Saturday, June 9, 2012

Leaving the Nest

There comes a time when the canoes that my students have built need to leave the nest as it were.  It's a bit of a bitter-sweet occasion for me, as the students that I've gotten to know over the past few years are ready to take their boat and enjoy it and I won't be seeing much of them any more.  Last night one of the canoes that has been a while in the nest (3 years!) left with her builders.  They were taking her to their new camp by the lake where she should be right at home. 

Right before the boats leave, however, we all get to enjoy their beauty at the school's annual exhibition.  Here she is with her very happy builders:

Note the rain gear on my students.  It was coming down in buckets and we were very, very happy to have the tent - leaks and all.  You'll note that the images are a bit dark because of the weather.  As paddlers, we all know we've got to have a little rain, or there would be nothing to paddle on!  Here's a shot of the feature strip:

 A couple of obligatory details of the mesquite decks (hollowed underneath as they were incredibly heavy otherwise!) and the tapered end of the inwales.

After much hard work by the builders, the caned seats were also finished.  This was a "last minute" project in some regards.  The brass deck hardware went on the morning of the show and the seats and thwart were installed the day before!

 The Wavy Gravy is pretty close to being done, actually - a bit of sanding on the inside, glassing and trimming out to do.  Not bad, really.  The feature strip was relatively simple to make, but is an attention grabber.  It probably elicits the most questions about, "How did you do that?"

This boat needs some varnish and she's ready to go.  The boat is a Wee Lassie called the Tesseract after Madeline L'Engle's book A Wrinkle In Time.  This year, she told me the truth of how she arrived in my class - she had originally come to sign up for one of the other woodworking classes with the intent of building a table.  The class was full, so she decided to sign up for the canoe-building class! This is her first woodworking project!

The canoe has a beautiful deck and coaming arrangement.  The coaming and the deck is mahogany - like the rest of the trim - with a tiger maple stripe down the middle.  What you can't see from this picture is that the deck has a crown to it.  When varnished it should be gorgeous.  I can't wait to see it. 

The next boat belongs to the sister of the student above.  She'd come to help her sister sand her canoe before glassing and decided that it would be a fun project to take on.  It's a Wee Lassie II named Patience and has a similar feature strip to the boat above.

The deck arrangement on this canoe is much simpler than the others.  It is a flat, one-piece deck.  The inwale comes right up to the edge of the deck and a gentle curve is between them.  The decks are made from some tiger maple with lots of figure, however and should be lovely to look at with a coat of varnish on them.

At the school, I'm getting ready for a little transition that I've discussed before on the blog.  We're getting ready to offer a class in skin-on-frame boat building of the non-traditional style.  By that I mean with marine plywood frames.  To prepare for this, a friend who is a woodworking student at the school and I build two kayaks.  As hers was finished with a clear poly, we decided it would be fun to try to light it up like a Japanese paper lantern at the show.  The effect wasn't quite what I was looking for as the lights weren't bright enough.  Still, people got a good idea of what the framing inside looked like.

My boat is finished in yellow polyurethane.  I think it came out looking rather nice, actually.  As the devil is in the details, we've got cherry for the floors, coming, hatch cover and hatch rim.

Just for giggles, I decided to make the coaming and hatch cover look like a Shaker oval box top.

 So, another year of boat-building at the school comes to a close.  I'm really looking forward to seeing my students out on the water this summer!

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