How To Build A Canoe

Learning How To Build A Canoe is easier than most people think. With serious dedication, you can learn How To Build A Canoe in a day. With proper planning you can get one built in a weekend.

Items needed to build a canoe:

  • Plywood
  • Pine slats (two sheets)
  • Marine epoxy
  • Varnish/marine paint
  • Paint brush
  • Sandpaper
  • Tarp
  • Drill
  • Saw
  • Zip ties
  • Wire cutters (optional for cutting zip ties)
  1. Set down on paper exactly what you want your canoe to look like when you are done. Be specific. List any additional supplies you may need to complete your project such as decals or stickers.
  2. Purchase all of the materials listed in step one. This will keep trips to the lumberyard to a minimum.
  3. Cut one of the sheets of plywood in half lengthways.
  4. Stack the two cut pieces of wood on top of each other and drill four to five holes at both short ends. You may require help to complete the next step.
  5. Stand both sides of the canoe up. One of you will have to hold the sides up while the other person “Laces” the holes with the zip ties from the inside of the canoe. The knot of the zip tie needs to be on the inside of the canoe.
  6. Place a support in the center of the canoe to hold the sides in place. This will add stability to the craft. If desired, the slat can be placed in such a way as to provide a seat. Two seats can be used if your plan calls for two.
  7. Place your project on the tarp in a well ventilated area.
  8. Using marine epoxy, seal the wood where it meets on both ends. Inside and out will both need to be sealed.
  9. Place the canoe sides on top of the last piece of plywood. Mark your outline to cut out what will be the bottom of your canoe. Without moving anything you will also need to mark your drill holes along the bottom and sides of the canoe so that the “lacing” is in the correct spots.
  10. Cut the wood for the bottom and lace together as you did for the sides. Seal the seams with marine epoxy.
  11. After the epoxy has dried, you can cut the zip ties out. Sand the edges smooth for a more professional looking finish.
  12. Sand down any rough spots in the wood and apply varnish, marine paint, or whatever finish you have decided on. Allow to dry completely.
  13. You are now ready to take your canoe out on the water.



  • If you are planning on completing your project during stormy weather, it would be a good idea to work indoors. Just be sure the area is well ventilated.
  • Using latex gloves can help keep the epoxy from sticking to your hands.
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