Wooden Canoe Building Course

Our new Wooden Canoe Building Course is compacted in an intensive 10-day working period. If you want to learn to build a canoe in a condensed period because you don’t have the time to spread it out over several months, this is the solution for you. Our first participant was Joonhwa from Seoul. He is an artist manager and a wood turner in his spare time. Because he wanted to build something bigger than bowls, plates and cutting boards, he came all the way to Belgium to build a canoe.

As far as the breadth and standard of skills go, you’d be hard pressed to find a woodworking trade more comprehensive in its scope than canoe building – if you can build a canoe, you can create a great many things with wood, and to a very high standard. In our wooden canoe building course you learn an incredible amount of practical skills. From strip planking and epoxy laminating hulls to steam bending stems and fitting out the canoe with beautiful decks and comfortable seats. Everything with hand tools that are almost extinct in contemporary carpentry courses. Importantly, you learn to build a canoe from very experienced canoeists who pay a lot of attention to paddling ergonomics. After all, a wooden canoe is meant to be used and to experience adventure in the outdoors. We’re not cabinetmakers who create canoes for the beauty of it.

Our first participant was Joonhwa from Seoul, Korea stayed with us for 10 days and built a beautiful solo canoe.

Day 1 - The Strongback

The first step in strip planked canoe building is creating a “mold”. This form consists of stations are secured to a strongback. This is a very stable and strong work bench on which we will build the canoe. Attention to detail is required when building a canoe. We want to make sure the ultimate result is a straight canoe, you don’t want to paddle in circles.

Day 2-4 - Strip planking the canoe

Our canoes are strip planked. This means that thin strips of western red cedar are being glued together to the stations to gradually form the hull. Stripping a canoe requires some time. 3 days in this case.

Day 5 - Planing and sanding the outside of the hull

Our canoes are strip planked. This means that thin strips of western red cedar are being glued together to the stations to gradually form the hull. Stripping a canoe requires some time. 3 days in this case.

Day 6 - Laminating the outside of the hull

To strengthen and waterproof the hull, it needs to be laminated with glass fabric and epoxy inside and out. We chose to add graphite powder to the epoxy to give it a deep black color. It also makes the canoe very smooth reducing friction.

Day 7-8 - Laminating the inside of the hull

The same lamination process is repeated on the inside except for the graphite powder.

Day 9 - Installing the gunwales and decks

The canoe reaches completion. Today we install decks and gunwales.

Day 10 - Finishing touches

Some sanding here and there and the fitting of seats and thwarts and the canoe is finished, just in time.

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