Tom Huang – Studio Projects

All work and no play….
May 10, 2011, 1:03 pm
Filed under: Bamboo Canoe, Design


As the saying goes, “All work and no play makes jack a dull boy” My studio practice includes a strict regiment of play. Sometimes it is metaphorical; when I am engaged in a creative exploration where the intention is to try hard not to be self-critical of the outcomes. Other times, it is play!

My most recent play experience was a solo trip out to Clinton lake here in Lawrence. What started out as a leisurely two day camp, turned into a weekend research project on the performance of the Bamboo Canoe. The varying conditions on the lake this weekend were a perfect proving ground to study the characteristics of the canoe’s Rob Roy inspired shape.

Conditions on Thursday:

During gusty times, small white caps appeared making for an exciting ride. Moving down wind I was able to catch a few swells for a short ride on the surf.
In general I felt in control and balanced. Despite the wind, the boat tracked evenly, the key was to ballast the boat with the gear.

I was traveling with 40 Lb. pack. I found that tucked directly in front of me, with my legs wrapped around the pack, the boat felt even more stable (our center of gravity had to have been right at the waterline.)

When headed into the waves, there was a rare wave that would throw spray into the boat. My thoughts immediately moved toward designing a spray skirt that would extend the bow-deck. A design that could be clipped onto the stem band and then to the scuppers on the gunwales.

Friday, two neighbors moved into the next site. Highly enthusiastic about the boat, the were quick to overlook their original annoyance that I had arrive a day earlier to claim the picturesque site that perches wonderfully above the lake.

Mike and Marcos were keen on giving me feed back on the boat. On saturday, morning, the weather cleared and the warm condition tempted me into a swim. Before my departure, they each took a turn paddling, they helped me document a stability test, and with a gps they brought along, we were able to track my top speed on the water. On a short burst, I accelerated to 7.2 mph.

I’m hoping Mike and Marcos will drop me a link to the video they shot of the stability test.


1 Comment so far
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Tom-It was great meeting you and thanks for letting me ride in your canoe! I think Mike will be sending you the video soon. He just got back from Japan and Guam. Keep up the good work! Marcus

Comment by Marcus DeMond

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