Canvas Canoes-How would a canvas canoe “navigate” made of long, thin strips to run lengthwise, and common barrel hoops for ribs?
Two year ago I built a canoe of nearly the same description, using barrel staves about two inches wide instead of hoops. These were wide enough for only one side and were nailed to a wide, flat keel. Oak and ash staves proved to be the best as all the beech staves would either break or sliver after being steamed. The completed canoe proved to be a very light and strong one, but leaked considerably on account of being covered by very light canvas. Shortly afterwards two of my friends built a boat using several forms instead of timbers, 7/8th inch by 1 inch pine strips were used and heavy canvas well painted. She was very heavy, but dry and seaworthy, and in her they made a journey of 65 miles along the coast and back. I do not recommend the using of forms as they make the canoe heavy and are always in the way.
A reader writes as follows: I will say that a friend and I once built such a canoe and for speed and lightness of weight it could not be beat; but for use on the trap line, where one is continually running ashore, such a canoe would not last long. For pleasure paddling it is a great boat.
Another reader writes: I helped build such a boat as above described. If the hoops are new and flawless they are strong enough to split, making two ribs out of each hoop. In approaching the ends cut a small V-shaped niche in the inside of the hoop where it passes through the centerboard. This will avoid “splintering” and sharp corners which are liable to wear the canvas. The boat should be covered with one piece of canvas, never try to piece it, as this will surely result in leakage.
Still another: Someone wanted to know about a canvas boat. I made one several years ago that was 12 feet long, about 21 inches wide and 10 inches deep in the body. It was a good boat for its size, but was a little shallow. It was made of dogwood sticks for ribs and small ash piece for the center strip and two small strips around the sides and bottom. The ribs were bent square at the outer edge, making the bottom flat. The upper edge was made of quarter ceiling boards with both ends of the boat pointed. The bottom must be partly flat or the boat will turn over too easily. I had a time with mine about this and finally made it over right. The front end should be made even on each side or the boat will run sideways. The size I mentioned will hold 250 to 300 pounds, I think, and is so light that a 16-year-old boy can carry it a mile.
Harding, A.R.. 3001 Questions and Answers. Columbus, Oh: A.R. Harding, 1913.
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