The Prospector canoe is a time-proven canoe design intended for general purpose
river tripping -- maneuverable with a high carrying capacity. Originally designed and
built by the Chestnut Canoe Company, today several canoe manufacturers sell a version of
This canoe is 16 feet long, 35" wide with a
waterline width of 33". The bottom has a symmetrical shallow arch
shape with moderate rocker.
I am building my Prospector during the winter of
2005-2006. Click any photo below to see
a larger image.
I lofted the forms from dimensions in Ted Moores' book "Canoe Craft" 2nd ed. The form outline was transferred to 1/2"
plywood using carbon paper.
The forms were cut with a
jig saw, with the final shaping done with a belt sander. Forms
were aligned on the strongback with drywall screws.
forms were aligned on the strongback using a chalk line on the strongback
and a string on top.
sacrificial strip along the keel line and 18" water line confirmed
the spacing of the forms and fairness of the curves.
The inner stems were constructed
from laminations of 1/8" thick western red cedar up to a thickness of
1/2". I did not pre-form outer stems.
I wanted a design feature on the sides of the canoe that hinted of a
native American design. After browsing the internet for American
art, I chose a simple design of diamonds that was relatively easy to
construct in wood.
The feature stripe was sliced off
this 1.5" wide board. I constructed the feature
stripe on the strongback before attaching the forms, as I don't have a good
long work surface in my garage (other than the floor).
The dark colored wood is from a very
dark board of western red cedar. The light-colored wood is basswood.
feature stripe is on the boat! Masking
tape holds the strips tightly together.
The pre-glued halves of the feature
stripe were 1" wide, which turned out to be TOO WIDE to bend easily
towards the ends of the boat. I wanted the feature stripe to mirror
the shape/rocker of the hull. Additionally, the part of the
design that needed to bend with a larger radius was noticeably off symmetry
with the other half of the feature stripe, so I had to do a little fixing
there. Lesson learned!
Closing up the bottom of the hull.
The canoe is constructed from
1/4" thick western red cedar strips left over from several kayak projects. My
cedar color choices were limited, so when changing boards, I inserted a dark
strip for definition.
outer stems were constructed by laminating Mahogany strips.
and sanding the hull exterior took a few evenings and half a Saturday.
A few of the strips I used were slightly narrower than the others, and I
paid for that sloppiness here.
sealing coat of epoxy was applied after fairing and sanding with 100 grit
then filled with a putty mixed from epoxy thickened with a mix of sanding
dust, silica dust (to improve spreadable texture) and white baking flour (to
lighten the putty so it would be closer to the wood color).
The exterior of the canoe was covered completely with one layer of 6 ounce
e-fiberglass, with the second layer covering the bottom approximately up to
the intended waterline. A third layer was added as a keel strip at
high wear area at each end.
To keep things neat and ease the task
of feathering in the second
layer of fiberglass, the part of the canoe that did not receive a second
fiberglass layer was covered with plastic kitchen wrap and masked off.
When the epoxy on the second layer of fiberglass was in the soft leathery
stage, it was trimmed off neatly at the masking tape
Filling the weave
coats and then the high spots were sanded off. Another fill coat and the only places that need any more are the edges of the keel patch
and the line where the second fiberglass layers feathers into the
first. I'll let it rest and do that tomorrow.
Seats and Thwart
While the epoxy cures, I cut and
laminated the seat frames and center thwart. The laminations consist
of a 0.3" slice of mahogany sandwiched between two 0.25" pieces of
Still waiting for the epoxy to
cure. Time to create a web page!