as the students wove the Kevlar Roving over the slim ash ribs of
the canoe, I thought back to a few months earlier when we were all
watching this same scene on a video in the classroom.
The idea of
building a boat seemed like a great way to introduce new skills
and freshen up the curriculum in our high school shop. However,
the complex curves and costly materials involved made me wonder
if such a project would prove to be too difficult for the students
and too expensive for the budget. Both concerns faded when I came
across a construction technique used to build Ultalight watercraft.
The creator of the method, Platt Monfort, was building one of his
canoes in the video we watched earlier. Plans and partial kits are
available for 22 diferent ultalight canoes, boats and sailing rigs.
All are based on a simple arrangement of Kevlar reinforced wood
frames covered with a heat shrinking Dacron fabric.
We looked over
the designs to find one suited to first time builders and chose
a 14-foot 20-pound canoe. The plans included blueprints and an instruction
manual. For convenience we orded a partial kit.
the canoe turned
out to be a worthwhile project for our shop program. It sparked
both interest and enthusiasm from both students and administrators
while demonstrating new ways to utilize materials and processes.