If you want to customize your canoe -- make it longer or shorter, wider or narrower, change the rake or height of the stems, make the hull asymmetrical, alter the dimensions and/or the number of ribs or stringers -- you can, easily!
If you are apprenhensive about steaming, don't be. You can tape together a Styrofoam steambox in minutes, and steaming is fun and easy -- especially if you are using sweet-smelling cedar. With the help of a friend, you'll install the ribs in three hours or less.
Lashing the stringers to the ribs is an ancient, decidely sane, relaxing process that produces a beautiful visual rhythm and creates much of the boat's strength through flexibility.
In the past five years, my students have built canoes using both willow and red osier dogwood to double the ribs in the Irish style and to weave longitudinal stringers. Thus in building a modern craft, we have combined ancient yet still practical Native American materials and methods with those of the Welsh and Irish.