Canvassing the Canoe

By Shane Hall


On February 27th South Portland’s One Classroom Project boat building class met at Larry Pixley’s home workshop to attach the canvas onto our 17’ 6” Penobscot Canoe. At a recent Wooden Canoe Heritage Association meeting Larry gave a presentation about his volunteer work at Compass Project helping to spearhead our current project building our first wood canvas canoe. For the critical step of attaching the canvas to the hull we were very lucky to be joined by two of the Northeast’s canoe gurus: Bill Clements and Ed Moses.


The two men did a fantastic job of guiding us through the process of prepping, stretching, and fastening the canvas onto the boat. With the comfort and skill of craftsmen in their element they guided us step by step through this critical process. They stressed the importance of working together and paying attention to what was happening on the other side of the boat. As problems arose along the way they were addressed in a calm and thoughtful manner. Students Alex, Tamera and Jacob all took turns stretching and stapling the canvas, as did their OCP teachers, Jason and Lisa; they all did an awesome job. Teamwork and problem solving comes so naturally when a group of students and adults are all invested in the project on hand.


In addition to donating their time and expertise, both gentlemen donated various canoe building items. Many thanks to Bill for passing along a solid old Atlas Shaper with a round over bit, and a canoe dolly. For making the decks of our canoe, Ed donated a beautiful board of cathedral grained sassafras wood that he hand milled in New Hampshire. We are so grateful to Larry, Bill, and Ed for facilitating such an amazing day.


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