So despite the guilt of sacrificing some authenticity for practicaliy, I ended up obtaining some knot-free, flat sawn white cedar stock from a local mill and had the boards ripped to 2 1/4 inch wide strips. My intention was too still maintain a sense of authenticity by at least hand splitting them and then shaving them down to 3/8" thickness with hand tools.
Given the chilly temps up in Hunstville the last few days, splitting by hand meant some rather frozen fingertips. Here is a photo sequence...
Starting the split
Leveraging between the knees
2 ribs blanks
Working all those ribs down with my mini crooked knife while wearing thick gloves wasn't an option, so instead, I ended up setting up a little work station and used a small block plane to shave down to the appropriate thickness. To pass the time I had some tunes going on a wireless set of headphones, while our baby monitor was also nearby in case the mrs. needed me to stop and come help with the little one.
Shaving down with a block plane
Given that I've read that sawing cedar weakens the wood, I ended up making 10 extra ribs in case of a breakage disaster during the bending phase later in the spring.
Ribs organized on the canoe