Epoxy or Canvas Construction?


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Up until the final hull covering is applied, all of our rib-plank boats are broadly constructed using the same traditional and time-tested methods. The choice between a canvas or wood/epoxy covering depends on how you intend to use the canoe.  For down-river use, in white water, ice or rock-filled rivers, canvas covered canoes are the better choice. Because as the canvas covering is not permanently bonded to the canoe, the hull is able to flex, thus absorbing any impacts without sustaining damage.

Canvas hull coverings, properly applied, cured, and painted, are amazingly rugged.  And while downriver canoes have many features that make them well suited for their task, such as tighter ribbing and higher bows and sterns, the traditional canvas covering is integral to their success in this role. It is also worth noting that because the canvas is not permanently bonded to the hull it can be easily removed and replaced, returning the canoe hull to it's 'brand-new' condition.  We regularly hear from customers and re-canvas their canoes that are 50, 60, or even 100 years old—having been passed down from one generation to the next.

Aside from being lighter than canvas covered boats (about 5-7 pounds on average) the single biggest reason for buying a wood/epoxy canoe is that it allows the natural beauty of the wood to be seen on both the inside and outside of the hull.  For this reason alone 80% of the boats that we sell are finished with a glass/epoxy hull covering. The glass/epoxy finish adds strength, rigidity and durability to the hull, it is ideal for flat-water conditions and will provide years and years of paddling enjoyment.


Algonquin - Canvas hull, Blue & Shellac

Close Spaced Ribs and 1/2 ribs

Canvas Atkinson Traveler, River & Wilderness Tripping canoe

Trader Wood/Epoxy Canoe