How to carve a flax boat
How to carve a flax boat
Today I am going to show you how to carve a flax boat out of 1 length of a seed branch from a New Zealand flax plant and a few of its leaves. This is a light weight material that has a soft wood in the center.
The main tool you will need is a small knife.
Getting the flax seed stalk and leaves
To remove the stalk from the plant use your hands to twist it around - the base should snap off. Then rip off the dead leaves.
Cut into lengths
Use a saw to mark the stick. From the thicker end I marked out two 400 millimeter lengths, and 2 lengths 160 millimeters long. Use the back stroke of your saw to cut the stronger outer layer of flax stalk. Do this all the way around the outside then the long hair like strands of wood won't all pull out and weaken the boat.
Cutting out the slots
Use a small knife (I used my pocket knife), to cut out slots in the side of one of the thick lengths of flax stalk. In all you will need to cut out four round slots. I cut mine 100 millimeters from each end.
Remember whenever you use a knife always be mindful in which direction it is cutting. Always cut away from yourself.
Cutting out the seats
Even though this boat is small it should still be big enough to house a few seats. Here I am cutting out the seat compartments. Cut two slits down the side of the boat. Try not to slice above the cross supports as this will weaken them. Next cut two small slits in the wood to make a rectangular compartment. Use the blade of your knife to carefully lever out this section. Remember you don't want to bend your knife blade. Do this for the other five compartments.
Smoothing out the edges
Decide which end of your boat looks like the front, then taper the ends by trimming off the wood with your knife.
Making the sails
For the sails you will need a small section of flax stalk. Use your knife to whittle off lengths of the bark to use as a mast for the sail. Prepare the flax leaf by cutting off the unusable pieces, such as the split ends.
Trimming the sail into shape
Use the point of your knife to piece a slit in a section of flax leaf and poke this onto a small sliver of flax bark. Then use scissors to trim your sail into a triangle.
Add the sail to your boat
Here I am finishing the second sail and putting them on the boat. I did this by piecing the cross section of flax stalk and inserting the flax sliver.
Completed and ready for the water
As a final step I cut up small slivers of flax leaf to line the seats of my boat. Now your boat is ready for the water. You can put Lego men into the seats and float it in your bath or you can take it to your local river and watch if float on down. (Don't use Lego for this part). Another idea is to cut out a second boat and use string to tie the boats together. Then tie the last boat to a long length of string which you hold while walking alongside the river following the progress.
You can also tie your boat to a kite string and then you could go to the beach and watch it float out while your Dad's fishing. Make sure the line doesn't get tangled up.
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