Me With a Canoe?
You gotta be kiddin'
by Richard Frye

I have to admit that canoes of any kind have never been my on my list of favorite watercraft. One reason is that the last "plastic" canoe I owned weighed a very heavy 90 pounds! Sold it to a buddy that thinks of it as the Queen Mary and loves it! Well, I think the cheese slid off his cracker! But he did find out from the huge dent in the entire roof of his Buick that she was a dumpling of a boat and a bitch to get on and off by ones self. Kinda like carrying an old girlfriend across the threshold 20 years down the road. Dat's somethin you just don't do at my age.......... unless you plan to be in the chiropractors office for therapy at least 2 days a week!

My New Yawk buddy Steve Fisher...most of ya'll know him or about him builds a lot of these canoes, retired, has this know…the one we all have, etc., and while we were at the Kingston Messabout back in Sept. of '03 up in Canada I got to try out the canoe he talked about...a Selway-Fisher design called Li'l Kate.

He really got my attention when he told me how much it weighed! Very very light! Around 20 pounds or so. But was still a damn canoe and with somebody as cluttsie as me…was an excellent recipe for total disaster! And…with that type of boat in my past would wind up giving me a good bath sooner or later...nomatter how cold it was!

Never did like that shit too much so I was turned away from this type of boat in my early years although I had owned several in wood, aluminum and plastic!......they were all the same! Once I got in this tiny canoe of 11 or so feet total length with a 27" beam and sat my butt on the bottom on a really comfortable molded kayak seat my entire perspective of "canoes" changed.

I had my life jacket on!……..Cause I expected to git wet! First of all IT was light. Second...SHE was stable. Hmmmmmmm! You notice I'm starting to get personal with her now! Third... She was extremely fast for such a short boat and Fourth...easy to maneuver. Needless to say ...I was impressed! I am usually not impressed by any canoe but still polite and even if a homemade boat is uglier than my old girlfriend, there is still something beautiful about her.

Actually the Li'l Kate is a petite and very pretty little boat! Kinda like the girlfriend you always dreamed about! After playing around in Steve's Li’l Kate several times, I discovered.. I ain't too old to be struck by the "Love Bug"! I finally forced myself to admit that I had to have one.......or two..cause I kept going back to her and taking her out again! Women do that to a man you know! She comes in a variety of versions now thanks to Steve's prodding with Selway-Fisher. I don' think there is any relation there but I could be wrong! They even have a "BIG KATE" now with a wider beam and raised seat that Steve built for Renee and from the last report from Florida she was doing fine!

I hate folks that do that to me when I'm ass deep to a Giraffe in snow.......Telling me all the fun they are having in 80 degree weather... and that he is growing very fond of this new version since she does have a larger carrying capacity......and now they even got a tinsey wintsey 6 footer that Steve more or less designed...I gotta see that one! Yall recon that's one for each foot? Anyway, after several years of searching, I finally found a lumber yard that could git me some 1/8th lauan and got 10 sheets at 10.50 per sheet, but if I had to I was and had planned to use 1/4" or the 5.2mm stuff we normally use for a cheap boat and build a 4 panel version.

They also have a 5 panel with computer faired drawings. Since Steve has built'em all, he says that as far as performace goes he can't tell a smidgeon of difference between the 4 or 5 panel but thinks the 5 has a "sexier" look!.........Ok! I'll go along with that but I'm still building the 4 panel to start with!

And to start with you put 2 full sheets together and cut 2 feet off one end,... that's gonna give you a 4'x6' sheet then you rip'er right down the middle and wind up with 4...2x6 foot sheets! This is great when space is crowded. take two panels and lay them with the good sides facing each other, do the same to the other 2 then stack'em all together and now you can lay out the panels, pin’m together with some little bitty nails, and cut ALL the panels at one time! Keep in mind that the material you'll cut is only 1/2" thick if using the 1/8th..flimsey shit! You keep the panels together till you get'em marked with some small brads.

This stuff if flimsy! Those little holes are going to be filled with epoxy when you glass the outside and coat the inside anyway so it won't cause you problems with leaks later. Mine is already cut and when the epoxy gits here we'll start putt'em together cause I’m building 2 ov’m. I've already decided that mine will be a minature Rob Roy........gotta have a deck! I know right now!..... that's really going to piss off Renee...Steves wife! Cause she don't like decked boats!...and I don't like open boats! BTW...that's how I wound up with Steve's Goldeneye that I dearly love. Just didn't have time or the funds to build one!

Ya'll know I perfer the extra protection of a decked know like when I drag that "big" ass fish in...he'll be on deck and not making a mess, bring’n water, slim, weeds, etc., into the bottom of my new boat! But the main this is……..Have yall ever tried to do an Eskimo Roll in a canoe? It’s a lot more difficult than yall could ever imagine! In a closed up boat with a nice fitting spray can put on a diving mask, do a turtle, check out the fishing situation if the water is clear and then come back up with out having to swim to shore and borrow another boat just to go git yo shit dats float’n all over the damn lake! That’s happened to me a lot in canoes! I'm also updating my Teardrop by putting much larger cabinets over head and inside. Should have done that in the beginning but I didn't know what I was doing............still don't!

But I realize now that I'll have plenty of room and already got the framework, subfacing and doors on! Now I just got the paneling on, I need to put on a few little pieces of trim that I broke git'n off and that'll be done. I was amazed at the room I have to carry a lot more junk and stuff! I'm gonna git a new color TV for the Teardrop too, and might even git a small VCR since I got room fer it! You know...just in case I'm in a campground with electricity and want to watch a movie to break the boredom, etc. So here are some pics of the panels of one Li'l Kate and my "new girl" which is cut and already sewed up! .......and now ya'll know what I'm up to!. This little canoe just might be the "Perfect" boat for the Teardrop!........we'll just have to see. And I’m will’n to go over to the river and freeze my ass off just to try her out! Men will do anything for a new gal! Being a little nuts helps! More updates later. Richard