Building the Paper Tcîmânens

Tcîmânens ( dim. Algonquian) little canoe.

Pictorial Overview

canoe drawing

The object is to see if it is possible to build a bark like canoe using paper rather than birch bark. For this experiment an old style Algonquin canoe was chosen as the model.
press 05 A press is constructed to build four sections of paper. Each sections is 35" long and 47" wide.
full sheet To connect the sections into one sheet the press is placed on the floor and extensions added to support the full sheet.
For the finished sheet:
Length: 132.5"
Weight: 16.5 pounds.
Thickness: 3/32 inch (2mm)
Paper : 13 pounds and 6 ozs.
(includes a few ounces
for experimenting).
Glue: About 6.5 quarts.
Number Layers: 11
Number Strips: About 400
Number Strips placed per day: 10 - 12 strips.
basswood Basswood from a recently felled tree is split into manageable sections for milling lumber as required.
stems Stem pieces are formed in a jig; the wooden strips have been steamed as an aid in bending. They are keep in the jig during drying.
outwale jig The outwale, strips that run along the outside top edge of the canoe, are being formed. For this style of canoe the outwales bow rapidly near the stems. Two pairs of these bent sections and are needed to build the both outwales.
inwales in jig The inwales, strips that run along the inside top edge of the canoe, do not require the same amount of bending as the outwales. Two bent sections, plus a center section, are needed to construct each inwale.
frame and stones A building table is built that supports stakes that run along the outside edge of the canoe. The paper sheet is placed on the table and a building frame is held in place by weights on top of the frame. Note that the gores, vertical slits, have been cut in to the paper. Do to the stiffness of the paper it was necessary to reduce the thickness near the stems. Still the paper fractured during bending at the stems.
ends closed The paper has been brought up and held in place with the stakes. The stem piece has not been installed yet.
gore lashings The gores are closed with lashings (rattan cane). This area will be sealed later.
gunwale lashings The gunwale lashings (rattan cane) are started. At each area a wooden peg is inserted through the outwale into the inwale. Note how the epoxy has turned the tan paper dark brown.
thwart installed The two main thwarts are installed. For this solo canoe there is no center thwart.

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pcpage12 Jan. 28, 2008 Bob Bear's Paddling Club