Building a Canoe with Jimmy Diresta

Woodworking superstar Jimmy Diresta has just completed building his first ever wood strip canoe. Built on a mold that he cut with his CNC machine, Diresta confesses to being “schooled” on this project, challenging his many finely honed woodworking skills and calling on some new ones, as well. Using fiberglass and epoxy resin together for the first time, Diresta found success building this first Bear Mountain Canoe and enjoyed the process so much that he already has plans to use the molds to build another boat.  Jimmy used TotalBoat Gleam varnish to finish off the boat and paddles and his masterpiece will be on display inside one of the Filson stores. (Rumor has it – Boston…. not NY store).  

We have been a fan of Jimmy’s for a while now, partly because he is willing to dive into any project regardless of his skill level. And he is a man of many skills, from forging to woodworking – and now he can add boatbuilding to his skillset. Jimmy isn’t afraid to try something new and he would be the first to admit that he might need some advice.

Jimmy enjoyed this first boat building exercise so much that he is planning to use the molds to build another canoe. What will he do next time? If Jimmy is in his comfort zone for his second build, you can bet he will try to work some more challenging and interesting features into the build.  Stay tuned – we can’t wait to see what Jimmy dreams up next!


17 responses to “Building a Canoe with Jimmy Diresta

  1. Beautiful work. I wish I could build one in 30 minutes. I have built a few of these. The beauty of these boats is the builder can put their own flair into the boat, making every stripper a little different. One thing I do different is, I run the strips in the “football” section of the bottom parallel to the center line. Once I strip it to the ends of the stems I then put a strip on each side going down the center of the boat (think keel) and then fill toward the outside. This way you don’t need to deal with the excess bends in the short strips. I’ve done it both ways and find this method to be less frustrating. I love Jimmy DiResta’s work, everything he does is top notch.

  2. It is a lot of work but the finished product is something to be proud of. You did a great job. Total Boat products are fine quality. Built a canoe and a sea kayak using strips and they will be gifted to a family member when I can no longer enjoy them.

  3. I think Jimmy should switch to decaf! HaHa.
    Really nice work. My father said to me ” You can never have enough clamps”.
    Really nice workspace too. I have trouble not filling mine up w/ stuff.

  4. I know nothing about building boats/canoes but did he put spar varnish on the fiberglassed/epoxied hull? Is that necessary or for added protection?
    I can only dream of a project like this, way beyond anything i could do.
    Nicely Done!

  5. In response to Al Ross, The epoxy has no UV protection, it must be top coated with multiple coats of a good varnish (or paint) to block it.

  6. Knowing how wood absorbs epoxy, applying a few coats of neat epoxy allowed to soak in followed by some thickened epoxy for the glue joint would be a much better choice than the method displayed. A dry joint is a real concern when working with wood.

  7. A wood strip canoe has been on my bucket list for several years. While I’m not a woodworking suerstar, I *am* planning to mill my own strips!

  8. The satisfaction of seeing your boat come in as 1×6’s or 1×8’s and out of your shop as a finished boat far outweighs the time and effort made in milling the strips yourself. You’re going to be doing a lot of milling anyway.

  9. I watched your video, its awesome! I would like some information?
    How can I get the patterns you use to shape the canoe?
    what material to use and tools.



  10. Jimmy you are a true craftsman, I thought I was good until I watched your video, good work and you should be proud

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