Let’s Build a Canoe!

Kelsey BrennerAll, Maritime High School

By Danika Brown, Maritime High School Student Blogger

We started working in the woodshop on February 28, and my fellow classmates and I were thrilled to be working there. With a lot of students having prior experience using power tools, building the canoes was somewhat of a breeze. On the first day in the woodshop, we were told to assign group roles to everyone so everyone would have a job and purpose. The roles were Shop Lead, Safety Lead, Design Lead, and Marketing Lead. When everyone got their roles, we were given a basic schedule of what we were going to be doing throughout the week, and we were shown how to use basic power tools such as a power sander and drill.

Our group was split into two to work on two different canoes. The Design Lead started with a simple piece of plywood and measured it to be the sides of the canoe. While the Design Lead was working on the sides of the canoe, the Safety Lead was working on cleaning up all the mess that was left on the floor to keep our shop organized and tidy. After the sides of the canoe were measured, the Shop Lead took over the project and started cutting the sides that were previously measured.

Once one side of the canoe was cut, we proceeded to replicate the process on an identical piece of wood. When we had the two sides of the canoe finished, we got long rectangular pieces of wood to put on the top of the canoe to add some dimension. We glued those pieces onto each of the pieces of wood on the top with gorilla glue. The Design Leads were in charge of putting the glue onto the wood and then spreading it on the wood. In addition to gluing, we were nailing the wood into the canoe to ensure it was secure. While that was happening, the Shop Leads were working on cutting the benches for our canoe using a special piece of technology called the Shaper Origin.

We got a lot done in the first few days, and we were really figuring out how to get through the uncertainty of using power tools. The same small wood that was used on the top of the canoe was going to be used on the inner part of the canoe, so we glued it to the piece of wood and then clamped it to the inside. We then decided that that would be a good time to put the benches on the boat and then push the sides together to form what looks more like a completed canoe. In the end, we ended up with beautiful canoes that Maritime High School students will be able to paddle around in.