This outrigger canoe was fabricated with western red cedar and Bolivian rosewood.


Willgoose had never built a boat before. This project took six months, hard work and a lot of ingenuity, but he was able to create a beautiful handcrafted piece.

Although proud of his work, Willgoose cannot see himself building another boat because it was a “real challenge,” he says with a laugh. “I did as good a quality as I could on the whole thing. I always challenge myself with a project. I pick something really hard to see if I can do it. Either I mess it up or I do a decent job. I always challenge myself. I’m that kind of guy.”

 

One of the things that made the project so difficult was that Willgoose could not find designs for the type of outrigger canoe he wanted to build.
“I searched around and never found a one-person outrigger made in the cedar strip fashion (using 3/4-inch wide and 1/4-inch thick strips) to make the boat,” he says. “A good friend and local boat builder, Rick Crook, recommended a great program where you could design your own hull shape.”

Willgoose used the program to create a ‘twist’ in the traditional fabrication methods; he crafted a seamless deck and hull. “There is no seam where the deck meets the hull,” he says. “So, you don’t know where I started and where I finished. Most boats have a seam between [the two]. On my boat the challenge was to make it look as slick and clean and as simple as possible. That was my goal.”

The seamless look was created by milling a cove strip on one side of a piece of lumber and a round bead on the other side, which allowed them to interlock when attached, Willgoose says.

The normal process is to build the deck and the hull in separate sections and then put them together with the deck overlapping the hull. Willgoose says that most boat makers hide the overlap with pinstripes. “I didn’t want that,” he explains. “I just wanted it to be completely solid — a one-piece unit.”

This outrigger canoe weighs 35 pounds and is 21-1/2 feet long and 9 inches across at its widest point. It was fabricated with light industrial equipment including a Laguna sliding table saw, a Laguna resaw bandsaw and a General Intl planer and sander. Materials used include western red cedar and Bolivian rosewood encapsulated in fiberglass cloth and resin with a varnish on top.

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