David Parker found himself with a fair amount of free time on his hands during the coronavirus lockdown in Auckland, New Zealand. As a recreational canoeist and a woodwork enthusiast with over 6 years of experience building guitars, he decided that building a canoe would be a suitable way to spend this unprecedented downtime.
Parker quickly grew tired of seeing coronavirus stories in the local newspapers, so much so that he was driven to actually “hide” them. And, as is the case with many old newspapers after (or, if) their primary purpose has been served, they usually live a second life in some form of art or craft. In this case, they became the body of a canoe.
Note that this was not the first canoe build that Parker had on the go (he also had a cedar strip 15-foot prospector canoe-build in the works). Yet conveniently, this additional cedar canoe project ended up serving as the mold for its experimental younger sibling: the newspaper canoe.
Using the cedar strip canoe as a mold, Parker began the process by using 12 layers of paper (paper mache) to form the inside of the canoe. As well as newspaper, he thought it would be funny to use a copy of a popular canoe-building instructional book, “Canoecraft”, to have as the top layer on visible display.
Next, he put a layer of 6oz fiberglass both the inside and outside, making it completely waterproof and durable enough to be used for its intended purpose.
Parker commented that even after the application of the fiberglass, “it was a bit floppy”, but once the wood trim had been added to the hull, there was a lot more strength and rigidity. He then added a thin cap of wood to the gunwales to prevent water from getting into the paper layers.
Watch the video above to see the full start-to-finish process.