Every year, we cast our canoe on ‘casting day’ involving 20-30 members working at a time. This day usually takes place on the first weekend in January after school starts. However the entire development of the canoe is a time consuming process that stretches many months.
####Phase One: Research and Development In this phase, we do research to develop an ideal mix and hull design. See those respective sections for more details.
After the hull design has been finalized, a male mold is constructed from styrofoam using CNC machinery. This mold, made in pieces, is then assembled, sanded and shrink wrapped to prepare for casting.
After our mix has been decided on, all its dry components are put in plastic bags so they are ready for casting day.
On casting day, concrete is mixed and hand-cast onto the surface of the canoe. Care is taken to ensure layers are thin and uniform in thickness. After each layer of concrete (except the outermost layer), we add a layer of carbon fibre weaving, and care is taken to make sure the weaving is incorporated into the concrete. This all-day event is the most important day of the year for the team.
A humidity tent is built for the canoe on casting day, and the canoe is left to cure for several weeks. During this time, the canoe hardens and strengthens.
After it has cured, the mould is removed from the interior of the canoe, and is destroyed in the process.
The cured canoe often has a rough, uneven surface that can be sanded down. We use a combination of belt-sanders, sandpaper, and grinders to achieve a smooth finish. This is a time-consuming process.
The canoe is then finished using sealer and letters (either painted or decals) are placed on the canoe showing our school and the name of the canoe. In the past few years we have further decorated the canoe using acid stains with excellent results.