Canoes are, without a doubt, the best boats to take out for a camping trip. They’re spectacular for a leisurely cruise along your local park or river. However, the trips become more rewarding and serene if you built your canoe with your own hands.

It isn’t easy, but a lot of enthusiasts often build their canoe themselves. It’s an enriching and exciting experience to see your work take its first maiden voyage. However, that doesn’t mean building one is easy. On the contrary, it’s reasonable difficult.

That’s why many beginners and seasoned experts want to know the best way to build these magnificent boats to make better use of time and effort. Nevertheless, the answer isn’t simple.

There is No One Best Way

The term “Best way” is highly subjective. It heavily depends on the kind of trips you want to go to, the kind of effort you want to put on or your aesthetic values. The order in which you prioritize these preferences is paramount to which method you’ll find the best.

This is why enthusiasts have debated for so long without coming to a consensus. As such, we can’t sit here and recommend a single method. Instead, we’ll introduce you to three separate and highly popular methods that contend with each other for the best way to build a wooden canoe.

Each of these styles will cover a criterion that might make it the best method for you. So, give them a read and decide which one would be the most favourable for you.

Cedar Strip Canoe

This may be the most popular method of building these boats out there. A lot of enthusiasts like to build. Sure, the building takes a lot of time and effort, but once you’re done, you get an overwhelming sense of accomplishment. This rings true for the Cedar Strip method.

These canoes use cedar as most of its material. What sets it apart from all the other types is just how beautiful they look once you’re done. This is because cedar strips open doors to a lot of customization. You’ll get a big window to customize your canoe the way you want. The results will vary based on how much work and effort you put into it.

This style easily lets you express yourself with your boat. Not to mention cedar is superb material for any boat. However, this method is not for everyone. We highly recommend this style to those who want to take their time while they build their canoe.

It’s meant for people who want to customize more. Obtaining a ridable boat as soon as possible isn’t their priority. They have to enjoy the long building process to appreciate this method truly.

So, if you enjoy the whole building process and appreciate the work that’s put into making the canoe, then this method is for you. Get your plans and necessary cedar materials and start building. It will be a while before you’re done, but you’ll love every second of building it.

Stitch and Glue

Renting Canoes aren’t cheap. Building one usually isn’t cheap either. If you’re not all too interested in building them either and just want to get one done so you can begin canoeing, then the stitch and glue method is for you.

This is a very fast, easy and cheap way to make a canoe. The process consists of using glue, Epoxy, and Fiberglass to attach plywood to make your canoe. Plywood is reasonably cheaper compared to a material like cedar. They’re also easy to bend and shape the way you want it too.

Moreover, the method takes full advantage of the material and gets you a fully functional canoe in practically no time at all. This is highly recommended for people who are new to canoeing and want to try to build one of their own. It’s an easy method to get into and can eventually help you learn how to build more intricate boats at the same time.

The process also saves you time if all you want is to simply build a boat to take canoeing as soon as possible. All in all, if all of these characteristics appeal to you, then the stitch and glue method is the best for you.

Hollowed Out Log

There are a lot of other methods we could talk about, but the Hollowed log is a classic and good place holder for the others. It’s representative of all the other methods that appeal to the builder’s sense of aesthetic values. In this sense, it’s their values for a traditional design.

The hollowed log is a tried and true method of building a canoe. It’s as old as people can remember. It also grants that sense of connection to culture and heritage that no other method can boast. However, it may not be ideal for those who want to express their creativity or build fast.

This is because the hollowed log is both simple in its design yet time-consuming to make. It’ll take you a while before you’re finished, but once you do, you can feel at one with an age-old tradition.

This style is only suitable if it fits your preferences. Otherwise, it’s not a good idea to try out. That’s why it’s a representative of several methods that take your personal preferences to account. For those it fits, it’s the best method. For others, it is not.


At the end of the day, the best way to build a canoe is subjective. It depends on what you want and what you get from the results. If you choose a style based on those preferences, you can never go wrong. For us, Cedar Strip is the best since we adore the aesthetics of the resulting canoe. That might be different for you, and that’s okay.

So, if you’re going to get into building canoes, then pick the method that fits you the most. Happy canoeing!