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

Monday 18 November 2013

I just returned from a three week work session in Fort Severn Ontario.  This is my second session there this fall, so I've only been home for three of the last nine weeks!  It already feels like a dream, real while you're in it, unreal after.

I've been posting updates of our activities on my Red River Canoe & Paddle Facebook page.  I have some catching up to do in posting that work here.  I'll get around to it!  But please be patient.  If you want to get ahead of me go over to the Facebook page.

Tuesday 15 October 2013

I was working in northern Ontario this fall, spending three weeks on a canoe restoration project in Fort Severn.

We got one canoe, which has in canvas when I arrived, nearly finished, needing only fnal paint and varnish.  One canoe has all of its structural repairs completed, gunnels and keels for several canoes are made and ready to go, as well as planking for all remaining repairs.

Herman Miles, the young fellow that was working with me in the canoe shop in Fort Severn. He's done a lot of work overcoming personal adversity towards living better and being a better person, husband, and father this past year. I wanted to recognize his efforts and show appreciation for the improvement in our working relationship this year. I taught him paddle making last year, So I made a paddle for him.

I'll be back up through the end of October/early November.  My friend and fellow canoe guy is John Hupfield of Lost In The Woods Boatworks.

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Sometime during the summer, well mid July, actually, the humidity in my shop experienced overnight spikes and caused traumatic glue failure to the viola da gamba that I am making for my wife. 

 The instrument can be fixed, even though its a PITA to do, the trauma was to me. 

 Anyway, I've been spending a lot of time this past week getting my shop cleaned and organized for winter and I finally was able to start addressing this situation.  I think that it may have actually taken this long just to face the task, not just to make the time.

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Dorge's Field.

October 12, 2013.

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I've been spending WAY too much time this past week cleaning and organizing the shop. Winter is coming and I need to wind the toy back up again. Should be able to keep it up for about a week or so!

Part of this cleaning is finally getting my DIY thickness sander painted, using Chestnut Green, of course!  Yes, this an old Delt radial arm saw re-purposed. I picked it up at the municipal dump, the motor was toast and I already repaired another radial arm saw that I picked up at the dump, so this was surplus.  Works great as a thickness sander!

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The Kildonan "Timber Cruiser" is all done and ready for her annual October canoe trip. This is the same canoe that graces the banner of My Canadian Canoe Routes website, just in case you should think to yourself "My, why does that canoe look so familiar?".  You can see the screen capture of the banner on the Sept 1 post.

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Sunday 15 September 2013

Progress on the DIY Clairtone Project G is inching along.  First, my friend Eric made up these ferrules for the end of the speaker support arm.  Eric is an accomplished woodworker and has been doing some volunteer work at the Western Canadian Aviation Museum where he has access to a metal lathe.

On top the ferrules the Project G had a 10" aluminium disc that acted as a support to stabilize the speaker globe.  I don't have any facility to make such a disc from metal though I do have facility to make it from fibreglass and make it look like aluminium.  I used the shell that I had made up for determining the holes patterns as a mold.  Once the pieces were cleaned up and sanded I was able to paint them with aluminium  spray paint.  In order to get the tool marks that would have come from spinning the metal, I secured the parts to a pottery wheel and applied 100 grit paper to create the circular texture.  Once painted again, the effect is quite convincing, especially as this will be underneath the globes and you will have to kneel down on the floor to even see them!

I also treated the back shells of the globes the same way.

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And the old Peterborough is all finished. Four coats of new paint and varnish should protect it for many years to come. I also managed to put on a new 75th anniversary decal, the result of a very generous gift last summer. A little more on the history of this canoe. The present owner bought in in about 1955 along with another same model canoe. The canoes were new at the time and had just completed a trip from Yellowknife NWT to Baker Lake, Nunavut.

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Sunday 1 September 2013

A reproduction of a Kildonan "Timber Cruiser" that I built 6 years ago is in for a little TLC. This canoe gets used regularly and on last years trips is hit some rocks pretty hard. I am happy to report that all that happened is some broken planking! Still, the owners wanted it dealt with, so the still in excellent condition canvas had to come off and a re-canvas is part of the repair work. 
 By the way, this is the canoe that is in the banner of the web forum "My Canadian Canoe Routes".   An interesting story about this, I was looking at the forum one day and the canoe in the banner caught my eye.  "Nice canoe" I say to myself.  Then something about it jogged my memory, there was something familiar about it.  "Looks a lot like how I'd build a canoe." I say to myself.  Then I look closer.  "Hey!" I say to myself, "That IS a canoe that I built myself!"  I followed up with the MYCCR forum staff.  It seems that they were unaware that the web designers had simply lifted the canoe photo from this website and had used it without permission nor credit.  I was simultaneously peeved to be ignored yet glad to be recognized, albeit anonymously.

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After restoring the 1920's and the 1930's Bailey handplanes, I began to feel that my 198's Record handplane could us a little upgrade.  The handles never really felt comfortable or solid so I made some new ones from some White Oak that I had around.  I also repainted the metal body a deep red to go with the Oak.  That old Record blue was kind of meh...

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And a new paddle last week, too. This one had the logo for the Rainbow Trout Music Festival applied to it. This paddle was an appreciation gift that the festival was giving to the owners of the property. Northwoods grip with a Malecite blade made in Cherry. The design is first printed on paper, then transferred to the paddle using old school carbon paper, and inked in. Finally, it is varnished over. If you ever try this at home, give the paddle as sealer coat of varnish first!

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