52 Create – Kids Canoe Paddle

52 Create, my weekly creative outlet for 2011.  While I’m super busy with biathlon stock building, it’s hard not to make a little something for my daughter once in awhile…  I had some left over maple and walnut from last week’s cutting board (which were made from left overs themselves…)  So using the same lamination procedure, I glued them up and ended up with a nice little paddle, custom sized for my daughter (hopefully she doesn’t grow too much by the summer…)  I’ll finish it with some left over polyuerethane, spar varnish would be better but I’m trying to use up old stuff, and she’s not going to be putting serious hours of canoeing with this thing. Can’t wait for her to try it out in a canoe, but for now I guess a chair will have to do…

Boat Week – Milk Jug Boat Race

When I was in high school, one of my all time favourite teachers had this great story (he actually had a million stories, one for any occasion imaginable…).  It was about the Rat River Canoe race where after the main race was done, they had a sort of DIY race, where people were challenged to build their own boats, with as unusual a material as possible.  The race course was fairly simple, a short trip down the river and then over a small weir…  Of course most boats would explode into a million parts upon hitting the weir, but this was all part of the fun.  Anyways, the story I remember is that one year, a few guys took a whole bunch of milk cartons, taped them all shut, and then duct taped them together into a large raft.  I guess it was one of the better floating boats until they hit the weir, after which they spent hours pulling out individual milk cartons out of the river!

With that in mind, I tried to track down any info about this race.  After a brief search I found some races with similar names, but they weren’t in the right area or on the right “Rat River”.  Further searches led me to “The Dairy Farmers of Oregon Milk Carton Boat Race”  It’s obviously too late to enter, but there are some good pics on “Dave Knows Portland

Boat Week – Cedar Strip Canoe

Any outdoor enthusiast who also enjoys woodworking is guaranteed to have dreamt of building their own cedar strip canoe.  While there are many other materials to make a boat out of, some of which may even work better, a cedar strip canoe is absolutely beautiful yet lightweight.  The above design is from Peel Marine who make custom built canoes.

There are many steps involved in building your own cedar strip canoe. You can save yourself time by buying the cedar pre-cut into strips (especially handy if you don’t own a good quality bandsaw).  The strips are laid over a “strongback” and nailed/stapled/glued into place.  Once complete, you scrape, sand, and sand again.  Over top goes a layer of fibreglass which can be tricky without an extra set of hands, but rewarding in the beautiful and durable high gloss finish.  Plans are available from Green Valley Boatworks.

If you are interested in building your own cedar strip canoe, I highly recommend going to this site in order to get a feel for what’s involved. It’s an excellent resource and highly detailed account from start to finish of a canoe project.

I personally own “Building a Strip Canoe” by Gil Gilpatrick, and I found it to be an excellent book for the money. You get several plans and he has a great ability to make things as simple as possible.

Boat Week – Build your own Kevlar Canoe

Continuing on our Boat Week theme, today we are talking Kevlar.  Ever since I did my first repair using fibreglass I’ve been hooked.  I once fixed my dad’s car bumper with fibreglass (only to have someone rear-end him a month later…).  Kevlar is of course much lighter and a great choice to make a nice light canoe out of.  I bought this book about 5 years ago, and while I haven’t made one yet, I do have some good reasons.

First of all it’s a great book, and it explains all the steps in great depth, from design and creating a mould all the way through to the final process.  Having done a fair amount of work with fibreglass and epoxy resin, it seemed quite clear to me, although for those not confident at the process, you might want to practice on a smaller project first.

Why haven’t I made one?  Well shockingly enough, it has nothing to do with procrastination or laziness.  After reading the book cover to cover, I was talking with a good friend about it and how the author describes how you can “build your own kevlar canoe for under $600”, to which my friend (who is generally very supportive and optimistic) told me that for that kind of money, he could get me a used kevlar canoe and it would most likely be lighter and faster.  Next issue is creating a mould, I have no design, and I don’t have access to any boats to copy/use as a mould.  And finally, Kevlar is pricey, and not the easiest of materials to come by.  It would definitely require me to order online with a significant amount of cash upfront for this project.  Finally, after all of those issues, time is always a factor, and at the end of the day, this project has always been pushed backwards.