How to Make a Canoe Seat

How to Make a Canoe Seat
If you've got an old canoe that has damaged seats or thwarts only, canoeing might not be very comfortable. But with a few basic materials and tools and not much cash, you can build some nice comfortable canoe seats in no time.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Building the Canoe Seat.

Things You’ll Need:
  • 1 1/2 inch wooden hardwood dowels longer than your canoe is wide (two per seat)
  • Four 1 foot long 2x2s
  • Drill and 1/4 inch bit
  • Butyl rubber sealant
  • Epoxy glue
  • 14-inch x 2-inch steel round-headed or lag screws (four to eight)
  • Roll of replacement lawn chair webbing
  • Staple gun and 5/16 inch staples
Step 1
Measure and mark the inside of your canoe hull at the height and in the position you want your seats. The hardwood dowels are spaced 1 foot apart and 2 to 4 inches below the top of the gunwales. This keeps your weight low in the canoe and makes the boat more stable. The rear seat must be closer to the stern so there is knee room in front of the seat. The bow seat must be far enough from the front.
Step 2
Drill four 1/4 inch holes in the hull where you marked for the ends of the dowels to fit.
Step 3
Measure the width of the canoe between opposite holes and cut the dowels to the correct length plus a tiny bit so that they fit snugly but do not push the hull out.
Step 4
Predrill the holes in the end of the dowels for the 1/4 inch screws. Drill holes slightly smaller than the screws so they will hold firmly.
Step 5
Fill the hole with epoxy type cement before you attach the screws. Apply butyl rubber sealant to the end of the dowels and slip into place.
Step 6
Push the screws through the hull into the holes in the dowels and tighten. Tighten all four screws, snugging the dowels against the hull.
Step 7
Hollow out both ends of the 2x2s to fit snugly against the wooden dowels. This can be done with a lathe or rasp. Position the 2x2s between the dowels near the hull.
Step 8
Drill a hole through the dowel, glue and screw 3-inch screws into the ends of the 2x2s to create a rectangular seat frame.

Preparing the Seat

Step 1
Fold one end of the roll of seat webbing into a point. Fold the tip and staple the folded strengthened end to the underside of right front dowel.
Step 2
Bring the web strap up and over the tops of the dowels, unrolling the strapping as you wrap the dowels tightly. Overlap the webbing, working your way from right to left and then back again.
Step 3
Repeat until you are satisfied with the strength of the seat. Fold the end again as above and staple underneath the dowel. To keep the webbing from sliding around when you sit on the seat, space staples underneath the dowels far enough from the front edge that they don't chafe your skin. Don't use too many staples or you'll weaken the web.
Step 4
A more complicated but sturdier way to lay out the webbing is to cut separate web straps and fasten the ends as described above. Lay the straps front to back. Then weave straps side to side through the front to back straps and fasten underneath the 2x2 end pieces with staples.
Step 5
Another type of seat bottom can be made by stitching a thick piece of canvas around both dowels. Leave a flap on either end and fold the end flaps over the 2x2 side pieces and staple the fabric underneath. You can also make slat bottoms by screwing thin wooden slats on top of the dowels or to wooden 2 x 2s used in place of dowels. You might want to use a pillow or foam pad with any of these wooden versions.

Tips & Warnings

·Tap in any staples that don't go all the way in with a hammer.
·Center screw holes to prevent the dowels from splitting.
·Don't leave rough front edges that can chafe during long trips

Article Written By Tom King

Tom King published his first paid story in 1976. His book, "Going for the Green: An Insider's Guide to Raising Money With Charity Golf," was published in 2008. He received gold awards for screenwriting at the 1994 Worldfest Charleston and 1995 Worldfest Houston International Film Festivals. King holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Southwestern Adventist College.

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