Selkirk High student builds canoe from wood loosed in landslide

Selkirk High student builds canoe from wood loosed in landslide

It all started on a whim and a chance after a landslide loosed cedar logs and a Selkirk High School shop class teacher asked who wanted to turn them into a canoe.

“I don’t know really, I just kind of wanted to take on the challenge,” said Ashlin Robertson, a senior at Selkirk High School, “it seemed pretty cool so I just went for it.”

The wood was milled and a year’s worth of work began. Under the guiding hand and watchful eyes of Robertson, logs were cut into cedar strips and built and bent into shape. The shell of a canoe started to take shape.

“For the ribs we took birch and laminated them together,” she said. “We glued them and then clamped them down.”

For the modest craftswoman in training, it was a task and a half to go through all the steps required to make a boat.

Most of the work though ended up being sanding.

“It’s a huge art project,” she said. “The biggest I’ve ever done. It was a lot of trial and error and a lot of sanding.”

The almost finished product is beautiful to behold, an impressive show of skill, made all the more impressive by the fact that Robertson has only been taking shop for two years.

“I can’t wait to see it in the water,” said Robertson.

She says when it’s all finished up, she’s going to take it out just once before hopefully selling it.

What she earns, and she’s hoping for the amount to be in the $5,000 range, will be used to buy a car to get her to college.

“I plan on going to Eastern Washington University and plant to study to be a shop teacher,” she said.