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Outfitting a Canoe - Lacing

What is Lacing?
Lacing a canoe gives you secure points to lash buoyancy and equipment in your boat. You could use P Clips but these aren’t as strong as lacing. Also it is believed that lacing adds to the boat strength in a broach. You can lace as little or as much as you prefer. Some people just lace the front and back to hold buoyancy. In this how to we will lace the full length of the boat. Lacing is usually done at 80mm to 100mm spacing but do what works for you.

The finished lacing – See the tight stitch along the outside and the loops to attach equipment inside.

You Will Need

  1. 3m 8mm clear plastic tube
  2. 12m 6mm cord.
  3. Masking tape
  4. 200mm cardboard. Cereal box card is excellent.
  5. Stanley knife
  6. Tape measure
  7. Pencil
  8. 3mm HSS drill bit (Pilot bit)
  9. 6mm HSS drill bit
  10. Drill

1. Run a 30mm (at least) strip of masking tape around the canoe just below the gunnel.

2. Create a template with the cardboard strip.
Mark a line vertically down the centre
Mark lines 20mm either side of this centre line. This will give you 80mm gauge and 100mm gauge left and right.

3. Mark the centre line of your canoe on the masking tape on either side of your boat. Then mark a line 50mm each side of these centre lines 20mm below the gunnel. These will be your first 2 holes.

4. Working out from these lines using your template mark all-round the boat.

5. If your marks land in line with internal fixtures then make minor adjustments to your measurement to miss the fixture. Don’t forget to make the adjustment on the opposite side of the canoe to keep symmetry of the lacing.

6. All drill holes marked out.

7. Drill your pilot holes at each mark and then drill out to 6mm. If you have a counter sink bit it makes a tidy finish if you make a very gentle countersink of each hole inside and out. The small bits of masking tape along the top of the gunnel are just my way of calculating the threading direction of the cord to just check the measurement.

8. Remove the masking tape. Leaving the tape on whilst trying to thread the cord will drive you insane as it WILL get in the way. Now you can see your expert (and brave) drilling skills.

9. Working on a formula of distance between holes + 20mm cut the plastic tube to 120mm lengths. Cut however many lengths you are going to want fixing loops. On the Hou-15 I fitted 18 fixing loops (9 along each side). Using this formula will give you a sufficient size loop for lashing kit to without causing a trap hazard.

10. As you will see the loops created are of adequate size but do not protrude too far into the boat to be a nuisance.

11. Begin threading the 6mm cord through from the inside of the first hole at either the bow or stern end. Leave approx. 300mm spare and tie a simple overhand knot up against the inside of the boat.

12. Begin threading the cord in and out of alternate holes all the way around the boat. Ensuring you keep the cord taught as you go and threading behind internal fixtures such as seat hangers. When you reach a point where you want to have a fixing loop then thread the cord through a piece of your plastic tube.

13. When you have threaded all around you tie place a knot against the inside of the boat of the final end and then join the two loose ends with a framers knot. It is an extension of the square knot and may be called something else but I know it as a framers knot as my wife is a picture framer.

That’s it you have now laced your canoe better than you lace your shoes.