In between previous stages, I’d gotten start on a yoke for the center thwart. It’s meant to be a somewhat ergonomic way to carry the canoe on my shoulders. I found a template online for a large dish yoke, which required a 6 inch wide stock. The cypress I have on hand is 3.5 inches, so I needed to laminate it. Rather than have one piece that ran the full span, with additional wood at the wide points, I decided to use two pieces that’d run the full length, since I wanted the rear section to be unbroken.

yoke template

I made up a hardboard half-template, traced it onto the stock, cut it out with a jigsaw, and fine tuned the shape with a half-round rasp. After sanding the edges smooth, I rounded over the corners with a router.

cut out template

Next up was shaping the dish. An angle grinder with a flap disk made quick work of it. I used my half-round rasp to cut out a notch. This is meant to keep pressure off your spine. Having previously carried canoes with no notch, I’m looking forward to it.


Would’ve been useful to see a cross section of that dish, as I wasn’t sure exactly how it should go - mostly just winged it and tried it out on my shoulders. In the end, it fits pretty comfortably, though if I were to do it again, I think I’d like a thicker stock and more of an angle on the inside of the dish.

dish shaped

Next up was the seats. The plans said to use dowels, but I wanted to stick with cypress, so I ripped pieces to a width that seemed appropriate, and decided to do a half-lap type joint to secure it.

I cut a rabbet on either end of the inner sections of the seat with a pull saw and neatened it up with a chisel. I left these a little longer than the width of the wood so I could trim it down later.

chisel rabbet

Used a router to cut the dados on the front pieces for the rabbets to sit in. I sized the joint so the main pieces would have a bit more thickness in the joint than the cross pieces.


After, I went back and got rid of the excess, sanded the faces, and rounded over all edges.

cleaned and routed

Here’s everything layed out roughly in position, ready to be cut to size and installed (though not ‘till I fair the inside, of course).

thwarts in place