New project: Build V6

Had I known it was that easy! Goosebumps.

Submitted by haggan on Thu, 10/23/2008 - 2:29pm

That was awesome!

#1 Thu, 10/23/2008 - 2:54pm


#2 Thu, 10/23/2008 - 3:27pm

That's how canoes should be built. So cool.

#3 Thu, 10/23/2008 - 3:49pm

Nice. A lot of time and patience went into making it. The best part is seeing your accomplishment out in the water being used.

#4 Thu, 10/23/2008 - 4:20pm

The man is a true craftsman, I bet someone out there has images/ footage of the all Aluminium va'a he built , it is still on Raietea somewhere.
Can you help Hiro?

#5 Thu, 10/23/2008 - 4:35pm

hope you like my video
ah tak make this va'a for the hawaiikinui race the next weeck for the team EDT
and the other team is PADDLING CONNECTION on the wood va'a.

Enjoy with my vids on you tube

#6 Thu, 10/23/2008 - 4:36pm

As one who paddles glass canoes, that is a very humbling video. Could you tell me the name of the group doing the soundtrack, and/or the name of the songs? Mahalo!

#7 Thu, 10/23/2008 - 5:06pm

for the first song is

my island home by bobby and angelo

the second song is

e ruau (same as kumu) by bobby and angelo

#8 Thu, 10/23/2008 - 5:21pm

The first song 'My Island Home' was originally written & recorded by the indigenous Australian group, Warumpi Band, in 1986 (from their album 'Go Bush').


#9 Thu, 10/23/2008 - 5:51pm

Too Cool! Thanks. The Va'a looks light. can you give an approx. weight. I think I read for racing in Tahiti they have to be 300 pounds.

#10 Thu, 10/23/2008 - 6:06pm

One day... I will...

Inspiring. Thanks to Tahitian689, hope we'll find some time to meet during Hawaiki Nui.

#11 Thu, 10/23/2008 - 7:37pm

yes kona the va'a is 300 pounds, 150 kg

oui hiro j'espere te voir a huahine, j'arrive lundi et je serai au puhapa de paddling connection avec wilfred

#12 Thu, 10/23/2008 - 7:46pm

Maururu roa tahitian689!

I can't wait to watch Hawaiki Nui video already!

nana =)

#13 Thu, 10/23/2008 - 7:57pm

i just came from the hawaikinui boat, they finish to put the first 25 va'a 6, the boat will arrive tomorow morning at huahine.
2 va'a for shell, 2 vaa for OPT, pirae, edt, ...
there going to have 83 team (men race) for the main event with the selection of:
hawaii,italia, new zeland, france, australia, rikitea...

#14 Thu, 10/23/2008 - 8:07pm

unbelievable. im in awe.

#15 Thu, 10/23/2008 - 8:12pm

I have to go to work tomorrow !

#16 Thu, 10/23/2008 - 8:17pm

I knew Raymond Ah Tak when he was a paddler with Faaa and just learning to shape amas. He is now one of the top builders in Tahiti. 150 kilos is the weight of the ocean racing canoes. 1 kilo is 2.2 pounds, so the weight of the canoe in pounds is 330 lbs. A little more than 300.

#17 Thu, 10/23/2008 - 9:22pm


#18 Thu, 10/23/2008 - 10:54pm

Looks like they had to make a rocker correction before they applied the glass (cut through the hull with the jig saw) some times when you pop it off the forms it twists or curls. Nice job on the vid Tahitian689.

Now go make one guys, there is free easy to use software out there and heeps of web sites on how to do it. They did make it look easy in the vid but there are lot's of tricks to learn and getting a shape that works is a secret.
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#19 Thu, 10/23/2008 - 11:43pm

outstanding! mahalos for sharing!!!

she is beautifull...

#20 Fri, 10/24/2008 - 12:56am

Not a bad video , not bad at all . I must say though that when the jig saw came out , I was incredulous .

Rambo , thanks for clarifying the reason for the cut.

