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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

Friday 25 March 2011

I've taken the canopy off of the shop aquarium as it seems to get a more generous amount of natural sunlight this way. I must admit that there is something very appealing about this kind of light in an aquarium.

It goes against all of the traditional advice, but it seems to work! I have not had an algae break out in this tank, the glass is clean, the plants are not covered in algae, and the filter is running at barely a trickle. I have not had to scrape the glass clean for as long as I can remember. The only algae issue that I have are these clumps of thread algae but they come out really easy, you just grab them and lift.

Four planks hung. Its not just the time that it takes for the epoxy to set that limits the pace, but its the time to trim the plank to correct shape, to fit it to the boat, and to prepare the next plank. Working efficiently it takes about one day to get it all done. As much as I was looking forward to getting to this stage, I'll be glad to be moving on.

Anyway, its starting to look like a boat now!

Tuesday 22 March 2011

Icon for St. Benedict's Priory in Middlechurch, just north of Winnipeg. Scal is about 60" tall.

There's just something about stiletto shoes...

I thought it time to put up some images of my paintings. I haven't been able to paint for awhile and its really getting to me, kind of like water backing up behind a dam. Don't fool around with the dam unless you're prepared for the flood waters!

"Lovers Over the City"

"Lovers Fleeing the Storm"

Saturday 19 March 2011

Two planks per side are now on.

At the stems the the planks need to be fitted to lay flush at the very ends.

They are also very difficult to clamp at the stem as the clamps keep wanting to slip off, so I drilled a few holes and stitched them together. Some people get around this by just screwing them to the stem.

A view from the end.

You can see how my compression clamps are working to keep the laps tight while the epoxy cures. This is one of the limitations to how may planks can be hung in a day.

I need to have something to clamp the planking laps, and I need lots of them!

I decided to use a simple compression clamp, like a big old fashioned clothespin. These are the blanks in mid preparation.

Finally! The work that I'm doing is now part of the actual boat!

First plank on. From here on I can prepare and hang about one plank per side per day.

Some of the nice things about scarfing the plywood joints plank by plank instead of panel by panel, is that you can lay out each section for minimum waste, only small sections to plane, and clamping short glue joints easily. Also with such limited amounts of work space its much easier to work!

Friday 11 March 2011

What do you do with a perfectly nice Bocote headplate on your guitar neck when you decide to trim your gutiar with Ziricote?

Why, you make up a Ziricote headplate.

And plane the Bocote one off.

Then glue the new Ziricote one on.

And sit back and enjoy.

Shaped and glued on the back braces for the L-00, then started shaping them. One small glitch in the otherwise very nice plans that I am using: the width is given for the back braces, but not the height! So I had to do some sleuthing, and decided to use 15mm.

What I did find during my research, is that I'd really like to try a ladder braced Gibson L-1 style guitar.

And got the back glued on.

There were some lovely shavings this week. This one is nice.

Time to make planking patterns. Finally!

A 20' panel of 1/4" thick by 4' wide plywood is ungainly, at best. So I made up some basic patterns from long strips of cardboard, transferred the shape to the plywood, then cut the plywood out oversize.

As you can see, I have plenty of room to work in. Its a real luxury.

Clamped in place I can trace the actual shaped from the ribbands, then refine them.

Monday 7 March 2011

Lapstrake planking is all about getting the lines of the planking to lie sweet and fair. You'd think that putting 8 little strips of wood on each side wouldn't be that much work. But it is! Everything has to line up just right.

Stems and keelson, and transom are made, joined, and in place. Rough bevel on the transom and stems, ready to be refined once I can offer the planking to it.

The tie down strap is useful in keeping the ribbands more or less under control while I set them into their proper location, then they are removed.

A view from aft. The Bailey Whitehall transom is poetry, as far as transoms go.

And two and a half pieces of 1/4" Fir plywood is joined into a 20' piece for planking patterns. I'll uses some cardboard to get an approximation, then transfer that shape to this plywood, rough cut it, offer it to the mold, then refine the shape so that I can get the planking shape out of the good planking material with the minimum of waste and hassle.

Received a CAT scan over the weekend.

The frames for the rowboat are set up and I'm feeling the late winter crowded in the shop feeling settling in! Once the weather warms up I can open the doors again.

Bow and stern stems are made.

A little more work got done on the L-00. The linings were shaped to the top dome of 25' radius, and the back dome of 15' radius.

The bracing for the top is glued in. I have been using fish glue more and more and really like it. I am following the traditional Gibson L-00 bracing pattern pretty closely, except that I am shaping the braces slightly differently.

Top bracing shaped, and the top is ready to be glued to the rim set.

I have the carving on the viola da gamba scroll pretty much finished. There remains only a little bit of detail cleaning up to do.

Once that is done I can open up the scroll itself, then carve out the pegbox.

THEN I can fit the neck to the body and start work on the top and back plate.

Its about time.

Some detail photos of the viola da gamba scroll carving.

I put the drivers into the new loudspeaker cabinets last Friday and fired them up. My first impression was that the sound was adequate, but these drivers take a long time to open up. 100 hours of playing minimum. After the weekend they sound really nice.

The main resonant cavity is lined with about 1/2" of cotton insulation to minimize reverberations. The back one these cabinets is recommended to be removable so that adjustments can be made to fine tune the box.

The second side is the lat panel to be glued on.