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Building a SnowShoe 14 at school in Freeland, Michigan
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A reprint from Industrial Education by Gary Parsch, November 1989

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A reprint from Industrial Education by Gary Parsch, Industrial Arts and Technology, Freeland Jr./Sr. High School, Freeland, MI


Looking on 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.

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