Canoe-Building Tradition Begins

Students make the classic 16-foot wooden boats of cedar and mahogany in a traditional and painstaking method. “Canoe building has always been encouraged here,” explains woodworking teacher Carter Sio ’76. “At times, there would be two canoes coming off the mold in one year.”

For some time, canoes are built using a form made by teacher Robert Brown and students Thomas Michener ’28 and Levi Lewis ’28 in 1924. Using that form as a reference, Thomas Michener then builds his own canoe, which he finishes in 1925. It has a long history of traveling down Eastern rivers and is even registered at a boat club on the Schuylkill, and though it eventually falls into disrepair, some of its pieces are mounted on the walls of the woodworking studio. They hang alongside the portraits of George Nutt (the first GS woodworking teacher) and Robert Brown (the second), who, along with Palmer Sharpless, chairman of industrial arts from 1946 to 1984, and Carter Sio, current woodworking teacher, constitute the George School woodshop dynasty.