#21 Fri, 10/24/2008 - 1:19am

They could obviously make it heaps lighter too if they needed by beveling the individual stripes to fit with no gaps to fill, but as they have to make a certain weight why bother, too much more work. Love the idea of a molded Glass deck fitted to a stripper hull, saves heaps of fiddly work with timber. Also they way the blend the hull and deck together with blue finish is neat. Almost inspired me to finish off my Stripper OC2 i posted above. Still at form on strong-back stage. Cry, cry. ... one day when i'm old.


#22 Fri, 10/24/2008 - 1:33am

nah rambo. give'em, i saw your drawings and instantly remembered when i was at that stage, and made me feel the urge to get into making a plug again!!!

you have to do it, no sense wait, just give her 1 hour here and there........thats a challenge your heart need to conquer.....

aloha form argentina!

#23 Fri, 10/24/2008 - 1:37am

We should do an Argentinian - Australian collaboration canoe Mariano,... whew that was a mouthful


#24 Fri, 10/24/2008 - 1:53am

well check this out, down here we still no more:

oc-4 (for canoe surfing)

so........i guess we can do as much colaboration posible..
the deal is, to ship one its crazy after my first experience with KA NALU NUI(oc-1) i guess they will all born here......with bare hands........and love....hahaha

how is that for MOUTH FULL?.
PS,CHECK IT OUT WHEN I ROUTED THE SECTIONS......this was the first time i could see my oc-1 after 1 year af dreaming....
AND the next pic is the first canoe in da water..............feeling fine!!!!

#25 Fri, 10/24/2008 - 4:02am

Great thread!

It seems we are continuously bouncing between the hi-tech and low-tech ends of the spectrum of manpowered boats (this is somewhere in the middle really). When you see how's done, you get some idea how to fix things. With the old ways you always built with the idea that the boat would need to be fixed or maintained from time to time.

I remember going nuts attempting to help another paddler replace the cables in his OC-1. It was clear to me that the designer had never considered that the boat would ever need to be fixed or maintained.

Cable wears out, buy a new boat.
"Anyone can steer the ship when the sea is calm" - Syrus Publilius

#26 Fri, 10/24/2008 - 4:05am

This is a dugout style single I'm working on.


#27 Fri, 10/24/2008 - 5:36am

The strips are plenty thick so as not to twist or curl when taken off the strong back if the wood was properly cured prior to building. When taken off the strong back, reinforcement, gunnel to gunnel, is immediately required while finishing off the rest of the work. What the vid showed was insufficient to determine the purpose of the jig saw cut. I noticed the cut did not go to the top of the hull hence, the rocker wouldn't have changed. If the cut had been made from the top down, then yes, the rocker could've been increased or decreased.

I would suspect the hull was not true at that station so he cut the hull there to align it with the rest of the hull. I could be wrong but I'm just going by what the vid shows us and making a novice guess. There may have been more work there not shown on the vid.

My 197lb. strip canoe is only a quarter inch thick. Reinforcements used when she came off the strong back kept her true while finishing her up.

#28 Fri, 10/24/2008 - 5:56am

Aloha Mulus,
nice looking hull you get there!!!! keep it up!

#29 Fri, 10/24/2008 - 6:04am

The jig saw cut looked to me as if it would change the rocker slightly by dropping the tail maybe an inch at the end, and at the same time widen the gunnel at this spot which may be why they did it in the first place ?

#30 Fri, 10/24/2008 - 8:07am

The jig saw cut wouldn't have dropped the tail b/c the cut didn't go up to the gunnel. The connection at the gunnel would retain the existing rocker.

How would the gunnel be widened by such a cut?

#31 Fri, 10/24/2008 - 8:36am

Where do you find information about how to do stuff like this? Rambo, you seem to have something that looks like a template. And Mulus, you have started a canoe project too. Does anyone have any leads about where to find information about building boats like these, or similar?

#32 Fri, 10/24/2008 - 9:03am

Hey Billy Man...glad you came on site. If anyone out there would know, it would be you. Basically....I know the video doesn't come close to showing all the necessary steps involved, but basically, this is how you put your boats together?? I watched the video about 3 times and am amazed. By chance, are you working on another boat?? Would love to see how you do it. Do you let people come to your workshop??

