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Paul Waite - River Nymph

Posted on March 23 2012

Hi Ted and Joan, I was fourteen when I saw my first cedarstrip canoe on the headwaters of the Penobscot River in Maine. I knew then that I wanted to own one of these treasures. Now at age 31, I do. On August 25 my three boys and I took our Prospector on her maiden voyage on the Saco River in Maine. Thanks for your book, Canoecraft, that passes on great encouragement to never-before builders like myself. May I bore you with the details? I began in May of 1994 -- over three years ago! Other priorities with money and time kept pushing the project aside. Though I enjoyed building the "River Nymph" (a few insects found themselves stuck in the first coat of epoxy) a couple of disasters daunted my spirits and nearly put the task to a closure. I followed the documentation in the book very carefully while applying the glass and epoxy, having never done it before. However, I used a different brand than the recommended which did not respond as the West Systems. The result was several areas of uncured epoxy - sagging off the side of the canoe! I scraped away the soft areas with a hot putty knife, cut in new cloth and reapplied fresh epoxy. As I continued on the inside, large blisters began appearing on the hull. My beautiful canoe has a bad case of leprosy!! I plan to repair the numerous blisters this winter when the paddling season is over. I used Brazilian cherry for the gunwales. It is very dense and heavy - making the compound curves a chore. I tapered the outwales and scuppered the inwales to help the process. They looked great! After plugging the screw holes one morning, however, I returned that night to find that one of the outwales had fractured 3/4 of the way through from the stress of the bend! I glued and screwed it to make the repair. It surely won't make your showcase of beautiful amateur-built canoes. I won't be sending a picture of this one that betrays my perfectionistic personality but I must say that it is by far the best handling canoe I have had the privilege of paddling -- and it's mine! Thanks again. I plan to build another canoe someday so our whole family can go along on our water excursions. It will definitely be a Prospector! Paul Waite East Barre, Vermont

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