While red cedar seems to have about the best strength to weight ration of the readily available woods, not all red cedar is equal in weight, so suggestion #1 is to look for light weight boards from which to mill your strips.
Use spruce or similar for gunwales instead of hardwood.
If the canoe will be used with reasonable care, use 4 oz cloth instead of the more common 6 oz. Double the cloth on the outside of the hull in the "football" area. A 2nd layer "football" on the inside would add to the strength at minimal additional weight.
Do not fill the weave on the inside of the canoe. The extra coats of epoxy, necessary to fill the weave add minimal strength but do add to the weight. An added benefit is that a little "bite" on the inside of the hull keeps things from sliding around too much.
Adhere the gunwales with epoxy in place of screws.
Keep the decks small and thin or use carbon fiber decks or skip the decks altogether.
Most strip canoes that I've seen have overly robust thwarts. Sometimes that's the case with seats as well. However, don't skimp on the seat frames if the likely paddler is on the robust side.
Whip the epoxy in a blender, while infusing helium ...Just Kidding
Dogpaddle Canoe Works
Custom Canoe Paddles and Woodstrip Canoes
Touring Kayak Paddles
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