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Builder Stories: Canoecraft Paper Canoe by David Parker


People often ask about wood choice for canoe hulls, and the standard answer is that with a few caveats, you can build a canoe out of almost anything. Core composite construction ensures that fibreglass outer layers provide the strength while the inner layer acts mainly as a spacer. David Parker put that concept to the test with a paper canoe build, and took it one step further by using a copy of Canoecraft as his medium.

David charted his progress on Instagram, so we've embedded the posts chronologically here. Check out @davidbrynparker for more creative canoe and woodworking projects:


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Today I fibreglassed the inside of my paper canoe. I decided to use overlapping cloth because the cloth I bought for this wasn’t wide enough but also to give it extra strength... for some reason I decided to do both at the same time? This was a TERRIBLE IDEA. Probably the most stressful horrible thing I’ve ever done! Having glassed the inside of my last canoe I should’ve known that the inside is tricky... but no, I thought I’d quickly get resin on the bottom layer, lay the second layer overtop and get it all done at once... the cloth had other ideas. After about 2 hours of sweating and swearing and dropping my glasses in epoxy and cleaning it off and breaking through multiple gloves and then getting epoxy all over my arms and using epoxy solvent to clean that off which made my whole arms feel like they’re burning I got it done... but it’s not pretty!! On the outside the lumps of the paper mache weren’t an issue, I could squeegee over them fairly simply, but the inside was another matter! Plus I had to leave areas too long before squeegeeing... look it was all horrible!! But the cloth is on... quite shittily but it’s on. Hopefully it’ll work as a canoe? Fingers crossed. I’m going out to do the fill coat now which should go much easier. . . . . . . #fibreglass #canoe #papercanoe #cedarstripcanoe #fibreglasscanoe #papermache #papiermache #papermacheboat #paperboat #boat

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Paper canoe is coming along nicely, I’ve got the gunwales and decks installed, just need to attach the thwart and find some wood to make a seat out of... and then paint and varnish of course! But I think those will have to wait until shops are open again. I’ll get back to work on the cedar canoe once I finish the seat. I’m currently trying to work out what to make it from. I made the decks and thwart from some Kauri I had lying around but I don’t have any more pieces long enough for the seat. I’m trying to save money and just do this with scrap wood I have lying around but I might have to cut into some Ash I bought for another job. I do have some vitex lying around but it’s not thick enough so I’d have to glue up some layers first... I’ll have another rummage in my wood pile tomorrow I think. . . . . #canoe #papercanoe #papermache #papiermache #papiermâché #fibreglass #westsystems #epoxy #paperboat #boat #boatbuilding #cedarstripcanoe #cedarstrip #canoeing #canoebuilding #boatbuilder #woodwork #woodworking #isolationcrafts #isolationcreation #quarantinecreativity

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So that would be a paper canoe... or at least as much of a paper canoe as I can do for now while I wait for seat hanging bolts to arrive. The hull is made from 12 layers of paper with an inner layer made from a copy of @bearmountainboats canoecraft (hahaha) and a layer of fibreglass inside and out. I used Victorian Ash for the gunwales and Kauri for the decks and thwart. I’m going to set this up with a single seat for solo paddling and I cannot wait to be allowed to take this to the river for a test paddle (and more photos). There’s a bit of flex in the hull on the grass but I reckon in the water it’ll be fine! I’m now back working on my second cedar strip canoe so moved this out of the garage to make space. Add canoe storage rack to my to do list! . . . . . #canoe #canoeing #paddling #paddle #cedarstripcanoe #boat #boatbuilding #papercanoe #papermachecanoe #paperboat #papermacheboat #papermache #papiermache #papiermâché #paperart #woodwork #woodworker #boatbuilder #canadiancanoe #bearmountainboats #canoecraft

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