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The Incredible Paper Canoe

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I had the (perhaps) dumb idea about making paper mache boats after doing some research on paper mache racing shells (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papier-m%C3%A2ch%C3%A9).
From the first couple of experiments with paper, I found that the material was pretty strong and light, so I made a canoe out of it!
Using several pounds of homework from last semester school, I created a super awesome canoe!

Why paper?
Since it's light, cheap, and flammable (but don't light it)!

 
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Step 1: How the boat works

Picture of How the boat works
The canoe is basically super strong paper mache that was shaped by a mold.
I built a mold first and put paper on top.

What you need:
Lots of paper (stuff that soaks up water)
Waterproof glue and flour
Water
Vinegar
Scrap wood (more on what kind on the next step)
Mesh or strips of something flexible
Epoxy, glue, or paint for waterproofing

Sorry no pic.
rippa7001 year ago
When I make bulk paper mache I soak the paper in a big bin overnight then stir it with a stick next day. Very easy to get a really good mix that way. Doesn't matter if it is too wet - just squeeze it out. Much stronger than layering paper.
got any bamboo handy? use strips for your frame...you could even shred it to add criss/cross with the papier mache and strengthen it further...might preclude you having to use cross braces later on.
Bamboo will suck water all along its length. You see that on counter tops. A drop or two of grape juice will quickly wick for a few feet in bamboo. Bamboo rafts work as they have a pipe like shape with the pipe holding air but you can bet that bamboo gains a lot of weight every time it gets soaked.
I think that when working with paper and glue or even papercrete it is best to keep the mix on the dry side so there is less water to shed out of the final product.
glorybe2 years ago
There used to be some really pretty and highly functional paper canoes about 1900 and even earlier. But we now have a problem. The paper they used contained a lot of fabric much like a dollar bill does. It was quite superior to paper we can buy today. Matter of fact the centers of wheels on railway cars were paper and a metal rim just surrounded the wheel centers. A varnish like paint kept those wheels water free and the layers of paper were put under huge pressure until they dried.
Also I would use Elmer's Exterior paintable carpenters glue to join the paper layers. That is a super strong, water proof, glue. Since that glue tends to grab plastic as well you might be able to glue on a layer of blue tarp to toughen the build.
macrumpton2 years ago
Great boat!
A couple of thoughts for your next one.
Structurally the boat gains most of its strength (for resisting folding up under your weight) from the vertical sides of the boat, so the thicker and taller you make them, especially in the middle the stronger the boat will be.

If you look at how surfboards and many kitplanes are made, they make the shape out of some kind of stiff foam (urethane or styrofoam, it does not matter for this) and then cover the foam with a thin hard shell, in their case fiberglass and in yours paper mache'. The benefit of this is that the thickness of the foam allows the hard shell to simulate a much thicker hard shell without the extra weight because most of the stress is carried on the outside edges of the shell and not by the foam. The foam helps keep the shell from buckling by giving it a stiff stable base to stick to.


Good luck on your future Paperventures.
kleinjahr2 years ago
Not bad at all. Good idea about using window screen as reinforcement. I think I.d put a bit more wood into it, keelson ,gunwales and some ribs . It'd help maintain the shape.
You might find these of interest,http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/1082,http://www.boat-links.com/books/electron.html, http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~fassitt/canoe_mirror/canoe_sailing.html
tres cool! mui excellente'! I like it! I'll suggest this to my students...a great motivator to get them to put something on paper!
try a 'release' layer of plastic cling wrap first so you don't stick!
Great project!! I hope you get to paddle it soon
Kiteman2 years ago
We definitely need to see this in action, preferably a video of it's launch and first use.
ANDY! (author)  Kiteman2 years ago
Expect failure ;)
Kiteman ANDY!2 years ago
I expect comedy!
ANDY! (author)  Kiteman2 years ago
I shall do that as soon as I can!
l8nite2 years ago
thats awesome ! check out some of my "ibles" I use a paper mache made with acrylic paint, it dries very hard and virtually waterproof by itself
rimar20002 years ago
Great job, congrats!
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