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Papier Mache Narrowboat

Papier Mache Narrowboat by Chris Shilling

Chris Shilling has successfully completed his papier mache narrowboat. Here you can follow the project from start to finish. [Updated 25/05/06]

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  • Date addedAdded: May 13, 2005
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But how do you know that the boat floats, and all that stuff?

Well, in its finished form, it has now had (and survived) the bath test! I solved the problem of the boat sitting too high in the water by fitting £20 worth of lead flashing to the hull bottom inside. There are four lead plates, which are removable. It's a matter of debate whether this breaks the "100% paper" rule, but something had to be done to get the trim right, and it was so high that lead plates were the only real option.


Floating in bath
Floating in bath

But how do you know that I'm not just pulling your leg, and it's not an elaborate hoax?

Well, if you look at this photo, you'll see the stern of the boat, in the bath, with the motor running at about half power. That's some churning of the water that she's making!


Making a splash!
Making a splash!

She pulled so strongly, and tried so hard to turn in the bath to answer the rudder during the test, that my Son Robert had to hold her to prevent damage to the bow as she rammed the end of the bath!


Holding on!
Holding on!

After the test, the lead plates were removed, and the false deck at the stern, and the boat inspected for damp. She was as dry as a martini.

Maiden Voyage

On Sunday 14th May 2006 at 10:15 hours, Papillion, the papier mache narrowboat, was gently lowered into the water at the Nottingham University Boating Lake. The motor was fired up, the throttle opened gradually, and she sailed out into the lake, with a HUGE sigh of relief from myself. Of all the boats that I have built, Papillion's was the best and trouble-free maiden voyage. She sits totally level in the water, her bows do not rise under full throttle and she answers to the rudder beautifully. She sailed around the lake for around half an hour, on this first occasion. I have no doubts that she would have been fine had she stayed out there for hours, with her 20 amp hours of lead acid batteries.

Once back on the lakeside, I gave her a thorough inspection and the inside was totally dry.


Maiden voyage
Maiden voyage

Summary

To be honest, building Papillion the Narrowboat was really quite a pain. Getting the finish right on the paintwork was a total nightmare. I can honestly say that it’ll be the last papier mache boat that I make… (although I did have an idea for another papier mache boat, but I’m trying to talk myself out of it!).

Please visit my website to see my other model boats: http://www.shilbo.com/boats.html

Bon Voyage!


Bon Voyage!
Bon Voyage!

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