Build Your Own Skin-on-frame Canoe

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Skin-on-frame boats evolved from baskets. Coracles -- round, basket-like crafts -- are still in use in Wales for salmon fishing; Irishmen still row their Currachs off their wild west coast, and native people of the arctic still fish from kayaks and umiaks. Yet these boats also appear in a variety of modern forms -- from tough whitewater, aluminum-framed take-down boats, to wood-framed, nylon skinned baidarkas. In this course you will build and take home your own ultra-light double paddle canoe. These boats are perfect for flat water paddling, and they are light enough to easily car-top or carry from car to water or from pond to pond. Over the course of the week, we’ll steam and install ribs, lash the stringers (longitudinal pieces) to the ribs, install the inwales and complete the frame, skin the boat with a tough polyester cloth, waterproof the skin, and christen the boats in the pond. Students will build a 13 1/2 foot canoe rigged for both solo and tandem use. It will weigh only about 27 pounds.

This course is best suited for two people working on one boat and ideally, students will sign up as pairs to work on the project together. You are welcome to sign up as an individual; although, we do encourage you to invite someone to join. Discounted tuition is offered for students signing up together. Please email [email protected] to sign up as a pair.

If you are signing up as an individual and would welcome an assistant, let us know! We may be able to pair you with a student who is interested in learning the skill and does not want/need a boat of their own. If you're interested in signing up as an assistant (i.e. helping someone else build their boat), let us know! We can offer discounted tuition to assistants.  

Meaghan Vigeant, a alum of the 2017 course, shared her experiences with Maine Boats, Homes and Harbors Magazine. You can read the article here.

Course Reviews:

"I liked how the course was set up to give you as much or as little assistance needed to construct the canoe. Those who had background experience with tools and building things were able to go off and do their own thing, while beginners like myself received the proper amount of guidance to go and build."

"Hilary and Justin are natural teachers. They are easygoing, approachable and knowledgeable"

Category

Building Systems Design and Building Science

Competency

All levels

Credits

  • Sterling College: 2 Continuing Education Units ($260 additional)
  • American Institute of Architects (AIA): 14 Learning Units