Also, I believe you are right with regard to the rocker, they would have had to cut up throught the gunnels to be able to drop both ends of the canoe, thus making changes to the rocker. Cuts through the gunnel would have to be made...either way, increase or decrease rocker.

Jaws Out.

#33 Fri, 10/24/2008 - 9:07am

Now I want to know so I just cut a paper towel card board tube in half length wise and made a cut perpendicular without cutting the "gunnels". I made that cut a little extra wide to be able to see the difference. Sure enough you can bend the half pipe lower as in rocker change and it widens the gunnels of the half pipe because they have nowhere to go but outward. The cut in the video is only a blade width thick. The change would be subtle but effective. Look how the builder right after the cut describes the rocker with his right hand by sweeping forward.

#34 Fri, 10/24/2008 - 10:16am

Thanks Marianolargi.

This would give the starting point but not the speed shapes or the structure requierments.


#35 Fri, 10/24/2008 - 10:47am

interesting, in the video you can see from the mold stations that the boat is significantly wider at it's waterline than at the gunwales. isn't this what has been adopted by hawai'i boat builders in the last generation or so of mirage and striker canoes as well? what makes this work? why doesn't something like this work for a oc-1 or v-1? also do the v-6 canoes in tahiti have the beak on their nose because of the way the fiberglass deck fits onto the wooden hull? i noticed the all wood boat at the end of the clip had no beak.

#36 Fri, 10/24/2008 - 12:58pm

just google with those words : kayak strip plank build...
The V6 in the vid is just build the same way. You will need a bigger workshop, thicker planks, etc.
Rambo designed his template with kayak foundry, a freeware, you can use it to design any size of canoe. Only limit is you can only have 3 cockpits on the plans, but if you need only to strip the hull, that's no big problem.

#37 Fri, 10/24/2008 - 2:33pm

Tahitian 689/Hiro C.

What kind of wood is being used in the video?? Spruce??

Jaws Out.

#38 Fri, 10/24/2008 - 3:09pm

ah tak use the "red cedar" wood

#39 Fri, 10/24/2008 - 3:55pm

Wow Red Cedar!! That's expensive stuff! where would you guys bring that in from? Australia, NZ, or do you have it in Tahiti?? I doubt that you have Red Cedar in Tahiti.

In Hawaii, Cedar is very, very expensive. However, mangrove is cheap, all over the place. Going try make one out of mangrove.......

Jaws Out.

#40 Fri, 10/24/2008 - 4:11pm

I have been unable to find "Bobby and Angelo" anywhere. Does anybody know if they have put out a CD, and where i could get one? I find the music almost hauntingly beautiful . . .

#41 Fri, 10/24/2008 - 4:23pm

What about vertical Wili-wili ratchet? I heard they used to make surfboards out of it. Pretty light, but really soft.

#42 Fri, 10/24/2008 - 4:32pm

yes jaws,
it s very expensive and the wood bring from NZ,
SO no wrong for build the va'a,
ah tak make it on 2 weeck, and the va'a must surf

#43 Fri, 10/24/2008 - 4:45pm

Look for Bobby Holcomb and/or Angelo Neuffer. Bobby's long gone dead... He was a great man, a painteur, a poet and a singer. He was coming from Hawaii and decided to live the life of the people in Huahine. We still miss him a lot. Angelo is from Raiatea and is famous in Tahiti and New Caledonia. hey have put out many CDs together or by themselves.

Sorry those two videos can't be embedded. Go and watch them on the you tube site.

Pauwlonia is used to make surfboards. You have to glass it tough. Don't know about the price in Hawaii. We can't even find some in Tahiti !

What kind of wood do you use ?

#44 Fri, 10/24/2008 - 4:54pm


what is the length on the canoe you're building?

#45 Fri, 10/24/2008 - 6:45pm

20 feet long made out of 70$ worth of Canadian red cedar lath

#46 Fri, 10/24/2008 - 7:07pm

from rambo :

getting a shape that works is a secret.

