Contact me at: 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
24249 River Rd
Lorette, Manitoba
R5K 0Z6

Wednesday 10 December 2008

While it may seem that work has been going slowly, I've been busy. I had to take a few days off to continue work on my basement. I had gutted and rebuilt the entire basement, mostly to deal with some mould problems that were the result of less than great original construction. The last major portion of the rebuild was to remove and replace the stairs. The original builders did not leave me much headroom, so it took some clever figuring to get the best fit for good headroom and tread/riser size.

The old stairs were not well built, and on top of that, they were built right up to the cement wall, leaving no room for the insulted new wall to be built. So, to build the new stairs, I had to move them about 8" over, which meant that the floor/ceiling had to be cut. and on and on it went.

Now that that portion of work is under control, I am bale to get back to work in the shop. As the NRC is finished, I was able to put up some shelving to help deal with the eternal storage crisis that plagues every small shop. I also built a room air filter which cleans airborne dust by circulating the room air through a stack of furnace filter. I'll post photos of that when Its completed. Its close now...

I pulled the old Chestnut back into the shop to start stripping the old varnish. This is a task that you need to steel yourself up to. Wearing the vapour mask to deal with the fumes, and the gloves, and the tedium. There is no way around it, just do it.

Here is the before shot. Tools all at the ready: stripper, putty knife, brush, tin cans, mask, gloves, and plenty of coarse steel wool. I'd rather be doing this outside, but its December in Manitoba. I might be crazy, but I'm not stupid.

You can see how dark the old varnish is compared to the stripped portion

And finally a shot looking along the canoe showing all that remains to be done tomorrow. At some point, even with a vapour mask, you've just had enough and have to call it quits. I've stripped out plenty of canoes, If I never do another one, my life will not be lacking. I'm sure that there will be more...there always are.

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