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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 14 December 2011

The Boreal is now in canvas.

One down, one to go...

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The new Cuiser was being planked up this last week. The first number of runs go pretty quickly, the three bilge planks take a little longer because each one requires some complex fitting.

But once the canoe comes off of the mold there is a lot of detail work required. The decks and cant ribs need to be made and fitted, The last three ribs at each end need to be tapered to allow for the outside gunnels to have a clean run to the stem, the ring nails holding the ribs to the gunnels all have to be set and the ribs ends need to be trimmed down, all the takcs need to be checked for tight clinching, etc, etc...

So now she's all planked up and ready for the interior to be sanded and cleaned up for varnishing.

But wait, I have the Boreal to canvas and fill...

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Tuesday 13 December 2011

A last vacum out of the dust prior to varnishing the interior.

As this canoe is being presented to Bob as a retirement gift from the congregation of St. John's Cathedral in Winnipeg, I thought that it might be a nice thing to bring it over to the church for them to see it, and for them to sign the hull prior to the canoe being canvassed.

The signatures and blessings imbue this canoe with plenty of mojo!

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Monday 12 December 2011

Planking, planking, planking...

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I had some trouble taking the mold off of its pattern. I tried, off and on, for about a week to pry it off with no success. One day I just said "This thing is coming off today!" A dremel with a cu off whell made a cut across and and I peeled it off. A lot of the filler came off with it. No wonder it was sticking. It is scraping off quite well with a hardwood "chisel". All is not lost, but its more work than I wanted to do.

The pattern with filler as it looks now. It used to look so nice...

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Thursday 17 November 2011

Its amazing how much the lighting can change in just a few minutes on the Canadian prairies.

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Wednesday 16 November 2011

Bob is learning by doing, that all of those ribs need some fairing before the planking can go on, and some linseed oil.

The Boreal has most of the bottom planking one and we're working around to the sides. The ends are left loose until its off of the mold.

The Cruiser with the ribs all faired and coated with linseed oil. She's ready for planking now, too.

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The ribs on the two canoes. There is something about this stage of building that looks great.

The top canoe is the Cruiser. If it looks a little odd how the stem is sitting at the end, that's because this old mold doesn't conform to the shape of the stem that I use and needs a little jigging.

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Thursday 10 November 2011

Monday was rib bending day. Its a lot of work to get everything ready, but once it is you're ready to roll! There isn't much time to think about what you're doing or idle chit chat, so you have to have a process all worked out in advance. Having a good process ensures that all of the decision making is all done in advance.

This canoe is being made as a retirement gift. That's Bob on the right, he's the lucky recipient. He's also luck because he's one of the few people who can spell their name backwards and it still looks right. I can't do that, it comes out as Goud.  On the left is my dad. He came by for the afternoon because Bob had to leave mid-day and I really needed to sets of hands till on deck till the job was done.

Two canoes all ribbed out! In the back is Bob's Boreal and in the front is a Cruiser.

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Wednesday 9 November 2011

First snowfall. I expect that this is here to stay.

Dorge's Field, November 7, 2011

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Friday 28 October 2011

The rowing shell is done and looking very blue! It was amazing just how many fractures were put into this hull during transport, I still shake my head on wonder.

I tried a new paint, for me, on this boat. Based upon my satisfaction with using their enamel paint and varnish, I decided to try the Epiphanes Monourethane paint. I really liked the depth of gloss and how well the paint flowed out. However! I had a heck of a time keeping the dust in the shop from screwing it up! I did the best that I could, but always hope for better.

Dust is the bane of my work life.

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Ribs for two canoes milled and ready for tapers and round over.

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Spent a little time refining the surface of the pattern for my Project G globe mold. After coating it with fairing compounds I used a semi-circular sanding block (ie. a block cut to exactly the radius that I desired in the finished pattern), glued some sandpaper on it, and sanded away. Filled in the gaps, sanded some more. Filled in the remaining gaps, sanded some more. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

Then I spray painted it gloss black and sanded that to find any remaining hollows. I'll be repeating this a couple more times.

But for now its looking pretty good!

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Thursday 27 October 2011

There was some pretty good fog this morning, I had to wait till this afternoon for it to clear enough for this photo. Earlier all the photo would have shown was grey, grey, grey.
Dorge's Field. October 27, 2011

Wednesday 19 October 2011

I'vre been milling ribs and planking for the last 3 or four days. Its a frustrating puzzle at times, trying to get the most yield and best cuts fro the wood available. White Cedar does not come into my shop in uniform dimensions, nor in uniform quality. There are a lot different sizes, some with knots, some with checking. It is disheartening to pick up a big piece of cedar only to examine it and find knots distributed all over it, or checks that go right through it, rendering the wood almost unuseable.

Occassionally, though, you get a piece like this!

3 1/2" thick, 17" wide, and almost 8' long of clear wood with no apparent checking. THIS is a high yield piece of wood. I got a lot of planking cut from this piece with almost zero waste. I hate wasting wood, it is disrespectful.

Not all of this pile was from the piece shown above, but a good portion was. This is the product of my cutting efforts, here shown rough sawn.

And here thicknessed to its final 5/32" dimension. Time now to group it by grain and colour type, and to clean up the shop.

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Dorge's Field. This is the first time that I've seen the straw bailed on this field.

Evening light.

Morning light.

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