Wooden It Be Loverly? The Wooden Boat Mystique

No doubt about it, wooden boats have a lot going for them. They’re elegant, traditional, and efficient. And they rot. (Yes, this is a good thing.) But is a wooden boat the right boat for you? Take three minutes to find out, with just a little help from Farwell.

by Farwell Forrest | May 8, 2018

Paddling Article on Tamiasoutside.com

A canoe or kayak is, first and foremost, a hole in the water. The shape of the hull is what matters. The material it’s made of is less important. Serviceable boats have been built of everything from paper to concrete. Still, most boaters have strong preferences. This is especially true of wooden-boat buffs. It’s easy to see why. Wooden boats can be beautiful, and wood’s a pretty good material from an engineering standpoint, too. It’s rigid, naturally buoyant, an excellent insulator, and widely available. But is it a good material for your boat? That depends on you, and on the sort of boating you want to do.

A recent article by Tamia described wood-canvas canoes as “pricey luxury good[s].” That’s a bit offhand, perhaps, but it’s not really unfair. If you’re looking for the cheapest way to the water, wood’s not the material for you. That’s also true if varnishing isn’t your idea of a good time. And what if whitewater’s your thing? Then plastic is the go-to option, though like most easy options, it carries a hidden price tag. How does speeding up the destruction of Canoe Country ecosystems sound? A hint: Like the impending climate catastrophe, it’s not somebody else’s problem. But that’s a subject for another day. Now, though, let’s take a closer look at wood … Continue on our sibling site, Back in the Same Boat…

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For half a century, Tamia Nelson has been ranging far and wide by bike, boat, and on foot. A geologist by training, an artist since she could hold a pencil, a photographer since her uncle gave her a twin-lens reflex camera when she was 10, she's made her living as a writer and novelist for two decades. Avocationally her interests span natural history, social history, cooking, art, and self-powered outdoor pursuits, and she has broad experience in mountaineering, canoeing, kayaking, cycling, snowshoeing and skiing.