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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

Monday 22 March 2010

Well, now that all those pesky guitars are done, I can turn my attention back to the Viola da Gamba project that I started a few years ago as a promise for my wife. She is a long time 'cello player with a deep love of Baroque music.

I love these bass viols, there is so much more room for artistic expression that there is in, say, a 'cello. This one will be fairly straightforward, not too elaborate as viols go.

The old Peterborough High End Champlain is all done and ready for pick up. If you want to be reminded of how this canoe started out, use the index of "Topics" along the left side of the blog window and click on "Peterborough",the posts on this repair will show first.

Here are the concluding photos.

Deck/gunnel end. You can see the new wood scarph jointed on to the ends of the inner gunnels. Its difficult to get a perfect match, but close is good! The outer gunnels are new.

The old Peterborough's had this metal plate on the bow deck, the decal is on the stern. The original decks had splits, which I filled with epoxy and clamped closed. I felt that the original deck repaired had greater value that a replacement deck made of new wood.

Interior view towards the bow.

Side shot of the stern.

Long view showing exterior and interior.

The1948 Chestnut Bob's Special is moving along. Here is the old keel cleaned up and reinstalled, making the hull ready for paint. It will be green, like it was in 1948.

The gunnels are back on and ready to be sanded.

I've had the new guitar finished and strung up for about two weeks now. New guitars need a period of time to "play in" before the sound really starts to open up and mature. A freshly strung up guitar really does sound pretty crappy!

I am really appreciating this new guitar! The sound is very rich and crisp, and this has even been commented on by people who don't know guitar. My present opinion is that this is my best sounding guitar to date. I said that about my last guitar too, and the one before that, and the one before that! It is also very easy to play, the action and string tension are a treat.

Final accounting: no new money was spent. I used inexpensive, or free wood for most part, and a lot of the small pieces I salvaged from the scrap box. If pressed to put a value on the wood used, this guitar totaled $32

Sunday 7 March 2010

They look like this.

I got the old lathe set up and had a chance to try my hand at turning some wood. Of course I started with guitar pegs for my current project.

I hosted the local Scout/Venture group for a paddle making workshop last weekend. The kids worked hard and steady (for their age). the each made pretty good progress on a pine paddle. Pine was chosen for its easy workability with hand tools.

There is still quite a bit to do and we will be having more session, but not full days like this.

The old keel that arrived with this canoe is in pretty sad shape, to short, too rotten, etc.

So I had to make a new one and get it installed. Now that this is done I can start painting the canoe.

What does this old Peterborough need to really set off its restoration? New decals, that's what!

Good thing that I have a few.

We all know that canoes are works of art, but American artist Nancy Rubins is taking this thought to a different level.

From what I can gather, selling the idea for this is the biggest challenge.

You can read more about it here: