Well, maybe I should say "well rounded". If you're going to build small boats, you will build an amazing skill set. My students started on yet another skill on their path to becoming accomplished boat-builders on Sunday. We had a little caning party at the Chateau D'Zaster on Sunday afternoon so that they could learn the finer points of hand-caning their own seats.
Yeah, we could buy pre-made seats. We could also buy sheet-woven cane and press it into routed grooves with a spline. I think hand-caned seats add a timeless elegance to a small canoe and are more durable than the pressed-in cane. I also think that it's nice to be able to select the species of wood to use for the frame to match other wood on the rest of the canoe other than the ubiquitous ash frames. Two of my students are using Peruvian Walnut for trim on their canoe and wanted matching seats - where would you find pre-made seat frames made of it, anyway?
We started the afternoon by pulling strands of common cane from the bundles that we ordered and soaking them in glycerine loaded hot water to make them slippery and pliable. While I'm not the most masterful cane weaver, I can instruct the weaving of a basic square seat with a little bit of effort - because over time, I have learned to become a well-rounded builder and continue to become more well-rounded over time.
It was a very pleasant afternoon that was enjoyed with warm sunny skies, a soft breeze, good company, snacks and cold drinks. We managed (for the most part - with some fits and starts...) to get the seats ready to weave the diagonal sections of the cane at our next session.
I was reminded today about just how well-rounded my students become in building these small canoes. My students learn to:
- select materials
- work safely with a variety of hand and power tools.
- prepare and align strongbacks
- rip and mold strips
- laminate and shape stems with a rolling bevel
- create feature strips
- strip the hull
- fit the bottom panels
- cut back stem ends and install outer stems
- fair a hull
- glass the hull
- make a seat frame
- cane the seat
- trim the hull
- build a paddle - at least those with the ambition to do so...
Another good session and they'll all be ready for binder cane!