Contact me at: or by phone 204.878.2524

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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 29 February 2012

One of the quirks of the Brigden canoes is that the seat frames were often made up from old hockey sticks and you can often still see the old labels underneat.  Why wast perfectly good wood?  Bill's canoes were always pragmatic and people love them for this.

Repair work for February includes a 13' Huron and a 16' Brigden.

I had done some work on the Huron a few years ago and the client was going to finish it off, but he never did get the time to do it, so he brought it back.  All I needed to do was sand and varnish the interior 2 coats, prep and paint the exterior, install and varnish new gunnels, and install the stem bands.

The Brigden was an old one, 1970, and it has decks that I have never seen before but quite like on a Brigden.  Galvanized sheet metal!  Usually Brigdens have varnished masonite or s sheet of formica.  Prep and paint the hull, make and install new gunnels, and re-fill the seats with new webbing make up this job.

I'm running out of shop space for working...

My saved tomato plant is still going, but looking a little "leggy" as it strains for more light.

I started the month getting about a dozen or so paddle back orders started.  Finishing them reveled on of the real challenges of running a small business-the paddles were pre-paid but I still needed to earn February's income.  So I had to put them on hold for a little while and get onto some other repair work.  I will be returning to them in about a week.

I needed to make up some new fiberglass plates for use in the reinforced tips.  I laid up a 4 layer panel of black pigmented fiberglass.  After curing overnight I can cut it into pieces using simple scissors.  I tried using the bandsaw in the past, but the blade is dulled very fast.

Friday 10 February 2012

Now that the canoe building is essentially done, I can get onto some of the other work that is waiting. First up is a pair of 9 1/2' oars. These will be going to Cross Lake, Mb and will be used in the canoe races there. These are built with a cedar core and blade, and Fir faces and sides further up the loom. The fir is used both for strength and to increase the mass inboard for better balance. AS the cedar was low cross grain strength I applied a thin, 2 0z., layer of fiberglass on the blade and extreme end of the shaft. There is also a band of walnut around the perimeter of the blade for edge protection.

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A little more progress on the mold for the Clairtone globe shells. I had a lot of problems getting this off of the pattern, neccesitating quite a bit of remedial work. The residue is cleaned out, sanded, and coated with new epoxy. I have about 5 coats on and I am letting it cure hard before sanding and polishing. Pretty soon I can take some laminates from it! Then I can progress on making the rest of the cabinet and stand. THEN I can put the components in and use it.

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Friday 3 February 2012

Our local skating club hosted a regional competition a couple of weeks ago. They were looking for auction items, so, as my daughter skates with the club, I felt like I needed to put something in. This painting is about 18" x 24", acrylic on canvas. I didn't want to invest a huge amount of time into it as I was pretty sure that the smallish size of this competition wouldn't draw huge numbers of people. I based it off an 1940's photo of Carol Lynne by Gjion Mili.

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Wednesday 1 February 2012

The yellow Cruiser is nearing completion. I had planned on doing the pinstripe as gold with a black border, but its looking pretty nice in black only. I am awaiting word from the client on his choice.

Final varnish in on all of the trim, the thwarts are ready to bolt in, the stem bands are on, and the seats are being caned. Almost done!

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