That's true ! But this building method can be used to duplicate an existing shape... You could build yourself a stripped Pegasus, How cool would you look !

#47 Fri, 10/24/2008 - 7:35pm

Yes, basically that is how strip canoes are built. Not currently working on a strip canoe. I have a koa, built in 1920, in bad need of restoration. The owner wants it to be a "Hawaiian Dragster" so, that it shall be.

A paper towel cardboard tube is very flexible. The strip canoe in the vid appears to be all of 1" thick hence, it wouldn't bend like your cardboard. I've put rocker in and taken rocker out of koa canoes over the years. That cut wouldn't do anything significant to the rocker one way or another. Tahitians have other ways of widening their hulls where they deem needed. I doubt that cut was for that purpose.

jc9 0,
The wider hull at the waterline has been a Hawaiian trait for centuries. It works to increase carrying capacity while retaining maneuverability, ie, power steering. It will work for an OC-1 or V1 if the builder so desires.

Hiro C.,
I've used Poplar, from the Continental US. My 197lb.canoe is made with Australian Red Cedar. I have milled some Silver Oak and intend to make the next one with it.
I have an OC-1 cedar strip canoe. Gorgeous to look at but, at 70lbs, a tug to paddle.

#48 Fri, 10/24/2008 - 8:45pm

Yes, anyone may drop by the shop any time. However, I'm not always working on a strip canoe.

#49 Sat, 11/20/2010 - 7:45pm

Thanks for theinfo Bill.

Good looking canoe mulus. Thanks for demonstrating that one doesn't need a high tech workshop to start a project. ;-)

#50 Fri, 10/24/2008 - 9:42pm

Just before the cutting with the jig saw they are dropping a measurement from a string line down too the keel both ends, so either they are checking or adjusting the rocker or setting the shear line for where the deck will attach. I can't see any other reason for the cuts. I would love to know as it's unusual to do this.

Yes i have tons of info on stripper hulls and the tools, jigs, bead and cove types, books, software, detailed photos etc, if anyone genuinely wants the stuff. I collected it over the last 4 years.

Paulownia also known as Kiri, is a fabulous timber originally from China and now grown extensively in Australia. There are entire trees found in China buried in swamps thousands of yours old and no rot, incredible stuff. Lighter and denser than western red cedar, but not balsa (which is actually classified as a hardwood) non oily but blond only in color. The samples below i have are bead and cove and allows the strips to lock together and also rotate on the forms.

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Glassed over Paulownia turns slightly yellow so appearance isn't pleasant, but man is it strong as a core material.

One thing i can't help you with and that is a canoe design that will work well ... only people like Bill Rosehill know that.


#51 Fri, 10/24/2008 - 10:16pm

Perhaps if someone can comment on how long it would take a properly outfitted shop to turn out one of these canoes? I know you can't rush a work of art, but under normal circumstances?

A special thanks to Tahitian689 for the video, and Bill for sharing his knowledge.

#52 Fri, 10/24/2008 - 11:50pm

Hiro said ... That’s true ! But this building method can be used to duplicate an existing shape… You could build yourself a stripped Pegasus, How cool would you look !

Very cool but maybe not ethical or respectful.

I have documented elsewhere on this forum how i profiled the Hurricane to understand why it's so fast and actually scaled it up to an OC2 for two 70kg paddlers, that is basically what is in the plans posted above (ignore the deck).

Making a stripper OC6 or Va'a as a club project would be fantastic for a club, it is doable if the proper procedures are followed and some of the people involved are carpenters and like. It's lots of elbow grease and dirt work but very satisfying and a great asset for that club.

Bill is being very generous here offering his secrets and opening his workshop.

There was a shed on Sand Island, Oahu where Koa canoes like the original "A" were restored, I'm not sure it's still there but would be worth a visit just to see the treasures it contains. I think Alan Dowsett ran it. Local paddlers would probably know more.

Cheers Rambo

#53 Sat, 10/25/2008 - 12:31am

Ethical! Hah! I guess you're too honest to be an oc1 maker, Rambo.

