Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Paper Canoe

Johan from Belgium emailed me another link on alternative bark canoes a while ago posted on Bob Bear's canoe site. Bob did an outstanding job documenting construction of a small-sized bark canoe replica using paper for the hull. I guess it's not that far fetched given that birchbark (often called Paper Birch) just consists of naturally glued laminated sheets held together by a waterproof resin. Given the absence of bark in Bob's area, he resourcefully made his own bark substitute with sheets of paper laminated in his workshop.

Laminating paper sheets; Hull Fold Up

He also deviated from standard birchbark building by using other materials that were available to him - including heavier ash for the ribs and basswood for the stem pieces, sheathing, and gunwales; rattan cane for the lashing. Delicate areas of the paper hull subjected to stress were strengthened with epoxy, including any seams. In the end, he ended up with a 10' 4", Old Style Algonkin Hunter's Canoe with a 28" width (same as my boat) and a depth of 11 1/4". For step by step details, check out his online article Paper Canoe: Building the Paper Tcîmânens

Paper canoe hull

Bob's Paper Algonkin Hunter's Canoe

Along with Plywood Canoes discussed earlier, it seams there are lots of ways to overcome a shortage of quality birchbark to build these wonderful canoes

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