Bateau Cheap Canoe
I built the cheap
canoe with free plans from Boat
Plans OnLine because I needed a canoe but I couldn't
afford to buy one. All in all, it ended up costing me between
$100 - $150.
I could have done it more cheaply,
but I purposely departed from the plans in a few instances because
I was experimenting with different building processes.
The plans call for the breasthooks
to be made from plywood. I made them from some oak that I had
lying around. The plans also called for a plywood seat in the
middle, which I replaced with one thwart in the middle, my plan
being to put seats fore and aft for paddling with my kids, while
keeping our rear ends off the wet floor of the canoe.
Also, the plans specifically
say to avoid sheathing the canoe in fiberglass, since it is
not worth the expense in a little canoe like this. Because I
am planning to build a sailboat, I wanted to make my mistakes
on the cheap canoe so that, when I made mistakes building the
sailboat, I'd know how to fix them.
After `glassing the seams and
laying down the first coat of epoxy, I glassed the bottom and
the sides on the outside to protect them from rocks.
After sanding and filling the
fiberglass, my six-year-old son Alex and I painted the whole
thing with hunter green exterior latex. When we finally launched
the canoe, we found that the paint held up very well when we
landed the canoe on the shore. We launched the canoe on Harlow
Lake near Marquette, Michigan.
Upon launching the canoe, I was
very impressed that it only drew a couple inches of water, even
with an adult sitting in it. I was a little concerned that the
canoe seemed a bit tender, even with a frightened child sitting
stone still in the front to balance things out.
After dropping Alex off on the
shore, I paddled out a ways and vigorously rocked the canoe
back and forth. I found that it would only go over so far and
then would stiffen up and come back. My kids grew a little braver
after they saw me doing that.
The reaction to the canoe has
been very interesting. In my opinion, it's not much to look
at, but everyone that sees it says, "You built that? Cool!"
I can't wait to get started on the sailboat!