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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

Tuesday 30 June 2009

There are a lot of Brigden canoes around in Manitoba. Bill was a local paddling athlete, specializing in flat water canoe and kayak racing. He even competed in the 1952 (Helsinki, Finland) Olympic Games for Canada.

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Bill became best known for his canoe building. Applying his racing experience he designed and built hundreds of fiberglass canoes. His most popular canoe is the recreational M3, of which he built over 600, and he would sell them for about $850.

Bill's approach to building would best be described as pragmatic. Simple, effective, and cheap are the operating principles.

This canoe is in for sanding and re-varnishing of the gunnels and other trim pieces. Also, the seat frames need new webbing. Bill used old lawn chair webbing. That is a plastic that breaks down significantly over time with exposure to UV light.

The wood grain decks are actually Formica.

The seat frames are often old, broken, hockey sticks, good Ash wood available for cheap from local hockey rinks. I've repaired many of these seats and you can still see the labelling on the bottom of the seats.

Bill's canoes always had foot braces. He was way ahead of his time in this regard, unfortunately, most paddlers have no idea what they are for and the bar is often removed by the owners.

The flotation in the chambers is just foam blocks stuck into a garbage bag to keep it all together. Necessary when the chamber is not water tight like most modern canoes.


flatland family said...

Hey doug. It's nice to see the details on the brigden, and thanks for your tip on picking up one of our own. The 23km loop was a great sea trial for our new boat, which saw some choppy waters and some glass. It handled both very well. More tippy than the Tremblay, though! But a lot easier to carry en portage.

frenchriver said...

Nice to see another M3. Found mine on the side of a country rd north of Guelph Ontario gunnels were basicly gone and it had a large rip in the fiberglass. Have fixed it up and and put an old Mistral windsurfing rig on it. Built leeboards for it thinking of building a rudder. Sails great and trip with it hear in Halliburton just north of Peterbourogh were ther is a 20 foot M3 in the canoe museum