it more usable. You are however advised not to use water paint. You should make the best selection, most people go for spray paints, but you can also use oil paint with a brush.

Don’t sand the places where you have duct tape but rather just around the areas. This step involves making your canoe much more appealing instead of walking it to the nearest water body with the natural plywood color and duct tape showing everywhere.

Things to avoid

Once you have your plywood canoe ready, there are things that you should avoid if at all you want it to last longer.

First, don’t use it until the paint is completely dry. Not only will the paint wash off if the canoe is placed on water before drying, but it will end up smearing on your clothes and hands, thus leaving a mess. This means that you should give your canoe enough time to completely dry up before taking it anywhere close to water.

You should also make sure that you only use it on calm waters. The canoe is not built for harsh waters. Strong currents can be very destructive. They can even end up collapsing the canoe, which may turn out to be very dangerous.

Make sure that you only paddle it on quiet waters where you don’t expect to hit huge rocks, and the flow is steady. You should also make sure that it only carries a single person; the canoe is not strong enough to accommodate more than one person.

It is evident that you can come up with a very effective canoe by using plywood. The above steps are detailed enough and will help you to build a stable canoe that you can use on calm waters.

To make the canoe even more appealing, you can always paint it the color you like and even add some few decorations to enhance its look much further.