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by Marco Sald - The Netherlands

from construction tarp

I always wanted a foldable-canoe since as a (12 year old?, I can’t really recall too good) boy I went out boating on a Volcanic lake in the Eifel region in west Germany in a Klepper (at least that is was I now think it was). He told me and my father (both completely new with these boats of course) to assemble the boat ourselves and gave very little clues on the how-to’s. I recall it took us about a small hour to get it assembled.

Paddling around the beautiful lake (don’t sink your boat, these Volcanic lakes are quite deep…) was a new and “I want that myself” kind of experience. We didn’t capsize…

Anyhow, at 12, you’re too young for a boot [boat] that cost around 2000 dollars at that time so this was it for then. Later on, when in college, I acquired a 2 person polyester kayak that I could strap on the small car of my (then, now wife) girlfriend and we went paddling in summer some times on the quarries connected to the “Maas” river here in the south of the Netherlands. As it was greater than five meters long (>15 feet) and I needed to store it in my parents-in-law’s garden, the kayak was sold after about 2 years use.

Some years went by again and I somehow got interested in folding canoe again, especially after reading the stuff on yostworks. Actually, I wanted to built one myself. After deciding to check out ads on the web, I saw an old LFB Stern (former East German boat, company bankrupt in 1966) being sold for under 300 dollars. So I decided to drive over to these guys and bought it. After some re-varnishing of the bulkheads in the winter of 2010-2011, the boat was ready for it’s baptism by me. I had several small trips on quarries. It paddled great! It even had a mast and sails as well as lee/dagger boards, which I didn’t try yet. It was just nice paddling (alone and with my 7 year old son).

Perhaps I will write a more detailed article on the Stern itself later on, this article is about the protective bag/sack that I constructed to have the PVC outer skin protected when stored away.

At first, the idea was to sew a bag out of thicker cloth like canvas or nylon. But my wife told me this was not very cheap so suddenly (can’t remember how exactly) the thought crossed my mind of making a protective bag out of tarp! 

So I went to the local hardware store and bought a big piece of blue tarp, the type also used in construction for covering up all kinds of stuff (like building material) against the elements. After laying out the canoe skin on the tarp, I could make out bag dimensions and cut the tarp with scissors. The Toyota sewing machine did the rest. It wasn’t always easy to sew in a straight line but practice makes the master as they say here. It was however amazingly easy to sew. I first though that the tarp would be a much harder proposition for the Toyota than it turned out to be.

Edges were sew a couple of times to ensure strength, although I must say that even sewn once it was already remarkably strong and I just used regular white yarn that is also used for sewing normal clothing.

The closing flap was outfitted with a self adhesive Velcro strap that I also sewed once to make sure it stayed on properly.

The end result is very pleasing I believe, paving the way for more of these projects in the future.

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