Strip Planking?

I'm getting ready to build a Wood Duck 12 Hybrid from scratch and have a couple questions about strip planking.  I have a saw mill so I have lots of wood to make strips from.   

1.  Any reason I couldn't make strips from Sassafras, Walnut, Cherry?  I realize these are heavier than Cedar but it shouldn't be much of a difference.  Sassafras is very light but probably not as strong as Cedar.

2.  Do those of you that make your own strips go to the trouble of putting a bead/cove on them?  I saw a video here that shows them being edge glued after a little beveling with a block plane.  Seems to me that the bead/cove method could be more of a pain than it's worth.

3.  I'm considering building two boats at the same time.  Any advice there?

12 replies:

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RE: Strip Planking?

The weight difference between hardwood and softwood can add up quickly. The hardwood is also much trickier to fit at the tapered ends. I suggest using it for only a few feature strips.

The Wood Duck deck is relatively flat so ought to be easy to bevel edges rather than bead and cove.

Building two boats at a time is a very efficient way to work. Many of the tasks involve an hour or less of work followed by a few hours of waiting for glue or resin to cure before you move on to the next task.


RE: Strip Planking?

I'm building mine from scratch also. First, the cedar is a lot easier to run through the table saw to rip the strips. It's also cheaper so if you break a couple it's no big deal. The bead and cove it no big deal either. I routed all mine in an afternoon. If you have a good router table you can set the bits up in no time and only use half a test strip to get it just right. This is my first bead and cove and I'm now a believer. Plus most strip plankers on bigger boats will all use bead and cove. Getting the right bevel on 1/4 can be tough. The Haven 12 1/2 I did was hard enough with 1/2 in. planking.

 I used pine for the first 2 strips (shear strips) and they were a pain to bend onto the hull. I used a heat gun and it was still harder then I thought it should be. The cedar is much easier to bend if you are doing a pattern that calls for it. Most I think do straight strips but a few will follow the shear instead of the centerline. Walnut and cherry would rather break then bend.

Unless you are very, very good at glassing and epoxying, you'll be adding a lot of weight you didn't plan on when doing those task. So you'll want to save as much weight as possible where you can in other areas and using cedar will do that.  Being top heavy might be a concern for the technical purists out there.

With that being said, walnut, cherry and sass would look quite nice!


RE: Strip Planking?

Thanks guys,

Really good feedback.  I think I'll make the majority sassafras and do some cherry and walnut accents.  I have some nice VG fir that would look good too.  I've worked with cedar and sassafras quite a bit and sassafras behaves more like cedar than the other hardwoods.  What are your thoughts on following the shear strips for all the planking and doing a herringbone down the middle?

When you use a bead/cove, do you ever have issues when sanding?  Seems to me that sanding will cause the seam to migrate and make it look funny.  Does that make sense?

Tom, can you recommend a bead/cove router bit set?  I have a shaper that can take 1/2 or 1/4 inch bits.


RE: Strip Planking?

Planking parallel to the shear shouldn't be a problem but the herringbone might be, as the strips will meet at a fairly shallow angle.

Newfound sells bits, both separate and stacked.


RE: Strip Planking?

I also built a Wood Duck 12 hybrid from scratch. I used cedar for the most part but I did use purple heart for the contrast color.  Purple heart is very heavy and does not like to bend like cedar does.  The cedar sands much faster then hardwood, so it's not easy to get a smooth transition where the cedar and hardwood come together.  Even with the hardwood, my kayak finished at 38 lbs.

Now I am building two kayaks at the same time. A Guillemot and a Petrel. Wes said it all.  While one has glue drying, you can work on the other. It makes your building time much more productive.


RE: Strip Planking?

Holy Crap Lou!  I checked out your blog and it's almost scary!  I'm going to have to talk to my parents about my long lost brother.

 Me:  Retired Naval Flight Officer.  Love flying both real and RC airplanes.  Like building them even more than flying them.  Have had at least 2 motorcycles in my garage since I was 12.  On road and offroad.  I build custom furniture, cabinets, boats, and for past 3 years, I have been building my retirement home in SW Michigan.  The only thing I didn't do was poor the slab.  Most people look at what I do and think I'm loony but I love to build things myself.  Even if it costs more to do it myself, that's the way I want to do it.  We need to get together sometime to paddle, fly, ride, figure out how we were seperated at birth, etc....

By the way, I'm selling of some of my prized giant scale RC airplane kits to fund this kayak thing.  Interested?


Woody was my Navy call sign.  I flew the S3B Viking.

Looking forward to meeting you.


RE: Strip Planking?

This is scary alright.  I'm a retired East Coast E-2C guy!

I bought Whiteside 1/2 in. router bits. I forget which ones they actually are but they're not called bead and cove. I think it was 'canoe joinery' or flute and bead or something like that. I waited for them to go on sale at Woodcraft.  Keeping the strip tight to the fence with feather boards both top and side worked for me.

When gluing, make sure to keep the pieces tightly together because you may sand through and you'll have voids in the seam. The epoxy will fill it in but it riuns the appearance.

RE: Strip Planking?

For most of us bead and cove is the way to go.  On Nick Schades videos he uses square edge, but he is a professional boat builder.  He is very very good with a plane.  Notice that he never sets his plane down, it always goes in the pocket of his apron. What he makes look very easy in his videos takes years of practice.

RE: Strip Planking?


Parking brake on the cat?

RE: Strip Planking?

I just finished a MC 13 with a stripped deck (hybred).  Made my own strips out of Douglas Fir, walnut and Mahogany.  If you have the wood make you own strips.  I don't think weight is an issue, use any wood you like.  I would cove and bead all the strips,as I think is go's together better and it is no problem on doing your own cove and bead.  I have noticed  some builders don't send their strips through a thinkness planer.  I would and I did.  I makes for a lot less sanding.  2 boats at once, great idea.  Its just as easy to make 2 as it  to make 1.    Have fun with it.



RE: Strip Planking?

I've never been asked that!  No, it's from my last name. But we did have a fellow pilot by the name of Boom, Boom. Left skid marks down the bow.

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