Youth Canoe Building Programs


LOVES Wooden Canoes
I know some folks on this forum (and members of WCHA) have been involved in youth canoe building programs. Recently I wrote on my blog,, about these type of programs and the possibility of developing such programs in Ontario. Last Thursday, I had the opportunity to meet with members of the Wooden Canoe Builders Guild to discuss the possibility of such programs....the folks I talked to were very supportive and willing to help see such programs implemented. So I believe there is definite interest and decided to pursue this further. To that end I developed an idea for the Aviva Community Fund competition, (and even wrote about this proposed idea on my blog, http://reflectionsoutdoors.wordpres...unity-fund-idea-youth-canoe-building-program/).

I would love to hear from anyone with experience in youth canoe building programs....the pros....the cons....number of youth involved in each programs were funded....type of youth such programs have been successful....what was needed for them to succeed....basically anything and everything anybody can offer on youth building programs. I look forward to the responses.
I see you already mention Urban Boat Builders here in St. Paul, Minnesota. They are immediately who came to mind upon reading your post - I've seen their staff out at some of the wooden boat shows in this area. Probably worth talking to...
a lead

This isn't much help but there is a high school in Elsie/Ovid, Mi (sp?) where the industrial arts students are building canoes, and archery. I think strippers and w/c.
RE: Youth Canoe Building Program Idea On Aviva Community Fund Site,

Just a couple of days left....playing catch up somewhat as late in filing idea....but if any of you could add your vote it would be greatly myself....but more so for the youth who could be involved. Together we can "build" on something.

Thanks for any help you can provide.
Today (October 25th), voting begins again for the next round of the Aviva Community Fund (voting opens up at 12 pm. EST)….please consider voting as often as you can (you can vote more than once for each idea) for the Youth Canoe Building Program, (a link is also on the left side of my blog). Your votes are very much appreciated.

Paddles up until later then….and hopefully together we can “build” something special for youth.
Canoe Building at the Canmore Collegiate High School

Hi there,

I'm a school counsellor at the Canmore Collegiate High School in Alberta. We are just outside of Banff National Park in the Canadian Rockies. I've started a wood canvas canoe building after-school program at our school. I have been able to get funding from the Alberta Government through the Development Initiatives Program, Lafarge and Graymont (both local rock industry companies - limestone), The Town of Canmore, Pacific Centre for Leadership (a local organizational consult company), the local Lions Club, Canmore Woodcrafters (a cabinet making company) and a private donor.

The funds helped myself and the school's woodshop teacher travel to Stewart River Boatworks in Minnesota to learn how to construct a wood canvas canoe, purchase a canoe form, and purchase materials to build a canoe with students during the 2010-2011 school year.

We were quite successful in building our first "learning" canoe with Alex Comb at Stewart River. It is a good canoe to refer to as we are constructing the canoe with students.

Pro's to our project so far. We are able to offer an extracurricular program that is different than the school athletic teams and the schools jazz and concert bands. Some kids are just not interested in those programs maybe not athletic enough to get picked for teams or talented musically. So I believe we are filling a gap for those students as well as provide and activity after school when parents are not home yet and kids might otherwise have time to be involved in nonconstructive activities. We have also been able to get buy in from our local community to support the idea.

Con's. This is my current frustration. So far with a bit of marketing, we have not been able to pull in the students that I had hoped we might. The kids who have been interested so far are students who are already pretty involved in afterschool activities. They are either working or involved in sports or are pretty involved in their academics. They can participate once in a while but have to balance a lot of other demands. I had hoped to attract kids who were bored after school, wanted something hands on to work on... I would like to hear about other program (if there are any that have had more successful recruiting students). Other con's ... having a heck of a time with my steambox. I can't get enough steam in the box to soften the ribs well enough. Love to have ideas (or places within the forum) to figure this one out. The lack of adequate steam has made the end ribs a bit of a mess. "Building the Maine Guide Canoe" made it look so much nicer :( We are at the fairing the ribs part and some ribs appear to be shifting on the form. this may have to do with the ribs not being squished down tight enough during our bending efforts. With fairing I hope that planking will lay down well enough.

Those are some initial thoughts. Love to have any feedback on the above.


Have you giving your ribs a soak before you put them into the steam box?

It is also worth while monitoring the temperature of the steam box. I was having trouble in my early days, and discovered the box simply wasn't getting hot enough. A couple of quilts fixed that!
Temperature, temperature, temperature. It is probably the most important factor in steam bending. If your heat is not near or at 212 degrees you’ll be banging your head.

Make the chamber/steam box is as tight as possible (unpressurized)

Make sure you have a steady heat source to boil your water. You need to be able to generate consistent steam and a lot of it to fill your chamber and keep it filled. Once your water boils do not turn the heat down, keep it cranked up.

Make sure you have a good pipe line/connection between the steam rising off the boiling water and the chamber/steam box. Keep the pipe line as large diameter as possible, as short a distance as possible (from pot of water to chamber), and vertical (i.e. try to stay away from moving the steam horizontal.)
steam box issues

I've soaked the ribs for at least two days... but the temperature of the steam box that's something that I think is an issue. A blanket is an idea....I think some metallic foil insulation might help this. Thank you!
steam box issues

The vertical pipe is also an issue as my hose is at a 45 to 70 degree angle or so. I have an old Datsun radiator hose but a bigger hose would be better for sure.

I've heard that putting a thermometer in the box helps to make sure the temp is right before putting the ribs in.

thanks all very much for the ideas. I was wondering if anybody really was able to track posts! It's nice to have a sense of community out there in the ether.

I'm definitely curious if there are other school programs out there operating right now. Please let me know if you know!