Build Your Own Solo/Tandem Double-paddle Canoe
Simple skin-on-frame construction of a graceful, 13½′ sturdy craft.
- Hilary Russell —July 22–28
Tuition: $850 (partner: $425)
Hilary Russell has been studying, designing, and building skin-on-frame rowing craft for a number of years. We welcome Hilary to WoodenBoat School, and together we have designed an exciting course for students to build their very own skin-on-frame double-paddle canoe. This craft is an excellent choice for beginning boatbuilders as well as experienced ones who want to learn skin-on-frame construction. This classic 23-lb ultralight is perfect for simple cartopping and portaging, and it will carry a 350-lb load. Also known as a pack boat or low-seat canoe, this boat is lighter than most kayaks and the more common high-seat canoes. It handles well on the water and is surprisingly fast. A roomy solo vessel, it is also rigged with the clever “Rines Reversible backrest” to accommodate two paddlers.
This beautiful canoe will be built with spruce gunwales, northern white cedar ribs, white pine stringers, a spruce keelson, and contrasting solid hardwood decks, backrests, seats, and rubrails. The skin, a rugged 8-oz polyester, is waterproofed and toughened with a polyurethane coating. Brass stembands protect the ends of the boat.
In building their boats, students will perform virtually every operation involved in building a wooden canoe except fitting planks. After setting up five plywood forms on a strongback and soaking gunwales and stringers, you will fit the gunwale-deck-stem-keelson assembly. The soaked stringers will be bent across the forms and then you’ll steam-bend ribs to fit inside the “cage” created by the stringers. Next, students will use Inuit technology to lash the stringers to the ribs, a simple operation that results in strength and flexibility. After installing inwales and backrests, and dry-fitting the rubrails and stembands, you will stretch on, then shrink and seal the skin. Lastly, you will permanently install the rubrails and stembands.
Students will refine, sand, and varnish the various pieces at appropriate times in the building process. Each person will also make their own paddle. By the end of this fun and rewarding week with Hilary, you will have built your first boat and be ready for countless hours of enjoyment on your local waters.