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

Friday 21 December 2012

As this is a canoe shop, here is where I am at with the current canoe restoration projects.  The Huron is complete, needing only its stem bands to be installed.  The Chestnut Bob's Special has been varnished, canvassed, filled, gunnels back on, trim varnished, and two base coats of primer applied.  All it needs is finish colour coats, final varnish on trim, and seats and thwart put back in.

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Awhile back a local musician asked me to make up a fiberglass flight case for his guitar.  For many years Calton Cases out of Calgary had been the "go-to" case for travelling musicians.  Sadly, with new ownership, quality and customer service tanked.  So with this in mind, the request came in.  You can see the Calton case at the bottom of this post.

I decided to simplify the shape for a variety of reasons, partly construction, but also providing more interior space within the same overall size.  I also decided to make it glass over foam, in this case 1/2" Pink insulation foam.  The inside will be glassed as well making it a foam core structure.  The foam is glued together with regular woodworking glue.  While not a very strong joint, it is strong enough to hold it while sanding and glassing.  The foam is kerfed where it needs to bend around the corners.  Simple packing tape is enough for clamping.

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After a lot of research on the current offerings of sanders, I decided that my new work horse sander would be the Bosch 1250DEVS.  However, the best price that I could find in Canada was $365.  The very same sander is being sold in the US at $230.  Go figure.  I have no idea how the difference in price is justified.

Anyway, as we are planning a week trip to Minneapolis between Christmas and New Year, I decided to pick one up while travelling.  However...I still needed a sander right away as both my main sander and the stand-by had packed it in.  So I picked up this Bosch ROS10, and for $79 its a great little sander.  Little vibration, easy to control, good dust collection via either the little filter or hook up to a shop-vac.  If you need an affordable sander, I have no hessitation in recommending this one, but go for the ROS20 variable speed if its your only sander.  Same unit, but variable speed.

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I use my sander extensively in my work, and it works hard.  My trusty old Porter-Cable 7336 packed it in a couple of weeks ago and I had to rely upon a little Ryobi that I picked up a few years ago as a standby.  This Ryobi is not really up to the task of real shop work and it was not very precisein its handling.  But it worked just well enough to cover until I could replace my PC sander.

That is, until its bearings seized up!  Nothing quite like being dead in the water.

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Another Nova Craft gunnel replacement.  I used the typical Nova Craft approach of the outer gunnel overlapping the inner.  I also sealed the inner faces to help protect against rot.  Every bit helps.

Yet another perfect example as to why dry storage is the best thing for your canoe.  This one lived outside all year long.

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Some of you may remember my last year's attempt at keeping some tomatoe plants from the garden over the winter.  Well, this year instead of transplanting some of the garden plants into pots and bring various bugs into the house, we just kept these ones in pots since planting so that they could stay in the house instead of the shop.

I won't claim to be an expert, but initial results are promising. At least there is fruit!

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Thursday 6 December 2012

One of the two old planes that I've been cleaning and fixing was missing the screw that holds  the front of the handle.  Searching for a replacement, upon reccomendation, I came across this bit of history:

Its a fascinating read about the history of industrial machining standarization over the last 150 years.

Stanely, in all of their wisdom, chose to continue using an obsolete screw size/thread count combination for a good number of years.  Simply put, if you have on of these old planes and its missing the screw, you cannot just go to you local hardware store and buy a replacement.

Thanks to the connections that I have been able to make over the years using the internet, I received a replacement screw and the old plane is now complete and ready for action.

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