Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A Little Bit Over the Top...

I've been teaching a canoe building class for the past few years. Several of my students fit into the "over-achiever" slot in a big way. This particular student, who was in the first class I taught fits this mold.

The accent strip on the side of his canoe was built twice.

He started out with Poplar and Redwood to make this beautifully patterned strip. It was stunning with little alternating checkerboards and strips that ran the length of the boat. His attention to detail was superb - all the pieces were even face-grain so they would be the same color. After untold hours building the strips, he passed them through the planer to "clean off some glue." This ruined the strips - shredded them, really. He got angry (REALLY angry) and stormed out of class. After he left the room, a blue haze still hung in the room from his choice of words.

The next week, he arrived with a brand new strip. When I asked how he did this at home, I found out that he and his wife had gone out to Home Depot on the day after he destroyed his first set of strips to get more wood, a table saw and a thickness planer and had remade the strips over the following week. Don't get me wrong - I think the work is stunning, but they must have cost $500/each after figuring in the tools - this for two strips that are 1/4" thick, 1-1/2" wide and 12' long.

He even took his boat home to work on - in his living room. I don't know what his wife thought, but the dog seems to be enjoying it. After seeing this, I don't think I ever want to hear someone say that they don't have the space to build a canoe!

I do think the contrasting design on the side is cool. The design has been incorporated into the side of the paddle and the stems. Pretty wild. Here's a picture of the finished product which was dubbed The Blue Streak for his language the day he destroyed the first strips!

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