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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!

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