A single canoe with a complex shape can take as many as 200 hours to build. Each canoe is unique in its own way. I use different techniques and am always working out new ways to build my canoes. The wood I get to make the canoes varies in color and detail. The canoes I make can be made in similar size and using the same techniques, but the final product is truly one of a kind.
The first step is to build a form that is called the strongback. This allows you to bend the strips around the forms, gluing them to each other as you go. Depending on the complexity of the hull, some strips require using a heat gun to get the strip hot while twisting it. This can take up to 40 minutes per strip in some areas of the hull. Once the hull is built up and the ends trimmed, it must be "faired" into shape with hours of sanding.
The next step is to apply a layer of fiberglass cloth and epoxy to the exterior of the hull. An extra football shaped piece can be put on first that will double the thickness of the bottom and help protect against accidental impact damage. Three or four coats of epoxy are then required to fill the weave and provide the high gloss finish. The hull is then taken off the form so the fairing and glass can be done on the inside. Once glassed, the hull is very strong and waterproof. All the woodwork can then be done to finish up the boat. Three or four coats of marine spar varnish is applied inside and outside to provide UV protection.
Lazy River Canoes are designed for more than just the river! These solo canoes are great on rivers, ponds, or any pleasure cruising water. These little canoes are tough and can take some abuse, but in a fight against rough rocks, then can lose. If you are a whitewater enthusiast, get a plastic one. In low water conditions, I unashamedly walk mine down the side of the worst rapids on a light line. You wouldn't take your Mercedes to the demolition derby, would you? With that being said, they can be patched, should the worst happen. It is a good idea at the end of the season to turn it upside down, lightly sand the bottom, and apply a fresh coat of marine spar varnish to the bottom. The white scratch marks that look so serious in the bottom varnish will just disappear in front of your eyes. It is amazing and only takes about one and half hours.
These little solo canoes have truly added a new level of enjoyment to my life and time on the water. I love drifting, or paddling, quietly along our rivers here in Buchanan, Virginia. Take your canoe out on your lazy river and enjoy the day, silently slipping up on wildlife. There is still some nature out there, folks! Let me help you find it.
Like any canoe or kayak, there's going to be scratches caused by normal wear & tear on the river. It may be scarier to get scratches on these beauties, but have no fear! These babies are incredibly durable and are surprisingly easy to make look brand new at the end of each river season. Watch this video and learn how to quickly repair scratches on the bottom of Lazy River Wood Strip Canoes.