#54 Sat, 10/25/2008 - 4:20am

Thanks Mulus,

a friend and I are reasearching to make a car topper West Coast style canoe maybe 1 or 2 man. I want it to be fast...but still have the elements of the doe's head and the stern piece. So kind of a marriage of a Salish Racing canoe and an partial stability of the ocean going properties of WC. Probably, never take it out in the ocean...but have lots of Bays here in OR that get wind generated waves in the afternoons. What would you suggest a length should be for a 2 man coast salish racing canoe. Not really looking to duplicate the hull I don't plan on ever racing it ....but would probably make adjustments to add some of the "traditional" elememnts...mainly for appearances. ...of course....I still like to go fast. Anyways suggestions are always helpful. Massie.

#55 Sat, 10/25/2008 - 5:24am

Canoe builders and their respective crews and abilities vary. We are told this one took Ah Tak et al, 2 weeks. Based on a few Tahitian builders I'm aware of, 2 weeks is pretty close to "normal circumstances." (Perhaps Hiro knows more.) And we can see that a "properly outfitted shop" doesn't take much at all. There's really nothing hi-tech about building one of these. I have witnessed one Master builder, build 2 in 5 days....100% wood, no pre-fab fiberglass deck!!

#56 Sat, 10/25/2008 - 5:52am

Hey Hiro C

Hello Slougcanoe

A double is 25 feet or so 24" is to short 26" is to long.20' inch wide and 11' to 12' inches deep.This is my latest double it just needs a ama.The next project will be restoring a old dug out race double.


the head and tail on our canoes are the mythical creature sea wolf.As they mentioned above the general shape of a canoe below the water line can be transferred. by scaling up to your measurements. Our traditional canoes have a flat spot in the middle and they had racing stripes down the side. MY father told us when he started to teaching us how to build ( if you look at a salmon it will show you he shape you need to emulate.)

#57 Sat, 10/25/2008 - 6:17am

By "duplicating" I did not meant bilding a lot fo canoes and selling them to make money. If one was to contact the designer of the pegasus and would tell him "I own one of your canoes and I like it so much I want to make a stripper copy. I will build only one and keep it for myself. I won't sell it", don't you think this designer would be OK ?

#58 Sat, 10/25/2008 - 6:56am

Yes i agree Hiro, a designer would most likely be delighted that someone thought enough of his canoe design to craft it into a thing of beauty. There's nothing wrong with taking inspiration from another canoe, Mother Nature or even R&D that has been done by others. I guess the the line not to cross, is flopping someones actually canoe and making copies from the resulting mold.

I still say the ultimate WIN, is to race and be first over the line in a canoe made with your own hands.

Threads like this one posted by haggan are great, we all learn something and when people like Bill and Tommy Connors see a genuine interest, they are happy to provide guidance and talk about their experiences.

Please continue

Cheers Rambo

#59 Sat, 10/25/2008 - 11:10am

Rambo, what about a "build and race challenge" ?

All the paddlers of Paddling Connection Team went at AhTak's workshop and helped building their V6... That's exactly what you're talking about.

#60 Sat, 10/25/2008 - 11:29am

A little late, but after I got over the "holy crap" part of the saw, I too believed it was a suble rocker adjustment. Gotta keep the boat together and it would still 'adjust' if only the ness amount without cutting all the way thorugh .. Just my .02 from a builder-but-not-V6/Oc-6-builder perspective. Him measureing it in sequence in the clip seems to bolster this.

How 'bout one in high density foam + more fiber next. : )


#61 Sat, 10/25/2008 - 5:54pm

Thanks Mulus....always nice to get help. Will send pics when we finish with our "traditional" seal hunting canoe. Started it as a project with hs students....only got the hull sew up before they had to go back home. Still got a lot to work to finish though. Thanks again.

#62 Sat, 10/25/2008 - 7:11pm

cant wait to see the pic's

“build and race challenge”

now that sounds like a race each club builds there own canoe say in 96 hours and races it , paddles and all,.dug out of course .wait they had one in Samoa in 94 at the world sprints.I remember they worked around the clock with hand race after but they were fishing canoes.very amazing to watch.

