Contact me at: rrcp@mts.net or by phone 204.878.2524

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Lots of stuff goes on in this shop, located in Lorette, Manitoba.

Primarily it's the building and repair of classic wood & canvas canoes, and the making of premium canoe paddles. I also do custom boat building, composite fabrication, and special projects. A growing passion of mine is the making of classical guitars, I'll post about that, too.


I want to be able to share with my clients the progress of their commissioned work. Later I started thinking that there might be other people who are interested in what goes on inside a wooden canoe shop operated by an artist and a recovering teacher.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me by email, phone, or by post. My mailing address is:

Red River Canoe & Paddle
P.O. Box 78, Grp 4, RR 2
Lorette, Manitoba
Canada
R0A 0Y0




Monday, October 27, 2008

I was able to get the new NRC ready for varnishing last Friday, but didn't quite have enough time to get a coat of varnish on before the end of the work day. It takes a full hour or two to brush on a coat of varnish.


Sure, I could slop on a coat faster, but its important to make sure that it lays out as flat as possible, that there is no debris in it, and that there are no runs or sags. It takes less time to work clean that it does to correct errors later. This is an important aspect of craftsmanship that is often lost on beginners: that its faster overall to take a little extra time early than it is to race through and have to spend a lot of time later, correcting.


There were a lot of details to get done before I could brush out a coat of varnish: clenching any tacks that were not quite tight enough, trimming down the top planking for the gunnel rabbet, cleaning sanding and picking out any little brass shards from the canoe tacks, and, finally, sanding all the ribs to 220 and vacuuming out the dust.


Scheduling the varnishing is a tricky time in the shop, you can't rush it, and dust is the enemy, so while its drying I have to be careful not to make more dust. Difficult to do in a wooden boat shop!


Done!

Tomorrow I get all the fun of hand sanding every rib and all the planking in between the ribs. This will take a couple of hours. There really is no faster way. I've tried sanding it with power tools, but on the first coat of varnish one a new canoe, power sanders leave all sorts of deep scratch marks.

If I'm lucky, I'll have the next coat done early enough for a second coat to be "hot-coated". Timed right, the subsequent coat will bond to the first without any more sanding required. If I'm not ready early enough to hot coat, then I'll get the next coat on the next morning.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Just for fun, here's another view from across the road.


I've been interested in photography since grade school, like grade 8 or 9.

One of my recent projects is an ongoing study of the view across the road from my home and shop. I go to the same spot on the the road and photograph exactly the same view. Only the season, weather and sky change. Many days the view looks pretty much the same, but occasionally it looks quite dramatic.

I'll start with on that looks pretty much as it did this morning, and I'll add more as time goes on.


From time to time, I'm going to put up some photos of my paintings. I don't get a lot of time to paint these days, what with trying to earn a living, maintain my home, and care for my wife and three kids...

I have a lot of pent up ambition for more painting. It feels that if I start then I won't be able to stop. So, its safer for now to not start.


My son was involved in competitive swimming for quite a few years. As a parent, I had lots of time to wait and watch. At some point I figured that I needed to turn this into artistic inspiration. This is the first of a series that I plan on continuing.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Rare Red River canoe grouping



Most of my canoes get sent out as soon as they are finished. Recently, I had the opportunity to photograph three canoes together. One was just finished, one is being stored here while the owner is out of the country, and one was in for a little minor repair work.

The big pale green canoe is a reproduction of the Kildonan Canoe Company "Timber Cruiser", the middle sized canoe is a 16'"Boreal" model, and the smaller one is a 15', stretched out version of my Red Fox model, which I call the "Swift Fox".

I just finished the Swift Fox a couple of weeks ago and I'm waiting to hear how it is on the water. I really like how it turned out. I want one for my own!
I suppose that I have to start somewhere.

I wanted to be able to share with my clients the progress of their commissioned work, and then I started thinking that there might be other people who are interested in what goes on inside a wooden canoe shop operated by an artist and a recovering teacher.

Lots of stuff goes on in this shop, ostensibly operated under the business name of Red River Canoe & Paddle and located in Lorette, Manitoba (www.redrivercanoe.ca) . Primarily its function is the building and repair of classic wood & canvas canoes, and the making of premium canoe paddles. I also do custom boat building, composite fabrication, and special projects. A growing passion of mine is the making of classical guitars, I'll post about that, too.

I mentioned that I'm an artist. I attended the University of Manitoba School of Art where I did a pre-masters degree majoring in painting. I'll be posting about my art efforts here as well.

So, where to start? I suppose that I'll start with a current project.























I am finishing off the planking on an 18'6" canoe. This is the second canoe of a new model that I've been calling the "NRC", for Northern Racing Canoe.





















This canoe will be going to Norway House, Manitoba, and will be used for racing in the Cedar Canoe Classic races that are popular in many northern communities. The bowman rows and the sternman paddles and steers. The race is run over three days for 30km per day, the crew switching positions at the halfway mark each day. The winners are determined based upon cumulative time. They've been converting a the remaining freighter canoes into racing canoes by pulling them in narrower, and other adjustments. The supply of adequate old canoes is getting small so some racers are looking towards new canoes. They are very competitive!