Tuesday, May 5, 2009

First Water Test

Even though the birchbark canoe is not fully cosmetically complete (still needs deckplates, gunwale caps, & winter bark decoration), I couldn't resist taking the newly gummed hull to the lake for its first water trial especially during a brief warm spell with minimal wind. Thought it was fitting that I'd use the very first paddle I made to go with it. My wife & son came down for the "launch" to take in the show and the lack of anyone else around this early in the season made it a very nice family affair.

The whole boat feels very sturdy with the ribs in and to be honest is a bit heavier than I imagined (probably because of the thicker rib size I opted to go with to strengthen the weaker bark hull). Despite this the boat floated quite high on the surface of the lake given the the cedar's amazing bouyancy. The hull's flattened bottom gives it decent primary stability but she still heels over quite well for solo paddling and responds just like bark canoes are supposed to, with an amazing delicate touch.


Action shot on the port side

Heeled over in the shallows


Final pose showing the starboard side

After about 10 minutes of paddling by the shoreline however, I felt some wetness on my shins and sure enough, the boat was taking on some water. Leaking on the first attempt is quite normal for a novice builder I suppose. But I'm a bit bummed out that I've run out of time to fully complete the boat and start paddling around the lake. Work and family obligations meant this was my last trip up here until August, so finalizing the boat would have to wait until then. Before packing the canoe up in garage, I let the outer bark dry up a bit, set it up on sawhorses and poured a bucket of water into the interior. The water eventually drained from the hull in numerous spots (mostly the 2nd lap seam and the stern end seam) and these were marked off with permament marker. When I'm back up again in August, I'll be repitching these seems and am confident the holes can be sealed off. In the meantime, I'll be thinking about designs to etch on the winter bark of the hull and fantasize about paddling it some more.



4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hello Murat,
Other than having a direct mail, I waited for this moment to leave some comment. I see how much you enjoy your maiden trip.
This must certainly be the moment you waited for. I see you got the deadline for her maiden trip. Labour pays off ?? we say overhere.
Very well done.
Will hear and see more from you.
Johan,
Belgium

Francois said...

Hello Murat,

Well done my friend, it is a really good canoe for the first time, mine didn't look better! It must be really rewarding to see your final product on the water. Congratulations, keep going!
Francois

Pawistik said...

Congratulations Murat! Looks great. Have fun paddling this summer and be sure to get your newest paddler out when the conditions are right.
Cheers,
Bryan

Edwin said...

Excellent job Murat! Well done. Can't wait to try my own some day.

Edwin

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