#63 Sat, 10/25/2008 - 8:35pm

"Build and race challenge" would be great. How 'bout a "rig and race challenge?"

An unfamiliar OC-6, unfamiliar iakos, and an unfamiliar ama. Better yet, cut limbs off a nearby tree for iakos and an ama. The crew must race with however the rigging comes out. Either succeed or struggle with the ability to rig properly AND quickly. The better the rig, the faster the race portion on the water. An inferior rig, and the crew pays on the water.

#64 Sun, 10/26/2008 - 6:34am

ooo, ok, I get it

#65 Sun, 10/26/2008 - 12:47pm


You had mentioned that you have used both Poplar and Red Cedar in building individual canoes. Can you elaborate a bit on why you choose to use each of these types of woods in the perspective canoes? The benefits and drawbacks of each, and perhaps if any of us participating in this discussion were to take on this challenge what particular type you would recommend?

Of course if you are unable answer without giving away any secrets of your craft, I'll understand. Lastly I would imagine that a whole other thread could be started on proper rigging technique.

Saina ma'ase,

#66 Sun, 10/26/2008 - 1:02pm

Thanks onnopaddle. Glad to see someone sees a subtle rocker adjustment. As a luthier by trade I thought I had 1 cent to contribute. I'm sure one day we'll be able to talk to the builder and resolve the mystery.

#67 Sun, 10/26/2008 - 3:31pm

My wood selection is based on what is readily available and cost
Poplar is cheap and relatively light, in weight. At the lumber retailer, I can select the lighter pieces. It is also a durable wood.
If I want the canoe to come out a certain weight, I mill the pieces to the appropriate thickness. Ah Tak has a light fiberglass deck, so his hull can be thicker to end up with the finished weight of 330 lbs.
I used Australian Red Cedar b/c is was free....left over from the construction of a high-end residence. It is also light and as I explained on an earlier thread, I wanted a 'toy' my friends and I could go screaming down the coast here having ouselves FUN. That's the one that is 1/4" thick and 197lbs. It caught on and we now have a division here on the Big Island known as the Unlimited weight or length restrictions.
I will use Silver Oak on my next one b/c it too was free. It is not as durable as Poplar but, I don't leave it out in the weather on a daily basis so keeping it stored under cover and out of the elements until I need it for a race, will preserve it and
keep it looking good.
Any wood canoe out in the weather will deteriorate fast. The longest mine are out is the week of Liliu'okalani.
Ask your lumber yard what they would recommend to you for your application....a racing canoe. They should be able to suggest some options.
I hope this helps you make your choice when you're ready.

#68 Sun, 10/26/2008 - 4:02pm

An after-thot that may be of help to you and others....

These 3 canoes are finished OC-6's with wood decks:

1-Poplar w/ koa accents, 3/4" thick, 394 lbs.

2-Poplar, 1/2" thick, 305 lbs.

3-Aus. Red Cedar, 1/4" thick, 197 lbs.

Since we lost 100 lbs. going from 3/4" to 1/2" Poplar, would we loose another 100 lbs. going to 1/4"? Depends on the density of your wood. Some Poplar is denser (heavier) than others. Keep in mind also, that the thinner you go, the more need to glass the inside which, means add'l weight.

#69 Sun, 10/26/2008 - 4:14pm

There are also a lot of helpful forums on the net dedicated to stripper hulls, mostly canoe and kayak, but the principles and techniques are the same.

Stop teasing me with that light weight Unlimited class six man canoe Bill, I'm green enough with envy as it is.

In the vid you also see them hammering up a particular form from below after the cut, they could also have had a low spot or hollow which can be felt with the hand before it is seen.

The Aussie Red Cedar you obtained Bill is rare as hens teeth, it's a rain forest timber that was once plentiful, now gone. Most of it is exported, we hardly ever see it. Cool that it ended up as a stripper canoe.

Cheers Rambo

#70 Sun, 10/26/2008 - 4:31pm

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