David Parker isn’t one to sit idle. He’s a woodworker, a cook, a musician, a luthier, and a knife-maker, so when the pandemic kept him from going to his job at a musical-instrument wholesaler and confined him to quarters, he wasn’t going to let hours slip by binge-watching his DVD collection of Gilmore Girls. With more time to spend in his shop at home in Oratia, a suburb of Auckland, New Zealand, David made a paper canoe. Using an unconventional material wasn’t new to him. Last year he made a bicycle frame out of wood.

David Parker

The paper canoe was molded over a wood-strip canoe while it was still on the molds.

Laminating paper to make a boat isn’t a new idea. In the 1860s, Elisha Waters of Troy, New York, had a lucrative business making paper boxes, and then in 1867, his teenaged son, George, came to the factory to take advantage of the paper and paste there to make a mask for a masquerade party. At the time, George was also repairing a wooden racing shell, and the proximity of the two projects led him to try using paper and shellac as materials to repair the shell. That worked so well that he considered the possibility of making an entire racing shell that way.

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