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By Fred Night – Port Orange, Florida - USA

The guy who invented the moaning chair was a pure genius. I wear my seat to a frazzle. I have learned that boats left out in the elements and not used will feel abandoned and slowly fade away. When such boats are rediscovered, rot and mold will have taken over for better or for worse. Do not try to keep eight boats happy and useful, there will be jealousy and despair. Better to have fewer then to try to please many. Out of this predicament a new boat is born.

Once before, Ken Simpson, another pure genius, inspired me to build Ruby a three-part canoe that has served me well. From this gem an idea was formed to build a larger take-apart canoe that would still fit in a small space for transport. This craft would have a six foot center and curved matching ends with Viking dog heads on each bow to ward off evil stink pots. This was easier said than done, how far could Luan plywood and thin chines bend?

Ken Simpson’s ez-2canoe gives great ideas on the use of light plywood and Titebond III glue; he inspired me to build with 1 x 2 furring strips and Luan plywood. I first made up the end panels of all the sections out of the 1 x 2’s sandwiched between Luan. I then formed the angled joining strips. Now I was ready to made up the middle section by bending some Luan sides around a temporary center frame and attaching the end pieces. I angle cut my furring strips to form chines and gunnels then glued on a bottom. I put some floor bracing inside and removed the temporary center frame. A mid-brace was added for strength and ease of handling. This mid-section is the work area with the two end sections built light and not reinforced. The mid-section settled at 66 inches long, 32 inches at the widest bending to 23 inches at the two ends. The two end sections proved to be the inspiration of the whole Viking thing. Each section is 22 inches at their butt end and tapering to a long 2-inch snout. This fine bowhead was a piece of 1 x 10 shelving between the two Luan sides of 48 inches. The sides were then subjected to extreme bending outward to meet the end piece. The thin chines and gunnels on each end piece spent three days in a swimming pool before taking their twists.

All in all this is an interesting boat. The end sections weigh only 20 lbs each with the big middle is coming in at 50 lbs. I have a 14-foot canoe that weighs 90 lbs and can fit in a space 6 foot long, 3 foot wide and 2 foot high.

In the water the crazy Viking war canoe moved right along for a flat bottomed boat. My former first mate rejoined my crew upon seeing the beauty of this fine craft. Together we weigh in a little shy of 300 pounds and set both the bow and stern in the water with plenty of freeboard. There is little or no wake following the pointy stern.

Now where can I get a helmet with horns like Hagar the horrible?

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