The Boat Build

April 19, 2005

If you know me, you know that I am in the process of building a canoe in my garage. You probably also know that this project has been going on since the Carter administration.

It hasn't really been that long, but I did start cutting out forms the day that LSU played in the Cotton Bowl. So that would put me two years and four months into the build.


This is a project that probably takes most hobbyists a couple of months.

The main problem is that I have a really small garage. When it gets cluttered up with crap from other things that are going on, that puts my canoe building on hold until it gets cleaned out.

Then, I lose my momentum, and it's hard to get started again.

Last night, I went out and started working again. I'm to the point where the outside of the canoe is fiberglassed, and I'm whittling the sticks that make up the body on the inside from a series of flat planks to something resembling a smooth curve. The main tools are the planer and the palm sander.

This is one of the most satisfying steps in the build. It feels a little like being a sculptor. I can run my hand over one section of the boat, and it feels like a bunch of sticks. On another section, it feels like a smooth curve.

On top of that, I get to hear satisfying scrape of metal cutting wood. And I get the smell of fresh cut cypress.

If that isn't enough, I mix in a caffeine drink and a taste of tobacco.

It took twenty minutes to get back into the swing of it, and then it became amazingly enjoyable.

I'm on my way to the garage now.