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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

Thursday 8 April 2010

I have an order for an Esprit canoe. The Esprit is a 13' solo "Freestyle" canoe.

The first step is to prepare the stems. This involves milling the stock and steambending them to the required shape. I have been having good success using local Green Ash, air dried.

Here are two pieces that have been wetted and wrapped so that the wood picks up some extra moisture.

I swapped out the larger steambox that I use for the ribs for this smaller one. This ensures more hot steam is in contact with the wood.

The bending form and clamps are all at the ready. However, steambending is not a guarantee of success, both of the pieces failed.

This sometimes happens. This time it looks like the fibers failed, perhaps the wood was "over cooked". I have two more pieces prepared and I will try again today. Sometimes you get lucky with your stock of wood as it nearly guarantees success, sometimes not. That is the nature of woodworking, and it is the nature of craftsmanship to expect it and to not get discouraged when it happens.

I don't go to the casinos to gamble-every day at work is a gamble.

And, just in case, "Plan B" is to laminate new stems. Here is the first part of the laminating jig being prepared.

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