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Chinese Sampan

Make a Chinese Sampan.

From early in China’s history, its rivers, lakes and canals were its main highways. Fisherfolk propeled small wooden boats across the water with a single oar or pole at the stern. These were often roofed with mats, like the sampans still seen today. Large wooden sailing ships, which we call junks, sailed the open ocean. They were either keeled or flat-bottomed, with a high stern and square bows. Their sails were made of matting stiffened with strips of bamboo.

You will need:

  • Thick card,
  • Thin card,
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Scissors,
  • White glue and glue brush,
  • Masking tape,
  • Seven wooden barbecue sticks,
  • String,
  • Thin yellow paper,
  • Acrylic paints,
  • Paintbrush and water pot.

Click on the picture for larger view

Glue base templates C and D to side template B as shown. Hold the pieces together with strips of masking tape while the glue dries. When dry, remove the masking tape.

Step 1

Glue the remaining side B to the boat. Stick the runner A pieces to the top of the sides and secure with masking tape. Make sure the ends jut out at the front and back of the boat.

Step 2

Glue floor E to the center of the base. Add the floor F templates to the ends of the base. Stick the edge G templates in between the edge of the runners and leave to dry.

Step 3

Bend two barbecue sticks into arches. Cut two sticks into struts. Tie struts to the sides and top of the arches. Make a second roof by bending three barbecue sticks into arches.

Step 4

Cut the thin yellow paper into strips, each measuring 4 x ½in. Fold the strips in half as shown. The strips will make the matting for the two boat roofs.

Step 5

Paint the boat and the roof sections and allow them to dry. Glue the roof matting strips to the inside of the roofs. When the glue is dry, place the roofs inside the boat.

Step 6

To add the finishing touch to your sampan, make a boatman with an oar and rowlock to propel the vessel.

Chinese Sampan

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