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 23 May 2012

I built this stripper canoe back in 1995 and she's in for some refinishing.  I started out building strippers back in the '80's because that is the first canoe building info that I could get.  It wasn't long before I was convinced that I preferred to paint the exterior for both aesthetic reasons as well as practical.  You can refinish a painted finish and have it look great, but a beat up varnished finish will never look great again.

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Ahhh, the joys of working with kevlar.  I have a couple of Royalex canoes in that are in need of kevlar skid plates.  After a bit of searching I found that I could buy a lot of felt for the same price as a pair of cut pieces.  So I'm cutting my own.  And I have leftovers for next time.

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An old friend of mine has this 14' Huron that he bought to use as a solo canoe.  He was looking to expand its usefulness so we decided that putting in kneeling thwarts made a lot of sense.  Simpler than seats, very comfortable (I assured him), and keeps your center of gravity low.

These are made of Ash and I stained them to keep the colours in line with the rest of the canoe's trim.

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Tremblay canoe that needs a fair bit of work.  37 rib ends that had to be repaired, gunnel ends that were just gone, and deck that were mostly not there.

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Wednesday 16 May 2012

All the canoe manufactureres will make all sorts of claims about how their canoes will be best for wilderness tripping, etc.

The real truth is that storage is the single hardest thing a canoe has to survive.

Here is anotther example of wood canoe gunnels not surviving storage, the port sides are all rotted out and I have to replace them.

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Wednesday 2 May 2012

A few details on the Brigden M2.

While putting the deck/bulkhead area back together i was guided by the question, "What would Bill do?"  Bill was a pragmatic functionalist.  His solutions were always about what worked and was simple.  To hold the deck plate (a sheet of galvanized sheet metal), and the bulkhead in place, I used a piece of Fir bolted to the gunnels. The holese were already there, so I knew that something was there before. This simple piece doubles as a carry thwart.

Sure looks like something the Bill would have done.

The ends of the gunnels have a small brass plate screwed over top.  Pre existign screw holes were the clue here.  Foot brace was replaced.  Fiberglass tractor seats are set on spruce planks held in place on sheet metal brackets which are suspended from the scres used for the gunnels.

These are some pretty advanced features for 1963.

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The new batch of paddles is done and is now beeing packed up for shipping.

This is the Freestyle paddle.  White cedar blade and shaft core, walnut shaft facings and grip.  Herringbone blade trim with walnut strips.  2 oz. fiberglass covering over the balde and shaft.

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After a lot of work trying to dye some veneer nice and black I gave up and decided to use a Ziricote offcut that was just big enough.  I cut up 10 strips and 5 of Basswod.  Glued together they make a back/white/black sttip.  Though, really, its dark brown not black.

You can see the detritus of my efforts.  I'm not ready to through them away just yet, they may be useful later.
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Dorge's Field May 1, 2012

Some of the stale straw beening burned off.  Rainy weather in the forecast, so the risk of grass fires is really low today.

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