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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

Now here's an interesting paddle project.

A few years ago I was contacted by a fellow in Edmonton about making a special paddle using some walnut that was cut from a tree that was growing on the family farm.

Edmonton Alberta, as you may know, is not within the normal growing range of walnut, so this tree was small and had quite a few knots. It was quite a challenge gettting a paddle out of the wood that was supplied. The client was very satisfied and recently sent a few more boards from that tree for me to make a paddle for his son. Unfortunately, this batch of wood was not even as good as the first, at least as far as getting a good straight piece prepared for the central paddle shaft. The wood had knots in the wrong places, and was warped so much that there was not a straight section within it.

Here is a shot of the wood as it arrived. It looks OK in the photo, but you can't see what I see.

What to do? I had no choice but to resaw the biggest piece into smaller slices and laminate them up into a straight paddle shaft. This eliminates the defects from the structural paddle shaft, and ensures that it is straight. Working this way I was able to get 2 shafts made instead of none.

Once the glue cures I mill it straight. The lower face has been passed over the jointer and now the other side is ready to be evened with the planer. After this I will be preparing the wood that will form the blades and grips.

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