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The Process

Here at McGlynn Canoe Company, our products are created with the highest quality materials and assembled with the most advanced techniques available. From ideation through execution, we are proud of everything we produce here. We’re sure you’ll be satisfied with our products just like all of our past customers. Check out our selection below.

Process: Products
Vermont sawmill

Step one:  Selecting the lumber

Selecting the correct grain pattern and sizes of lumber ensure the highest quality planking and ribs with the least amount of waste possible.

Every type of wood has its strengths and weaknesses, so we keep that in mind while selecting species for the various elements of our canoes.  The ribs and planking are made of Atlantic white cedar because it is flexible, lightweight and highly rot-resistant.  Ash is used for stems and outwales since it is a hardwood and can take a beating.  Cherry is used for the decks since it is strong and offers a deeper, more complex grain pattern.  Inwales are made of Sitka spruce because it is light, flexible and fares well in a marine environment. 

Mahogany, a classic high-end boat building wood, can also be used for decks and outwales, upon request.

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Step two:  Milling the lumber

The rough lumber is milled down to dimension for the ribs, planking, inwales, outwales and stems.

After milling the cedar, each plank is carefully chosen for a tight and consistent grain pattern.  Matching the planks adds symmetry and ensures the most stable pieces are used where they are best suited.

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Step three:  Shaping the stems

The ash stems are soaked for a week, steamed for an hour and then bent over the form, seen to the left.  They are then shaped to match the natural run of the planking.

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Step four:  Steam bending the ribs

One of the most exciting parts of the process, the ribs are steamed and bent around the form.  They are then nailed to the inwales.


Step five:  Planking

The boat really begins to take shape here when the planks are clinched with brass tacks to the ribs.  Since all planking is milled in-house, the best bookended pieces are saved to run side-by-side along the garboard.


Step six:  Canvassing

With the planking finished and faired and  the hull oiled with boiled linseed oil, it is time to stretch the treated #12 duck canvas.  This treatment helps prevent mold. 

In the upside-down method, the canvas is first stretched end to end.  It is then tacked along the gunwales working from the middle to the ends. 


Step seven:  Canvas filler

Once the canoe is canvassed, the filler (a mixture of turpentine, varnish, silica, japan drier and many other materials) is rubbed in to the weave of the fabric.  This slurry hardens over a month to create a slate-like hardness.


Step eight:  Paint

Once the filler is cured and the outwales added using flat head, slotted silicone bronze wood screws, multiple layers of paint are applied.  Sanding between coats allows for a fine finish without the weight of multiple thick coats.

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Step nine:  Varnish

After the paint has hardened, the high gloss marine spar varnish is applied.  The first thinned coat penetrates deep into the grain of the cedar, and subsequent coats add protection and shine.


Step ten:  Seats

Next, the seats are finished and added.  They are generally built from ash, as it is an aesthetically pleasing hardwood.  Cherry or other woods can be used as well.  The bow seat is traditionally lower than the stern, since guides needed visibility over clients when navigating swift water.

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Final steps

The finishing touches, the copper nose and the brass painters ring, are added. The canoe is properly ready!

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Front view.jpeg
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Quarter view.jpeg
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