Cart |

Paper Mache Canoe

A few weeks ago we went into a lockdown in New Zealand to deal with Covid-19, I wasn't able to work from home so I had lots of time to get on with a project I've been thinking about for a while; a paper canoe.

I'm currently building a cedar strip canoe (15ft Prospector, plans from bearmountainboats.com) and it was at the stage that I had built the hull, faired and fibreglassed it. Which is the perfect time to use that as a form to mould paper mache around. I did about 12 layers of paper and used a copy of a popular canoe building book 'canoecraft' as the inside layer of the canoe, because I didn't fancy having a copy of our local paper on display forever and I thought it'd be funny. I put a layer of 6oz fibreglass on the inside and outside making it completely waterproof and strong enough to be actually used as a canoe.

After fibreglass it was still a bit floppy and I was worried at weather or not this would actually work but once I got all of the wood trim on the hull had a lot more strength and rigidity, still a lot more flexible than a cedarstrip canoe. I added a thin top cap of wood to the gunwales to stop water getting into the paper layers.

I usually go canoeing with friends so I am not usually a solo paddler, this was my first time in a long time solo paddling a canoe so I am not as effective, efficient or graceful as I could be with a lot of practice haha... however I was happy with how it handled as a solo canoe so I think I will install a single seat towards the centre as I'll have two other cedar strip canoes setup for tandem paddling anyway!

I don't know the exact weight of it but its about the same as a cedar canoe, maybe a bit lighter.

If you want to try this yourself it might pay to experiment with paper mache to avoid the lumps that I got, I didn't want to redo the paper mache as I didn't want to waste the book I used on the inside layer and I wasn't 100% sure how this would work!

Watch on Youtube

Related Articles

~A Paddler's Post submitted by Gregg Jackson~ For decades I had combined the joys of hiking and…

Using just bark, sticks and twine, these two craftsman build an impressive bark canoe with traditional…

Looking to step up your kayak fishing game? Check out how to add a fish finder to your YAK and soon…