Introduction: Bamboo Canoe

About: i live in kerela(the god's own country)

i always had thought of rowing a boat and going to the other side of the one day i borrowed my neighbours canoe and tried to was our first time.

me and my friend did a dozen 360s and with much effort we managed somehow to make it back to the shore safely....back where we started .....meanwhile all this circus was being watched by the emotinal owner and there was a crowd gathered there to critisize us...The other side of the river thus became a distant dream..but then i thought why not build one(my father had once told me about a bamboo canoe)!!.. heres how i made it..under 1000rs=14$


bamboo(all the bamboo used should be free of any rough edges.It shouldnt have any branches or sharp edges.all should be smoothened with a knife or chopper)

vettukathi(chopper knife/a broad heavy sword)




big needle

cutting machine

plastic sheet

sheet which is made out of gunny jute bags

v-shaped tree branches("kavatta" in malayalam)


opening up the bamboo.>>place the chopper at the middle of the bamboo and hit it with the hammer so that the bamboo will open up in a wedge in between the two halfes of the bamboo peices and open up the rest of the bamboo with the chopper.You can again open up this half bamboo peice you can get several peices from opening a single bamboo.

We need stingers which are long(this decides the lenght of the canoe) and we need ribs which are short and they become shorter when nearing the ends or corners of the take the bamboo peices accordingly.the ribs need not be all bamboo.i used several sticks,bamboo peices,and iron rod which i bend to form the rib.


step 1

bend the sticks and make a bow by tieing a string.tie the thus made bows to the middle stringer(approximately the stick's middle part should be tied to the stinger) these bows act as the ribs.the ribs should become smaller when nearing the end.So make a few bows like tha and tie it to the middle stinger (by middle stringer i mean the the bamboo peice which acts as the strongback).tie all the stringers to these ribs

step 2

to make the tying of the stringers to the bows(or ribs)easier...we should tie up loose ends of the stringers all together at both the ends. By now the structure should slowly look like a canoe. Place the rest of the bows (or ribs) inside the longitudinal curvy stringers and tie them onto the stringers.(YES,THE MAIN PART OF BUILDING THIS IS TYING ALL THE STRINGERS TO THE RIBS AT EVERY NODES).

step 3

when nearing the end/corner you cant bend a stick or bamboo peice to that wil break.So we should get v-shaped tree branches and tie them to the stringers at the corners.This is an important step as it decides the sturdiness of the canoe.

step 4

now u should take whole sturdy bamboo and tie it to the middle stinger...(For strength and sturdiness.this will be the bamboo which we sit on)

step 5

take two whole bamboo and tie it to the edges(this is where we place our hands and this wouldbe the peice to which we will sew the cover sheets)

step 6

For rigidness ,take a whole bamboo(which is straight and strong) and place it across(horizontally) touching the edges and tie them up.(like seats of a regular canoe).You can do this 2 or more times for extra rigidness.

step 7

cut off all the remaining extra protruding ribs with a cutting machine or saw.

step 8

you can place and tie some more longitudinal bamboo peices to the exterior of the canoe framework and tie them up so that when we put our canoe in the water the sheets would not protrude inside in an ugly fashion.

step 9

cut off all the strings of the bow.after cutting all the strings of the bow there will be a net outward force applied by the ribs to the stringers.


cover it with something water proof.i covered it with 3 layers---

1>jute gunny bag sheet

2>plastic sheet

3>jute gunny bag sheet

the jute gunny bag sheet's purpose is to protect the plastic sheet from tearing.

Finally sew these sheets to the framework.i sewed the sheets to the bamboo(which i did not open or cut) which is at the edge.

Step 5: ​ENJOY

u would probably need 4 men for carrying it and putting it in the water.

It might be little wobbly.

for the paddle i used the wood of the cocunut leaf(it is simply called "madal" in malayalam)


maybe u could use cable ties instead of the strings.

maybe u could add more weight for stabilising.

maybe u could fit a fin instead of adding more weights for the stabilisation(ie..for reducing the wobbling)


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Participated in the
Maker Olympics Contest 2016