My canoe project got started in 2007 when I was working at the US Embassy in Togo in West Africa. One of my friends, a Peace Corps official, began work on a strip canoe near the end of my tour there. After looking at his copy of CanoeCraft and helping him a little with the stripping, I thought I could build one too. I bought several books on the subject and did my research. In the end I decided to build a Redbird, “a light, fast day-tripper.” I found that CanoeCraft had the clearest explanations of the whole process. I am fairly good with tools but I had never built a canoe before. While I was on home leave I had some western red cedar shelves and white ash strip strips included in my shipment of supplies for my next post in Belmopan, Belize. I started on the boat in October 2008 in the TV room of my residence. My wife was in the States for several months so dust was not an issue. I went off the table of offsets for the Redbird in Ted’s book to made pattern pieces, and I built a strongback with wood from the liftvans in which my household goods were shipped. I bought a cheap little saw and sliced strips off my cedar boards. I made one strip from liftvan wood that came from Africa and used Belizean mahogany for the little decks fore and aft, so the boat is made of African, American and Belizean wood. I mounted my router on a piece of plywood, attached fences, and cut the cove and bead on the strips. I didn’t want nail holes in the strips so I used C-clamps and L-shaped brackets to hold the strips in the groove and on the station as I glued them. I steam bent the stem and gunwale pieces using a piece of plastic pipe and a hot water kettle. Looking at my notes, I see it took about a year of spare time – about 300 hours – to finish the boat. I made paddles with ash splines and cedar blades. I wove heavy nylon twine into seats. I did the whole project myself except for getting my buddy Hugo to mix the epoxy as I fiberglassed the hull. Ted’s book really covered the details and construction went well throughout. Hugo and I tested the boat at a nearby fish farm and then took a half day run down the Belize River for final checkout. The boat was fine and I got a lot of compliments on the look of the cedar hull.