ORCA - build your own Lakelander canoe. Well I did!

Chris

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So, just how do you make a wooden canoe? It’s staggeringly simple. You just take some wood and put it together and it comes out as a canoe. And if you believe that you need a poke in the eye with a sharp fish.

It all starts by getting to the Lakes in your Cruiser and new camping trailer. That bit’s really important. You can’t make a canoe without a trailer; it’s actually a law. You must be surrounded by fantastic scenery followed by three days of torrential rain. That bit’s optional.

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So, first thing it to get some sheets of marine ply and cut out utterly random shapes by hand. These sheets are stacked in fours. Really important – let me say this again; REALLY important that when you cut you clamp, clamp and clamp again so that none of the sheets ever move. If they do your boat will come out more like a landing craft shape.

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Then you lay some of the bits out, in the right order is best or you end up with something very strange.

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Using cable ties to begin with, you start to tie planks together in a wobbly, flopping heap.

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Next job, which is a bit odd, is to use strong twine pulled tight, under the hull to give it some shape. Odd yes but it really works.

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After that you have to weld, sorry nail, uhm no screw some gunwales on. Yes, I know gunwales? Go figure. We weren't in Wales and I didn’t have any guns. Moving on.

Oh here’s my mate attempting to fit his gunnels. Gunwales.

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This gives the boat some real shape but strewth they fight you every step as they twist all over the place.

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Once you get the yoke in the middle it all starts to go more rigid.

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Using packers, you get all the planks lined up so there are as few gaps and ridges in the hull as you can make possible.

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Last job before bedtime is to resin the inside with fibreglass tape. Horrid job. Sticky, nasty and errm, sticky. But it firmed the whole thing up so I could get some paint on.

And get the seats in. All the other bits and pieces and about 5 hours of sanding.

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And some pain. Sorry did I say pain? I meant paint.

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So after 4 days you end up with a canoe.

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Stick it on top of your Cruiser and job’s a good’un.

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Thanks to Steve and Dan at Orca. Best Easter weekend I've ever had. Other than the weather which was the worst I've ever endured in my years of camping.
 

uHu

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Wonderful. Looks great. How does it behave in its intended element?
Did you cut all the ply with that handsaw?
 
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Chris

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Yes all hand cut chaps. Only power tool is a cordless drill. All done by hand with planes and saws. Not quite finished yet and there's some fettling to do plus another coat of Valspar before it goes in the water. Not sure when that will be.
 

Paddler Ed

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What sort of weight does it come in at?
How long and wide?

Any particular style of canoe used as the inspiration - it looks a really good flat water boat for more open water (good recurve, not much rocker and a bit of tumblehome)
 

Chris

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Well it's about 23 kg, 14' 6" long and 33.5" wide. Yes it's really a lake boat. I could have put a bit more rocker in there but decided not to once I saw the difficulties people were having. By all accounts, they sail very well indeed.

I wanted a canoe for years and looked at Old Towns etc. I favour the more traditional Canadian style and certainly didn't want a kayak. Thing is that I can claim leisure learning on this through work and that's 50%. If I'd just bought a canoe rather than learn to make one then I couldn't. I just like the shape, feels that it would make a nice boat for a lazy river camping trip.
 

Chas

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I'm always impressed by your workmanship Chris, that canoe shows it, there is great job satisfaction in doing it yourself. Job well done.
podium-016.gif
 

Paddler Ed

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That's a good weight - my Venture Prospector 15 weighs about 33kg and is 15'6"ish long... but it is a 3 layer plastic white water spec canoe...

See if you can track down either Path of the Paddle or Song of the Paddle by Bill Mason - they're not easy to find, but are really good canoe skill books.

Also have a think about a kneeling thwart in there for solo use - I love my kneeling thwart over paddling the canoe "backwards" as it gives me more trim options and better fine control on the boat for turns.
 

Chris

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Thanks Chas, that's very kind.

Will do Ed. Got to get it on the water first. It might not float! It's set up for single paddling actually. The front seat is decorative and something to lash my beer to. I only bought one paddle. Just to be sure ha ha. The seats are adjustable too. I can move them about and up and down. Not electric though. Yet

Lorin, you'd love it. We could do a block booking and do a forum build!
 

Chris

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A poor show indeed and I don't care who knows it. Rain, that wasn't rain it was a vertical tidal wave. Miserable. If I hadn't been on the canoe course I'd have left for home on the second day.
 

Pumpy

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Nice work Chris, looks really good:clap:

We shared the rain btw, was doing the C2C route. We had to abandon the rather exposed campsite on Saturday night, biblical stuff, no B&Bs left anywhere, so we plodded on with the route and wildcamped half way up Breasthigh where it was quite sheltered. Epic storm, made the laning rather interesting!
 

Chris

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Ha ha, no I didn't. They're actually Red Tail paddles from the US. Very nice.

We were out in the rain a couple of times and it seemed pretty quiet, but on both occasions went into a pub to find half the population of Cumbria in there. One place asked if we'd booked! Booked a pub? It was rammed. So were the outdoor shops which oddly all seemed to be open late .....
 
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