Between the 1870s when more Americans than ever before wanted a boat, but white birch trees large enough to make birchbark canoes had become scarce, and all-wood canoes were expensive – and the 1950s when another unprecedented wave of recreational boating was met with canoes made from aluminum and fiberglass – thousands of wood-canvas canoes were built. Even by modern standards, these were light and strong boats built to beautiful and efficient designs. They were usually built of durable materials like white cedar and copper – so kept out of the weather, would last indefinitely. The cotton canvas skin – while rugged enough to stand up to rocky whitewater – was prone to abrasion, rot, or most commonly, cracking from too much paint, too little use, and years of hanging in the rafters. Today, these boats can still be found in barns or at yard sales, needing only a few evenings’ and weekends’ worth of “hundred-year touch-up” to be on the water again; to be an admired family heirloom again.
In this course, we will refurbish two wood-canvas canoes – one 20′ square-sterned Voyager canoe http://www.wooden-canoes.com/canoes/voyager.htm currently in service at Kroka Expeditions in Marlow NH http://www.kroka.org needing new canvas and structural repairs from heavy use – and one 16′ canoe of unknown age, by an unknown builder, that was found hanging in a barn (maybe the class will include uncovering hints to this boat’s origin!).
This class will meet Thursday evenings 7:00 – 9:00, for eight sessions February 23 – April 13, at the Boat House at Kroka Expeditions, 767 Forest Rd., Marlow, NH 03456
Tuition is a suggested $30 per class, or $200 for all eight sessions.